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The duke who made sure part of the Crown Jewels were removed from coronations

Westminster Abbey

The Jewel House at the Tower of London is home to the Crown Jewels, part of which includes a total of sixteen silver trumpets, dating back to 1780, also known as the state trumpets. However, only one of the trumpets is on display for visitors to see.

Seven of these trumpets were originally used by the 1st Regiment Life Guards, and bear engraved inscriptions indicating this. The other nine trumpets were created for the Royal Household, six of which are inscribed with the names of the trumpeters of whom they were presented to.

The trumpet which is on display was originally issued to and engraved with the name Mr. Harding.

The majority of the trumpets bear the hallmarks of various silversmiths, along with engravings of the instrument makers. The earlier instrument makers were William Shaw of Wardour street based in Soho, London. Later, the firm was known as Thomas Shaw & Co when William Shaw went into partnership with his son Thomas Shaw, based at Red Lion Street in Holborn, London.

The design of the trumpet itself is bell chased, boasts a rococo cartouche and flanked various military trophies such as drums, flags and trumpets. It also bears engraving of scrolling foliage and a band of flowers. The ball of the trumpet bears laurel wreaths and has spiral fluted tubing.

The trumpets were designed and made longer in length than usual, to accommodate ceremonial banners, which are mounted onto the middle section. The regal banners are embroidered with the royal coat of arms, along with the Garter, the lion and the unicorn. These banners were added in 1830, although, alterations were later made to these in the 20th century.

These trumpets are sadly no longer in use and now stay in the jewel house permanently, since the mid-nineteenth century when The Duke of Wellington made the decision to disband the Corps of State trumpeters due to economic measures.

About author

Susan is an Actress, Vocalist, Voice-over artist and Writer. She graduated from the University of Salford with a BA (HONS) Music Degree and spent some time travelling around Europe with various choirs, during which time she also performed in the opening ceremony of the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games before pursuing her acting and writing career.