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The Crown that will be placed on King Charles III’s head at his coronation

The sovereign of Great Britain can and does wear several different crowns for different occasions. There is one crown that is only worn at one point during their reign, and King Charles III will be wearing it in May.

St. Edward’s Crown is worn during the Coronation ceremony and is worn at the moment of Coronation, with the Archbishop of Canterbury placing it on the monarch’s head. 

The original St. Edward’s Crown was created during King Edward the Confessor’s reign, and he can be seen wearing it on a section of the Bayeaux Tapestry. That crown was melted down during the Interregnum period, with a new crown created for King Charles II in 1661. The Crown Jeweller, Sir Robert Vyner, created the crown that we see today. 

The Royal Collection Trust describes the design of the newer version as ”band of the crown is bordered by rows of gold beads and mounted with sixteen clusters, each set with a rectangular or octagonal step-cut stone in a collet decorated in enamel with modelled acanthus leaves, surrounded by rose-cut topazes and aquamarines, mainly round.”

The Crown also features four crosses-pattee and four fleur-de-lis while the two arches are mounted with gold beads. The monde of the crown, created in 1685, features gold beads and a cross-pattee with jewels.

In 1671, a thief named Thomas Blood attempted to steal the crown from the Tower of London (along with other Crown Jewels), and partially dismantled and squashed it when trying to hide it. However, Blood was caught and the crown was recovered. 

From Queen Anne’s coronation in 1702 until King Edward VII’s coronation in 1902, St. Edward’s Crown was present at the ceremony but not actually worn. Queen Victoria’s son had hoped to wear it but was recovering from a serious illness and could not handle the significant weight of the crown. Edward’s son, King George V, revived the tradition of the monarch wearing the crown during their coronation. 

Both King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II wore St. Edward’s Crown during their coronations (respectively in 1937 and 1953). The new king will wear it during his coronation at Westminster Abbey on 6 May 2023. 

When not in use at a coronation, St. Edward’s Crown is on display at the Tower of London with the other Crown Jewels. 

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