Four crowns that stood out at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral

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When Queen Elizabeth’s coffin was taken to St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh for a 24-hour lying-in-state in September 2022, it was adorned with the Crown of Scotland.

This is the first of four crowns that played a prominent ceremonial role in both the late Queen’s funeral arrangements and the Coronation of King Charles III.

In London, the Imperial State Crown was placed on the coffin, and at the Coronation, the Archbishop of Canterbury placed St Edward’s Crown on the King’s head.

Queen Camilla wore Queen Mary’s crown, which was refreshed with a new design and borrowed stones that paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.

All crowns needed to be resized, particularly the three that were worn by the King, as he had a larger head than his late mother.

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This involved considerable work increasing the size of the crown’s circlets and adding extra stones. Interestingly, the reverse of that process was carried out to make the jewels smaller for Queen Elizabeth.

The Crown of Scotland is the oldest of all the royal regalia, which is worn by the monarch at the State Opening of the Scottish Parliament.

Made of solid gold, it pre-dates the Union as it was made in 1540. It is kept in Edinburgh Castle as part of the Honours of Scotland.

The Imperial State Crown is worn by the monarch at the State Opening of Parliament and was placed on the late Queen’s coffin at her funeral.

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The original crown jewels were destroyed by Oliver Cromwell, and the crown on which it is based was made in 1660 for King Charles II.

It dates from 1937 when it was remade for the Coronation of George VI by then-royal jeweller Garrard & Co.

It is largely the same as the crown worn by Queen Victoria, which was badly damaged in 1845 when the Duke of Argyll dropped it from a cushion at the State Opening in 1845.

St Edward’s Crown is the most important and sacred of the crowns. It is only used once in the lifetime of each monarch when it is placed on their head at the Coronation. Weighing nearly five pounds, the solid gold jewel is also the heaviest crown.

Queen Camilla’s Coronation crown was originally worn by Queen Mary, the wife of King George V.

An announcement from the Palace said: “The choice of Queen Mary’s Crown by Her Majesty is the first time in recent history that an existing crown will be used for the Coronation of a Consort instead of a new commission being made, in the interests of sustainability and efficiency.

“Some minor changes and additions will be undertaken by the Crown Jeweller, in keeping with the longstanding tradition that the insertion of jewels is unique to the occasion, and reflects the Consort’s individual style.

“These changes will in particular pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as the Crown will be reset with the Cullinan III, IV and V diamonds. The diamonds were part of Queen Elizabeth II’s personal jewellery collection for many years and were often worn by Her late Majesty as brooches.”

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