The Crown Jewels: Is a New Set on the Drawing Board for Kate?

The Duke of Cambridge (William) wants to present his Duchess (Kate) with her own set of Crown Jewels to celebrate the birth of their son (George Alexander Louis), the Prince of Cambridge. Now magazine is reporting that Will intends to commission a new tiara, bracelets, earrings and rings for Kate to wear on official occasions – including, presumably, Will’s eventual coronation as British Sovereign, as well as the coronation of their son someday.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their new son, George Alexander Louis - photo courtesy of People Magazine
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their new son, George Alexander Louis – photo courtesy of People Magazine

William is second in line to the throne now occupied by his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. His father, Prince Charles, will succeed the Queen; William and Kate’s son is third in line.

According to Now, the Royals traditionally commission jewelers G. Collins & Sons to create gemstone jewelry as wedding gifts; but for her 2011 wedding Kate wore the Cartier Halo tiara made for the Queen Mother in 1936. In fact, Kate has borrowed regal jewelry for all her significant state occasions. Now Daily recently disclosed: “William thought this would be the perfect time for Kate to have something of her own instead.”

Photo courtesy of the British Monarchist Society
Photo courtesy of the British Monarchist Society

Visit London to see the Crown Jewels

The official Crown Jewels, which are part of the Royal Collection, are on display in the Tower of London. Guarded by Yeomen Warders or “Beefeaters,” the Jewel House at the Tower has housed the Crown Jewels since the early 14th century. The current exhibit is underwritten by Forevermark Diamonds and the De Beers Group of Companies.

The Crown Jewels are the ceremonial objects used during the coronations of English Kings and Queens. These objects — known as the Regalia — include the crowns of Sovereigns, Consorts and Princes of Wales, both past and present, scepters, orbs, rings, swords, spurs, bracelets and robes.

“Uneasy Lies the Head that Wears a Crown” – Henry IV, William Shakespeare
Imperial State Crown
Imperial State Crown

The oldest piece of the Regalia is the gold Anointing Spoon (12th century), used to anoint the Sovereign. The spoon and three coronation swords are all that survived the destruction of the pre-Civil War Regalia in 1649-50, ordered by Oliver Cromwell following the execution of King Charles I.

Upon the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, King Charles II ordered new Regalia modeled on the lost pieces of his father. St. Edward’s Crown, with which the Archbishop of Canterbury crowns each new Sovereign, is made of gold and is decorated with precious and semi-precious stones, including sapphires, amethysts, topazes and citrines. It was last used to crown Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, and will no doubt be used to crown Prince William and his son Prince George.

The most famous of the crowns is the Imperial State Crown, made for King George VI, in 1937. This crown incorporates over 3,000 gemstones, including the diamond known as the Second Star of Africa (the second largest stone cut from the celebrated Cullinan Diamond).

Royal Gemstones

Cullinan Diamond mounted in the Sovereign Sceptre
Cullinan Diamond mounted in the Sovereign Scepter

Among the magnificent gemstones on display at the Tower of London is the First Star of Africa, mounted in the Sovereign’s Scepter. This is the largest flawless cut diamond in the world (530 carats). This diamond and the Second Star of Africa were cut from the Cullinan Diamond, the largest ever found — some 3,000 carats. The Cullinan was presented to King Edward VII by the Government of the Transvaal (South Africa) in 1907.

The infamous Koh-i-Nur (Mountain of Light) diamond, presented to Queen Victoria in 1850, was later recut (106 carats) and set into a platinum crown for the 1937 coronation. This diamond is believed to have belonged to the early Mughal Emperors. Traditionally, the Koh-i-Nur is only worn by a Queen or Queen Consort: It is said to bring bad luck to any man who wears it!

For more information on visiting the Jewel House at the Tower of London go to: http://www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon/

Sources: The Royal Collection; Forevermark


Have the Notorious “Pink Panther” Jewel Thieves Struck Again?

A lone gunman stole a staggering $136 million worth of diamonds and other jewels from the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel in Cannes over the weekend, in what may be the biggest jewelry heist in history.

Authorities suspect the robber may be part of the gang they have dubbed “The Pink Panthers,” after the movie series starring Peter Sellars. In another film-related coincidence (?), the Carlton Hotel was one of the sites of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1955 movie “To Catch a Thief,” starring Cary Grant.  Read on…

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