During the month I have been in London, I realized that once more, the spectacular new display of the world famous Crown Jewels revealed at the Tower of London on March 29, 2012 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen has reopened to the public. My parents told me I was just 3 years old when they took me to see nearly the same exhibition of which obviously I don't recall at all.
So , on a very cold and rainy day, here I am walking my way in to the Tower Of London, wearing a press badge eager to find out about the major re-presentation of the Jewel House has given the Crown Jewels a home fit for the 21st century, with new displays showing the jewels like never before.
The Crown Jewels, part of the Royal Collection, are the most powerful symbols of the British Monarchy and hold deep religious and cultural significance in our nation’s history. Destroyed at the Tower after the Civil War and remade for Charles II’s coronation in 1661, the Crown Jewels signify royal authority to lead, and protect, the nation. The regalia includes some of the most extraordinary diamonds in the world, their mystique and beauty attracting around 2.5 million visitors from around the world every year.
I am shown the way to the tower by lovely and so kind royal guard member ( already registered on my instagram).
The exhibition starts with a new introduction featuring evocative graphics, music and film footage enabling to explore the importance of the Crown Jewels to the British Monarchy, the role of the Tower in protecting these treasures and the long and fascinating tradition of coronations in England.
The exhibition focuses the coronation ceremony as its central theme. It is such an important moment that it is almost impossible not to feel strong emotion in front of such a spectacle.
A guide explains that since 1066, coronation ceremonies have taken place in Westminster Abbey, the great church built by Edward the Confessor. The displays will examine how the regalia are used during the ceremony, and explore the symbolism of each object. Newly restored film footage of Her Majesty The Queen’s coronation in 1953 will be shown to create a sense of the atmosphere on such a momentous occasion.
The regalia is newly displayed in the order that it is used in the ceremony, and Handel’s coronation anthems will be heard as visitors move through the exhibition.The Crown Jewels is now exhibited with improved lighting to showcase their true beauty and magnificence. Other new features being introduced include tactile three-dimensional models for visually impaired visitors, and a lift offering level access to a raised viewing platform for the first time.
What is most impressive, is that not only like in a movie, The Crown Jewels at the Tower of London are a unique working collection of royal regalia and are still regularly used by The Queen in important national ceremonies, such as the annual State Opening of Parliament. Film footage showing the Crown Jewels in use on such occasions will bring this to life for visitors.The re-presentation of the Jewel House is made possible thanks to the generosity of the De Beers Family of Companies including the diamond brand Forevermark.
It could take ages to describe the unpaired craftsmanship, therefore I have listed a few facts in numbers for you appreciation. Hard to believe but all true; Enjoy!
The Crown Jewels in numbers...
- 1 - the number of times the Imperial Crown of India has been worn
- 2.23kg - the weight of St Edward’s Crown
- £5 - the cost for the Keeper of the Jewel House to redeem the Jewelled Sword of Offering after the coronation
- 9 - the number of emeralds and sapphires the Sovereign’s Orb is set with, along with 365 diamonds and 18 rubies
- Less than 10cm - the measurement of Queen Victoria’s small diamond crown in any direction
- 31.5cm - the height of The Imperial State Crown, it weighs just over 1kg excluding wire frame, cap and ermine band, and contains 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 269 pearls and 4 rubies
- 46cm - the height of the Exeter Salt
- 144 - number of bottles of wine the Great Punch Bowl can hold
- 530.2 carats - the size of the Cullinan I (Great Star of Africa) which is the largest top-quality cut diamond in the world
- 900 + years – the age of the oldest item in the regalia – the coronation spoon, which dates from the 12th century and is the only surviving relic from the medieval regalia
- 1,000 - number of diamonds in Queen Victoria’s small crown (which weighs just 140g or 5oz)
- 2,800 - number of diamonds in the Crown of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
- 3,106 carats – the weight of the Cullinan diamond when it was discovered. It produced 9 major tones, 96 small brilliants and 9 carats of unpolished fragments
- £13,000 – the cost of eleven principal pieces of regalia commissioned by Charles II, as much as three newly fitted warships
Crown copyright image @ Historic Royal Palaces