Imperial Crown of India

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The Imperial Crown of India

The Imperial Crown of India was the crown of three British sovereigns as Emperors of India during the final decades of the Indian Empire. The crown is housed with, but is not part of, the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.

History[edit]

The crown was created for George V, in his position as Emperor of India, to wear at the Delhi Durbar of 1911. The need for the new crown lay in the tradition that the British crown jewels do not leave the United Kingdom.

King George and Queen Mary travelled to Delhi for the Durbar ceremonies, at which they were proclaimed as Emperor and Empress of India to the princes of India. George and Mary were not crowned as emperor and empress during the ceremonies because the Archbishop of Canterbury, Randall Davidson, did not think it suitable for a Christian religious service to take place in a country where the people were predominantly Hindu or Muslim. Also because, theoretically, the monarch's coronation in the United Kingdom suffices as a coronation for all his or her realms and territories simultaneously. Instead, George simply wore the crown as he entered the arena where the durbar took place, and the durbar was styled as an announcement of the coronation which had already taken place.

The Crown Jewellers, Garrard & Co, created the crown at a cost of £60,000 (£5,331,374 as of 2014).[1] It weighs 34.05 ounces (0.97 kg) and is set with emeralds, rubies, sapphires, 6,100 diamonds, and one large fine ruby. The weight of the crown led King George to complain after the durbar that his head hurt.[2] The crown has not been worn since by any British sovereign.

Design[edit]

Similar to other British crowns, the Imperial Crown of India consists of a circlet topped by four crosses pattée and four fleurs-de-lis. However, the arches on top, which join at a typical monde and cross, point upwards in an Asiatic manner instead of curving downward as do other British crowns.

It is also the only crown of a British sovereign with eight half-arches, in the style of Continental European crowns, departing from the British tradition of crowns having four half-arches. This difference is emblematic of the distinction between the crown of an emperor or empress and that of a king or queen. It may be viewed in the Jewel House at the Tower of London, alongside the British Crown Jewels.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ UK CPI inflation numbers based on data available from Gregory Clark (2014), "What Were the British Earnings and Prices Then? (New Series)" MeasuringWorth.
  2. ^ London Online - Imperial Crown of India

External links[edit]