St Edward's Crown
|St Edward's Crown|
A replica of St Edward's Crown
|Used by|| England (until 1707)
Great Britain (1707-1801)
United Kingdom (1801-present)
|Current owner||HM Government|
|Predecessors||King Alfred's Crown (Alleged)
Tudor Crown (in Heraldry)
St Edward's Crown is one of the English Crown Jewels and remains one of the senior Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom, being the official coronation crown used in the coronation of first English, then British, and finally Commonwealth realms monarchs. As such, two-dimensional representations of the crown are used in coats of arms, badges, and various other insignia throughout the Commonwealth realms to indicate the authority of the reigning sovereign.
The present form
The present St Edward's Crown contains much of the crown made in 1661 for the coronation of King Charles II. Constructed of solid gold, the crown's design includes a base, with four crosses pattée alternating with four fleurs-de-lis, within which is a velvet cap with ermine border and two arches above and surmounted by a cross, all set with 444 precious stones. Formerly the stones were hired for each coronation and then detached, leaving only the frame. However, in 1911 the jewels were set permanently. A number of changes were made for the coronations of James II (a new monde) and William III (the base being changed from its original circular form to a more natural oval one). The crown was also made slightly smaller to fit the head of George V, the first monarch to be crowned with St. Edward's Crown in over 200 years. The crown was, however, carried in procession at other coronations at which it was not actually worn.
Queen Victoria and King Edward VII chose not to be crowned with St Edward's Crown because of its weight of 4 lb 12 oz (2.2 kg) and instead used the lighter Imperial State Crown. St. Edward's Crown was placed on the coffin of Edward VII for his lying-in-state and funeral in 1910 and was used for the coronation of his crowned successors; George V in 1911, George VI in 1937 and at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Most recently, on 4 June 2013, it was displayed on the altar in Westminster Abbey at the 60th anniversary service of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the first time it had left the Tower of London since 1953.
The original crown of St Edward the Confessor (from whom the present crown takes its name) was worn by him at Christmas in 1065. This may itself have incorporated material from a crown of Alfred the Great. In 1066, on Christmas Day, St Edward's crown was reputedly used in the coronation of King William I in token of his inheritance by right rather than conquest. It was used subsequently for the coronations of William Rufus (1087), Henry I (1100), Stephen (1135), Henry II (1154), Richard I (1189 and 1194), and John (1199).
In 1216, at the first coronation of King Henry III, a chaplet was employed instead of the crown. From this it was inferred by the German historian Reinhold Pauli that the original St Edward's Crown had been among the crown jewels lost by King John. However Arthur Penrhyn Stanley maintained that the original crown and regalia survived until 1642, and were kept in the Treasury of Westminster until the time of King Henry VIII. The same crown was reputedly used in 1533 for the coronation of Anne Boleyn. Destroyed by Oliver Cromwell's order during the English Civil War, the crown was re-created in 1661 for the coronation of King Charles II. The crown was in 1671 stolen for a short period by Thomas Blood, who used a mallet to flatten the crown in an attempt to conceal it.
Use at coronations
Although always regarded as the "official" coronation crown, in fact only a minority of monarchs have actually been crowned with the re-made St. Edward's Crown. These were Charles II (1661), James II (1685), William III (1689), George V (1911), George VI (1937) and Elizabeth II (1953). All other English/British monarchs were crowned with other crowns: Mary II and Anne with small diamond crowns of their own, George I, George II, George III and William IV with George I's new state crown, King George IV with a large new diamond crown, and Victoria and Edward VII with Victoria's 1838 Imperial State Crown. Numerous monarchs were crowned with the original St. Edward's Crown (pre-1649) and often had several crowns placed on their head during the ceremony.
Though the physical St Edward's Crown is property of the Queen in Right of the United Kingdom, its two-dimensional representation has come to be utilised throughout all the Commonwealth realms as an indication of each country's respective royal authority, thus appearing on coats of arms, badges for military and police units, rank insignia of non-commissioned and senior commissioned officers of the British Army & Royal Marines and of senior police officers, and logos for government departments and private organizations with royal associations. In this use, it replaced the Tudor Crown by the command in 1953 of Queen Elizabeth II. Such use of the crown is only by the personal permission of the sovereign.
- Cambridge 'Life of St Edward the Confessor' (Norman-French, c.1245) in H.R. Luard (Ed.), Lives of Edward the Confessor Rolls Series (London 1858). Also, Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, Historical Memorials of Westminster Abbey (4th, Revised Edition) (John Murray, London 1876), p.27.
- King-Hall, Stephen (1936). The Crowning of the King and Queen. London: Evans Brothers. p. 4.
- Stanley 1876, p.42-44.
- Stanley 1876, 47-53.
- Stanley 1876, 53.
- Reinhold Pauli, 'Continuation of Johann Martin Lappenberg's Geschichte von England, 1154-1509', Henry II to Henry VII', (Gotha 1853-1858)), p. 489: cited by Stanley 1876, p. 54.
- Stanley 1876, pp.45, 458-459
- Hunt, Alice (10 November 2008). The Drama of Coronation: Medieval Ceremony in Early Modern England. London: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-88539-3.
- Department of Canadian Heritage 2008, p. 2
- "An Armorial of Canada > The Royal Arms of Canada". Royal Heraldry Society of Canada. Retrieved 25 September 2009.
- Department of Canadian Heritage. "Ceremonial and Canadian Symbols Promotion > The crown in Canada > The Royal Crown". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 24 September 2009.