State Crown of George I
When George I became King of Great Britain and King of Ireland in 1714 it was decided to replace the previous state crown (i.e., the crown worn to open parliament), created for King Charles II in 1661, by a new crown, as the old one was judged "weak" and in a poor state of repair. Much of the ornamentation was transferred to the new crown. As with precedent, however, it was set not with precious gems but with decorated stones and glass.
In 1727 the glass and stones were removed and replaced with hired diamonds, valued at £109,200, and in this newly set version the crown was used for the coronation of King George II, though with one difference. The arches, which, had curved downwards at the centre of the crown, were pulled upwards, leading to a flat top on the crown surmounted by the aquamarine monde and cross.
The crown was used subsequently for the coronations of Kings George III and William IV. In 1820, because it was seen as being a "very poor affair", further work was carried out on the crown, including the replacement of the aquamarine monde, which on inspection was revealed to be merely blue-green glass. The crown was present in this state at the coronation of King George IV who was, however, crowned with a new diamond crown of his own. In its restored state George I's crown was used for William IV's coronation in 1831.
This was to be the last occasion on which it was worn by a monarch. It was carried before Queen Victoria at the State Opening Parliament early in her reign (on one occasion being dropped and flattened), but before her coronation Victoria replaced George I's state crown by a new Imperial State Crown, re-using many of its precious stones. The empty and abandoned frame of the 1714 crown, along with the frames of the coronation crowns of George IV and Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen (the wife of William IV), were apparently sold to the Crown Jewellers.
The empty frames of all these crowns were given to Queen Elizabeth II in 1995 and are now on display in the Martin Tower in the Tower of London.
- The Crown Jewels - booklet published by the Tower of London.