Coronation Crown of George IV

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The Dean of Westminster carrying the crown

The Coronation Crown of George IV is an elaborate coronation crown made specially for King George IV in 1821.

Design[edit]

At 40 cm (16 in) tall and decorated with 12,314 diamonds, it was said to make him look like a "gorgeous bird of the east".[1] The innovative gold and silver frame, created by Philip Liebart of Rundell, Bridge & Rundell,[2] had been designed to be almost invisible underneath the diamonds. A plan to remove the traditional fleurs-de-lis and introduce the rose, thistle and shamrock, the floral emblems of England, Scotland and Ireland, was abandoned following objections by the College of Heralds. As a general rule, the maintenance caps in British crowns are made of crimson or purple velvet, but this crown differed in having a dark blue cap.[3]

Fate[edit]

Because of the postponement of George IV's coronation due to the trial of his wife, Queen Caroline, the final bill for the hiring of the stones came to £24,425.[4] After his coronation, the king was reluctant to part with his new crown, and lobbied the government to buy it outright so he could use it for the annual State Opening of Parliament, but it was just too expensive. The crown was dismantled in 1823 and has not been worn by any other monarch since then.[4]

He did purchase a bronze life-sized model of his crown for £38, on which the inscription reads: "Cast of the Rich Imperial Diamond Crown with which His Most Sacred Majesty King George IV was crowned on 19 July 1821".[5]

Emptied of its jewels and discarded by the royal family, the crown was loaned to the Museum of London by the Amherst family from 1933 until 1985.[6] It was purchased by Asprey in 1987 and later acquired by Jefri Bolkiah, Prince of Brunei, who presented it to the United Kingdom.[7] It had been valued at £376,000 in 1995 for the purposes of an application to export the crown to the United States.[8] The application was withdrawn during a review by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art.[7] It is part of the Royal Collection and has been on public display in the Martin Tower at the Tower of London since 1996.[9] Diamonds worth £2 million on loan from De Beers are displayed next to the crown to give visitors an idea of how it looked originally.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tessa Rose (1992). The Coronation Ceremony of the Kings and Queens of England and the Crown Jewels. HM Stationery Office. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-11-701361-2. 
  2. ^ "The Diamond Diadem". Royal Collection Trust. Inventory no. 31702. 
  3. ^ Cyril Davenport (1897). The English Regalia. K. Paul, Trench and Trübner. p. 13. 
  4. ^ a b Kenneth J. Mears; Simon Thurley; Claire Murphy (1994). The Crown Jewels. Historic Royal Palaces Agency. pp. 6–7. ASIN B000HHY1ZQ. 
  5. ^ "Cast of George IV's crown". Royal Collection Trust. Inventory no. 50435. 
  6. ^ "Crown Jewels". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 268. United Kingdom: House of Commons. 18 December 1995. col. 853W. 
  7. ^ a b "Crown Jewels". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 268. United Kingdom: House of Commons. 12 December 1995. col. 566W. 
  8. ^ Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art (1995). Export of Works of Art: 1994–95. HM Stationery Office. pp. 48–50. 
  9. ^ Stephen Goodwin (17 December 1996). "Crowning glory at Tower exhibition". Independent. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  10. ^ "Crown Jewels Factsheet" (PDF). Historic Royal Palaces. Retrieved 20 January 2016.