What Is the British Coronation Regalia and How Much Is It Worth?
4 Minute Read
While King Charles III has already been ruling as the monarch of the United Kingdom since his mother Queen Elizabeth II's death last year, this spring, he will formally ascend to the throne during his coronation ceremony. A day full of pomp and a whole lot of formalities, it's also notable for the incredibly rare display of the glittering and world-renowned Coronation Regalia.
A collection of five sacred and jeweled items that are nestled in the larger collection of the Crown Jewels, the Coronation Regalia are notable because they are used solely for the coronation of British kings and queens and represent the powers and responsibilities of the monarch.
With a history that stretches all the way back to 1066 and Edward the Confessor, the Coronation Regalia that is used today are actually replicas of the originals that were sold off and melted down when the monarchy was (briefly) abolished from 1649 to 1661. Nonetheless, the golden and bejeweled Coronation Regalia is estimated to be worth some $4 billion.
So what makes up the collection and its incredibly large valuation? That would be the blessed Imperial State Crown, St. Edward's Crown, the Sovereign's Sceptre with Cross, the Sovereign's Orb and the Coronation Spoon. Here's a quick recap of these items and their dazzling gemstones and their estimated values.
Imperial State Crown
Estimated price: $3.4 to $5.7 billion
Weighing in at a hefty 2.3 lbs, this crown which was designed for King George VI's coronation in 1937, is adorned with a gobsmacking 2,868 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, and five rubies. Famously at the center (and driving much of its valuation) is the Cullinan II Diamond — a 317.40-carat cushion-cut stone that is one of 9 major stones cut from the original, world-famous 3,601-carat stone found in Africa in 1905. The crown also features the Stuart Sapphire, which is believed to have been worn on a ring by Edward the Confessor, making it the oldest gem in the royal collection, as well as the Black Prince's Ruby, which is a stone renowned for being worn by Henry V at the battle of Agincourt in 1415.
St. Edward's Crown
Estimated price: $57 million
Dazzling but notably simpler than the Imperial State Crown, St. Edward's Crown is 22-carat gold with a headband, crosses, fleur-de-lys and arches. The crown's 400 precious gems are fixed through the frame of the crown from behind, each held in place by a gold collar with stones set in clusters around white enamel mounts shaped like acanthus leaves. Like most of the Coronation Regalia, this crown was also recreated in the 1660s after the monarchy was abolished. However, what makes St. Edward's Crown different is that it wasn't created to be an exact replica of the original, but rather to emanate the same regal feeling.
Sovereign's Scepter with Cross
Estimated price: $400+ million
The scepter is famous thanks to the addition of the Cullinan I Diamond by George V in 1910. The largest of the nine major stones to be cut from the original, the Cullinan I diamond sits at the center of the holy scepter, and is estimated to be worth some $400 million. Weighing in at 530.2 carats, the drop-shaped diamond, Cullinan I — also known as the Star of Africa — holds astounding value. But, the golden scepter itself is also outfitted with another 333 diamonds, 31 rubies, 15 emeralds, 7 sapphires, which also drive up the value. This, alongside its historical and royal significance, make the scepter hard to fully value.
The Sovereign's Orb
Estimated price: Unknown
Made of two hollow, gold hemispheres that are joined together, a central band hides the seam with an array of jewels like emeralds, sapphires and rubies. More than just precious jewels, each of these gems actually represents the three continents that were known back in medieval times. Atop the orb sits a set of rose-cut diamonds with a sapphire at the center on one side and an emerald on the other. Each arm of the cross also has a pearl at the end of it. When Charles I had the orb re-commissioned in 1661, it is said that he spent £1,150 on it, equivalent to $290,000 today. However, the orb is definitely worth more than that, although royal experts have yet to put a public value on it.
Estimated price: Unknown
Arguably the most unique of the entire Coronation Regalia, the Coronation Spoon is special because it is the only piece of this holy collection that is original. As story has it, a Mr. Kynnersley bought the spoon for 16 shillings during the purge, and returned it to Charles II after the monarchy was re-established. However, the Coronation Spoon did receive some updates alongside the other new Coronation Regalia, like small pearls to line the handle. Used in the coronation ceremony to anoint the monarch with holy oil, the spoon is part of a tradition that confirms a ruler's divinity, and is the most sacred part of the entire ceremony. No public records seem to value the spoon individually.
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