Royal Glitter: A Glimpse into the Golden Treasures of King Charles III Coronation

The Spotlight

10 minutes read

Apr 13, 2023

St. Edward Crown on a red velved background with GOLD AVENUE logo.

What are the British Crown Jewels and what is their estimated value? Here’s a visual tour of the golden royal treasures.

The grandeur of royalty will once again grace the halls of Westminster Abbey as King Charles III assumes the throne, alongside Camilla, the Queen Consort, in a lavish coronation ceremony on May 6.

The codename given to the preparation for this highly anticipated event, "Operation Golden Orb," hints at the pivotal role that gold will play in the regal proceedings, promising to be a spectacle for all to see.

When is the King's Coronation?

Save the date! The Coronation service will start at 11 am on Saturday, May 6 at Westminster Abbey. The ceremony will be followed by a weekend of street parties and concerts to honor the new monarch.

King Charles III ascended the throne after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, last year, making him the oldest new monarch in British history.

Renowned composer Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber, best known for writing popular musicals including Cats and The Phantom of the Opera, has been commissioned to create the Coronation Anthem for King Charles III's ceremony.

The ceremony itself will include many traditions from the late Queen's service, including the anointing with consecrated oil and, of course, the Crown Jewels.

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What are the Crown Jewels to be featured in the Coronation?

The British Crown Jewels are internationally renowned for their splendour. This collection of regalia is truly excessive, featuring a dazzling array of crowns, sceptres, swords, as well as robes and jewellery for ceremonial occasions.

The Crown Jewels have played a key role in coronation services for centuries and boast the most exquisite materials, including gold, diamonds, and gemstones.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most well-known (and valuable) Crown Jewels.

The Crown of St. Edward

Central to the Coronation ceremony is the legendary Crown of St. Edward.

St. Edward Crown

Weighing over 2.2kg 🏋️‍♂️, this crown is surely an impressive sight to behold. It is crafted from solid gold and embellished with more than 400 precious stones, including sapphires, rubies, emeralds, amethysts, and pearls, and finished with a velvet cap fit for a king.

The Crown of St. Edward is valued at roughly £3.6 million.

For her role in the coronation ceremony, Camilla will wear a crown that is a modified version of the one made for Queen Mary in 1911 and commissioned by her as the consort of George V.

The Imperial State Crown

Crafted for the coronation of King George VI in 1937, the Imperial State Crown was a significant upgrade from its predecessor, which had been in use since Queen Victoria's time.

The Imperial State Crown

It was made to be lighter and more comfortable to wear, but at 2.3lbs (1.06 kg), it is still a weighty piece of regalia. 🤔

👑The crown that could break your neck

Each year of her reign, Queen Elizabeth II would adorn the Imperial State Crown and take her seat on a gilded throne to read out the government's most significant legislative proposals for the year during the State Opening of Parliament.

In 2018, the Queen joked about how heavy the crown felt to wear.

"You can't look down to read the speech, you have to take the speech up, because if you did your neck would break.”

The Imperial State Crown includes the 317 carat Cullinan II diamond, which was cut from the largest diamond ever discovered. The diamond was presented as a gift to Edward VII by the government of Transvaal, a former British crown colony located in modern-day South Africa, on his 66th birthday.

The Imperial State Crown is valued at an estimated £2.5 billion.

The Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross

Symbolizing the monarch's authority and rule, the Sovereign's Sceptre with Cross has played a pivotal role in British coronation ceremonies since its creation in 1661 for King Charles II's coronation.

The Sovereign Sceptre with Cross

This iconic sceptre, worth around £700 million, is adorned with gold and stones, including the massive 530.2 carat Cullinan I diamond.

As previously mentioned, it is the largest cut white diamond in the world and one of the gems in a set created from the original 3,106 carat Cullinan diamond.

The Sovereign’s Orb

The Sovereign’s Orb is a significant component of the British regalia, serving as a reminder to the monarch that their power comes from God. It is a beautiful hollow gold sphere, decorated with a stunning band of emeralds, rubies, and sapphires, and topped with a magnificent cross.

The Sovereign's Orb

Back in 1661, when Charles I had the orb made, he spent a considerable sum of 1,150 pounds on it. If we adjust for inflation, that would be a little over £200,000 today. Other sources say the Sovereign’s Orb is worth around £175,000,

However, its true value can far greater, owing to its rich historical significance and the preciousness of its gold and gemstones.

The Ampulla

The Ampulla is a crucial element of the British regalia, playing a key role in the coronation.

Made entirely of gold, the ampulla is shaped like an eagle and holds the consecrated oil with which the monarch is anointed. It was made for the coronation of King Charles II in 1661.

The Ampulla comes with a silver-gilt Coronation Spoon, which is the oldest object used at coronations, and the only surviving piece created by Royal goldsmiths in the 12th century.

The estimated value of the Ampulla is about £500,000.

The Ampulla

In the past, the holy oil included ingredients from animals. For example, the oil used to anoint the late Queen Elizabeth reportedly came from a civet cat, a musk deer and a sperm whale.

But the oil for the King Charles' coronation has been made with olives harvested from two groves on the Mount of Olives, at the Monastery of the Ascension and the Monastery of Mary Magdalene.

The Gold State Coach

The Gold State Coach is quite an impressive vehicle reserved for momentous occasions in the life of the British monarchy, including weddings and coronations. While not an official Crown Jewel, the coach is still noteworthy.

The Gold State Coach on display at the Royal Mews, the working stables of Buckingham Palace.

The iconic coach weighs 4 tonnes and is made of giltwood, which is a thin layer of gold leaf over wood. Due to its weight and age (it was built in 1762), the coach can only be used at a walking pace and requires 8 horses to pull it.

Despite its lavish appearance, the golden carriage is notoriously difficult to maneuver, and as a result, will not be used in the upcoming coronation of King Charles III.

Instead, Charles and Camilla will use the black and gold Diamond Jubilee carriage, first used by Queen Elizabeth II at the State Opening of Parliament in 2014.

What is the estimated value of the British Crown Jewels?

Despite their historical and cultural significance, the Crown Jewels have never been officially valued, and are widely considered priceless. Nevertheless, experts have unofficially estimated their worth to be between £3 billion and £5 billion, though the Crown has never entertained the idea of selling them.

If the price of gold keeps going up, the value of these regalia, which is already huge, is going to get even bigger by the end of the year.

So, whether you are a royal enthusiast or not, the upcoming coronation of King Charles III is bound to be a magnificent spectacle that will go down in history.

Missed out on your invitation to Westminster?🙂 Don't worry, just like Queen Elizabeth II's coronation more than 70 years ago, the ceremony is expected to be televised, so you can still witness the grandeur from the comfort of your own home.


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