The Imperial State Crown is well known for its many precious stones, weight, and gaudiness. Back in 2019, the late Queen Elizabeth II stopped wearing the crown, opting for a smaller tiara. Even though the headpiece hasn’t been worn in years, it has a long tradition of being worn by the monarch. Once King Charles III is crowned in May, will he bring back the tradition? The likely answer is yes.
Since his majesty is known for keeping with tradition, Charles is expected to reinstate the Imperial State Crown when he delivers the State Openings of Parliament. The crown has been used by the ruling monarch since the 15th century. However, the current version of the crown was made for the coronation of George VI in 1937. Then the crown had to be adjusted for the late queen when she began her 70-year reign.
The royal headpiece is decorated with precisely 2,901 stones. These include several precious jewels, such as the Cullinan II diamond, St. Edward’s Sapphire, the Stuart Sapphire, and the Black Prince’s Ruby. The crown’s large frame is made of gold, silver, and platinum. Plus, the velvet cap is trimmed with ermine fur. The crown is also quite large at 12.4 inches tall and weighing in at 2.3 pounds.
Crowns Are ‘Important Things’
The weight of the crown is exactly why the late monarch stopped wearing the gaudy headpiece. In a 2019 BBC documentary, the queen shared that the crown was “unwieldy.” As she said, “You can’t look down to read the speech, you have to take the speech up, because if you did your neck would break—it would fall off. So there are some disadvantages to crowns, but otherwise they’re quite important things.”
When the late queen stopped wearing the crown in 2019, The Sun’s political commentator, Kate Ferguson, pointed out that it was “only the third time she has not worn the Imperial State Crown since 1952.” To be fair to the royal family, one person responded to the tweet by pointing out, “I think it’d be even too heavy for Charles now.”
Even if it is heavy for the new monarch, his majesty will most likely still wear the crown. After all, he is one to follow tradition. Since the headpiece is only worn by the ruling monarch following being crowned, we’ll have to wait and see if the king wears it following his coronation on May 6, 2023.