The Crown Jewels
The Crown Jewels - exhibition highlights
The Coronation Spoon
The silver-gilt Coronation Spoon is over 800 years old – though it has been refurbished and re-gilded down the years. In 1649, the spoon was sold rather than being destroyed with the rest of the medieval crown jewels. This extraordinary survival is used at the Coronation for holy oil.
The Sovereign's Sceptre with Cross
The enormous 530.2 carat Cullinan I diamond, or Great Star of Africa, was added to the top of the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross (1661) in 1910. It remains the largest colourless cut diamond in the world.
St Edward's Crown
St Edward’s Crown (1661) is worn at the moment that the monarch is crowned in Westminster Abbey. Named after the medieval saint-king Edward the Confessor (d. 1066), this solid gold crown was used most recently at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
The Imperial State Crown
The Imperial State Crown (1937) is worn by the Queen at each State Opening of Parliament. One of the youngest crowns in the collection, it holds a number of much older gems. The crown was remade in 1937 after the previous frame weakened under the weight of the gemstones.
The Crown of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
The Crown of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (1937) is set with 2,800 diamonds including the most famous diamond in the Jewel House, the Koh-i-Nûr (or Mountain of Light). Since arriving in Britain in 1850, this Indian diamond has been set in various ways including in two previous queen consorts’ crowns.
Powerful symbols of the Monarchy
The Crown Jewels, part of the Royal Collection, are the most powerful symbols of the British Monarchy and hold deep religious and cultural significance in our nation’s history. The mystique and beauty of the diamonds and precious jewels in the royal regalia have always held an unparalleled allure to visitors from across the globe.
The Coronation ceremony
Since 1066, coronation ceremonies have taken place in Westminster Abbey, the great church built by Edward the Confessor. The displays examine how the royal regalia are used during the ceremony and explore the symbolism of each object. Destroyed at the Tower after the Civil War and remade for Charles II’s coronation in 1661, the Crown Jewels signify royal authority to lead, and protect, the nation.
Under guard and still in use
The Crown Jewels at the Tower of London are a unique working collection of royal regalia and are still regularly used by The Queen in important national ceremonies, such as the State Opening of Parliament (watch for the ‘in use’ signs).
You'll find the Crown Jewels under armed guard in the Jewel House at the Tower of London.
See more in our Crown Jewels slideshow.