British Crown Jewels Timeline

British Crown Jewels Timeline

  • 973

    First text description of the coronation of an English monarch, the crowning of King Edgar.

  • 25 Dec 1066

    William the Conqueror holds the first coronation at Westminster Abbey.

  • 1100 - 1300

    Possible period in which the Koh-i-Noor diamond was discovered in the Golconda mines in India.

  • Oct 1216

    New regalia items are created for the coronation of Henry III of England.

  • Oct 1216

    King John of England loses some of the Crown Jewels while escaping rebels.

  • 1649

    The Parliamentarians destroy, dismantle or sell off the British Crown Jewels.

  • 1661

    New Crown Jewels are created for the coronation of Charles II with some of the pre-revolution regalia being found and reused.

  • 26 Jan 1905

    The Cullinan diamond is discovered in Transvaal, South Africa.

  • 9 Nov 1907

    The Cullian diamond is presented to Edward VII of England for his 66th birthday.

  • Feb 1908 - Nov 1908

    Joseph Asscher and Company of Amsterdam cut the Cullinan diamond into 9 large stones and 96 smaller gems.

  • 21 Nov 1908

    The Cullinan I and II diamonds are presented to Edward VII.

  • 1910

    The Cullinan II diamond is set into the Imperial State Crown of the British Crown Jewels.

  • 1911

    The Cullinan I diamond is added to the Sovereign's Sceptre of the British Crown Jewels.

Queen Elizabeth II's Most Glamorous Jewels and Tiaras

It's no surprise that in a monarchy over 1,200 years old, Queen Elizabeth would have inherited some extraordinary and priceless pieces of jewelry. While some of her treasures were specially made for her, others were passed through a long line of British monarchs or gifted to her. Here's a peek inside Her Royal Highness's peerless jewelry box.

The Queen's diamond and pearl looped tiara, worn here on May 22, 1978, is known as the Grand Duchess Of Vladimir Tiara. The tiara was purchased in 1921 by Queen Mary, who bought it from the daughter of the Grand Duchess Vladimir. It was eventually passed down to Mary's granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth, and the tiara is now one of the Queen's favorites.

On January 1, 1967, the Queen wore the Imperial State Crown along with the diamond necklace she had worn for her coronation. The crown was made for the coronation of King George VI in 1937 and is set with 2868 diamonds in silver mounts, largely table-, rose- and brilliant-cut, and colored stones in gold mounts, including 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and 269 pearls.

In 1973, the Queen ordered the Burmese ruby tiara from Garrard. The tiara is set with 96 rubies that were gifted to the Queen by the people of Burma as a wedding present. Here, she's wearing the tiara at a royal gala in May 30, 1977.

This four-strand pearl choker with diamond pendant was commissioned for the Queen by the Japanese government in the early 80's she's seen wearing it here on November 16, 1983. It's been seen on the Duchess of Cambridge as well.

The Queen's striking amethyst set, which includes a diamond brooch, necklace and earrings, is known as the Crown Amethyst Suite of Jewels or the The Kent Amethysts. The set originally belonged to Queen Victoria's mother, the Duchess of Kent. Elizabeth is seen wearing it here on March 26, 1985.

Here the Queen dons a diamond and aquamarine earrings, and necklace set, gifted to her by the People of Brazil for her coronation. Four years later, she commissioned Garrard to make her a tiara that matches nicely. The uprights are apparently detachable and could be used as brooches. She's seen wearing the set here on October 15, 1986.

The Queen's emerald necklace and matching earrings, worn here on October 14, 1989, are known as the Cambridge and Delhi Durbar Parure. The tiara is called Queen Mary's Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara (also known affectionately as "Granny's Tiara"), which belonged to Elizabeth II's grandmother, Queen Mary. The tiara originally featured large pearls, which were removed on Queen Mary's orders and refashioned into the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara, a favorite of both Princess Diana and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.

For a state banquet in Iceland on June 25, 1990, the Queen donned the Russian Fringe Tiara, which she wore to her 1947 wedding to Prince Philip.

The Queen's diamond and sapphire necklace and earrings, known fittingly as the Victorian Suite of Sapphire and Diamond set, were made originally in 1850 and gifted to Lilibet by her father, King George VI, for her wedding. The matching tiara was made in 1963. She's seen wearing them here on June 11, 1992.

The Oriental Circlet was designed by Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's husband, and inspired by Indian jewelry on display at the Great Exhibition of 1851. It was a favorite of the Queen Mother's, and Queen Elizabeth herself has only worn it once, for a 2005 trip to Malta. That night, she paired it with Queen Mary's ruby cluster earrings and the Baring Ruby Necklace, per the Court Jeweller.

Originally designed for Queen Mary in 1911, the Cullinan V Heart diamond brooch that the Queen is pictured wearing on March 9, 1989 is about 19 carats.

The Queen's diamond crown, which she's pictured wearing on November 13, 2002, is known as the State Diadem and was made in 1820 for King George IV , Queen Victoria's uncle. The diadem is traditionally worn by queens and queens consort to the State Openings of Parliament .

This yellow gold, ruby, and diamond "Scarab Brooch" is a favorite of the Queen's and was gifted to her by her husband, Prince Philip, in 1966.

This charming bejeweled basket of flowers brooch was gifted to the Queen by her parents after the birth of Prince Charles in 1948.

The bow-shaped diamond brooch the Queen wore, fittingly, to the 2011 marriage of Kate Middleton and her grandson Prince William, is known as the Lover's Knot brooch and was part of Queen Mary's collection.

For the Queen's official visit to Germany on June 24, 2015, she sported the Crown Ruby necklace, designed by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria. The monarch also wore Queen Victoria&rsquos Crown Ruby Brooch for the occasion. They were part of the Queen Mother's collection until her death in 2002.

This three-strand pearl necklace must be a favorite of the Queen's as she wears in frequently. Perhaps it is a go-to for the Queen because it was gifted to her by her father, King George VI, or because it is an elegant and simple piece that can be worn with many other jewels.


All red gemstones used to be referred to as rubies or "balas rubies". It wasn't until 1783 that spinels were chemically differentiated from rubies. [5] A red spinel is a compound of magnesium, aluminum, oxygen, and chromium, while a ruby is the mineral corundum. [6] The rarity of this spinel, however, is that it is the biggest uncut spinel in the world, given that it has only been polished slightly, and has never received a proper cut, gemologically speaking. [ citation needed ]

Don Pedro of Seville Edit

The Black Prince's Ruby dates back to the middle of the 14th century as the possession of Abū Sa'īd, the Arab Muslim Prince of Granada. At that time, the rule of Castile was being centralized to Seville and the Moorish Kingdom of Granada was being systematically attacked and reverted to Castilian rule as a part of the Christian Reconquest of the Iberian peninsula. Abū Sa'īd in particular was confronted by the belligerency of nascent Castile under the rule of Peter of Castile, also known to history as Don Pedro the Cruel. According to historical accounts, Abū Sa'īd wished to surrender to Don Pedro, but the conditions he offered were unclear. What is clear is that Don Pedro welcomed his coming to Seville. It is recorded that he greatly desired Abū Sa'īd's wealth. When Abū Sa'īd met with Don Pedro, the King had Abū Sa'īd's servants killed and may have personally stabbed Sa'īd to death himself. When Sa'īd's corpse was searched, the spinel was found and added to Don Pedro's possessions.

In 1366, Don Pedro's illegitimate brother, Henry of Trastámara, led a revolt against Don Pedro. Lacking the power to put down the revolt unaided, Don Pedro made an alliance with the Black Prince, the son of Edward III of England. The revolt was successfully put down and the Black Prince demanded the ruby in exchange for the services he had rendered. While historians speculate that this was contrary to Don Pedro's desires, he had just suffered a costly civil war and was in no position to decline. It can be assumed that the Black Prince took the Ruby back to England, although it is absent from historical records until 1415.

A wartime adornment Edit

During his campaign in France, Henry V of England wore a gem-encrusted helmet that included the Black Prince's Ruby. [7] In the Battle of Agincourt on 25 October 1415, the French Duke of Alençon struck Henry on the head with a battleaxe, and Henry nearly lost both the helmet and his life. The battle was won by Henry's forces and the Black Prince's Ruby was saved. Richard III is supposed to have worn the gemstone in his helmet at the Battle of Bosworth, where he died.

Crown Jewels Edit

Henry VIII's inventory of 1521 mentions "a great balas ruby" set in the Tudor Crown, [8] thought to be the Black Prince's Ruby. [9] It remained there until the time of Oliver Cromwell in the 17th century. With the exception of the Coronation Chair and several other items, Cromwell had the principal symbols of the king's power – the Crown Jewels – disassembled and sold, and the gold was melted down and made into coins. What happened to the Black Prince's Ruby, then valued at £4 [10] (equivalent to £537 as of 2019), [11] during the Commonwealth of England is not clear, but it came back into the possession of Charles II when the monarchy was restored in 1660. At the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1838, she was crowned with a new Imperial State Crown made for her by Rundell and Bridge, with 3,093 gems, including the spinel at the front. The Queen can be clearly seen wearing the jewel in the Imperial State Crown in her official coronation portrait by Sir George Hayter. This was remade in 1937 into the current, lighter, crown. A plaquette on the reverse of the gemstone commemorates the crown's history. [1]

Visit the jewels of the crown

Once inside the jewelry room the first area is called "Hall of Monarchs" ("Hall of Monarchs"). You will find the coat of arms of the British monarchs of William the Conqueror to Queen Elizabeth II as well as the main ornaments of medieval heaumes over time. It is always interesting to see the evolution of these decorations that identify the British forces vis-à-vis their enemies.

The visitors continue their discoveries through the (optional) viewing of the 3 films (rather short). One of them shows the coronation ceremony of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, it was the first time in history that this event was broadcast on television, we see the very young queen advancing, crowned on the head. This crown, you will see it a little farther.

The next hall is a long hall, it is called the processional hall, it is the place where the masses are exposed. Originally the masses were medieval weapons of wood and metal, but in time they became symbols of the authority of the king or queen. The most worked masses are made of precious metals and encrusted with jewels which reflects the high rank of its owners.

Then, the next room shows the famous crown of England. This is where the conveyor belts are located to avoid clogging in front of the windows. There are the principal crowns of the kings and queens of England. Do not worry if you have not had time to see them well, you can easily go back and resume the treadmill again. If there are people, just put yourself in line and iron as many times as you like. And then there's also a treadmill on the other side of course! It has a frustrating side because you can not stop long in front of a crown to admire all the jewels, but it has the advantage of allowing everyone to see them, and without busculade.

You will see the Imperial State Crown worn by the Queen every year at the opening of the parliamentary session. It is the queen's main crown. There is also the "Queen Victoria Diamond Crown", the Queen Mother Crown which has the distinction of having the diamond known as Koh-i-Nor, a diamond of 105.6 carats.

In the following room are displayed the royal insignia such as the dress worn by Queen Elizabeth II. After the execution of King Charles I in 1649, Oliver Cromwell ordered the jewelery to be melted or sold in order to make pieces, to enlarge the treasure. This period corresponds to a major event for the jewels of the crown which were lost. Charles II is sometimes called the king without crown, following the fact that it is the first to be crowned after the disappearance of the royal jewelry collection.

However, new royal insignia were made in 1661. Most of the objects shown in the jewel room date from this period. There is a spoon of the coronation, it is the oldest piece since it survived the destruction of Cromwell of the seventeenth century. The scepter is also seen on the cross, it is known to have on its upper part the Cullinan I, a diamond of 530.2 carats, making it the largest diamond in the world. It was set in 1910.

The figures are eloquent, and one understands why there is a craze for the jewels of the crown: they are above all 23 578 precious stones! The Imperial State Crown contains 2868 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and 5 rubies. Note that one can also admire the largest cut diamond in the world, the "First Star of Africa", from Cullinan, the largest diamond ever discovered in the world. He ascended the Imperial scepter. These monarchical symbols are still used by English rulers during coronations.

The Theft of the Crown Jewels

One of the most audacious rogues in history was Colonel Blood, known as the ‘Man who stole the Crown Jewels’.

Thomas Blood was an Irishman, born in County Meath in 1618, the son of a prosperous blacksmith. He came from a good family, his grandfather who lived in Kilnaboy Castle was a Member of Parliament.

The English Civil War broke out in 1642 and Blood came to England to fight for Charles I, but when it became apparent that Cromwell was going to win, he promptly changed sides and joined the Roundheads.

When Charles I was defeated in 1653 Blood was made a Justice of the Peace and was granted a large estate, but when Charles II returned to the throne in 1660 Blood fled to Ireland with his wife and son.

In Ireland he joined a plot with the disgruntled Cromwellians and attempted to seize Dublin Castle and take the Governor, Lord Ormonde prisoner. This plot failed and he had to flee to Holland, now with a price on his head. in spite of being one of the most wanted men in England, Blood returned in 1670 taking the name Ayloffe and practised as a doctor in Romford!

After another botched attempt to kidnap Lord Ormonde in 1670, where Blood narrowly escaped capture, Blood decided on a bold scheme to steal the Crown Jewels.

The Crown Jewels were kept at the Tower of London in a basement protected by a large metal grille. The Keeper of the Jewels was Talbot Edwards who lived with his family on the floor above the basement.

One day in 1671 Blood, disguised as a ‘parson’ went to see the Crown Jewels and became friendly with Edwards, returning at a later date with his wife. As the visitors were leaving, Mrs. Blood had a violent stomach-ache and was taken to Edward’s apartment to rest. The grateful ‘Parson Blood’ returned a few days later with 4 pairs of white gloves for Mrs. Edwards in appreciation of her kindness to his wife.

The Edwards family and ‘Parson Blood’ became close friends and met frequently. Edwards had a pretty daughter and was delighted when ‘Parson Blood’ proposed a meeting between his wealthy nephew and Edward’s daughter.

On 9th May 1671, ‘Parson Blood’ arrived at 7am. with his ‘nephew’ and two other men. While the ‘nephew’ was getting to know Edward’s daughter the others in the party expressed a desire to see the Crown Jewels.

Edwards led the way downstairs and unlocked the door to the room where they were kept. At that moment Blood knocked him unconscious with a mallet and stabbed him with a sword.

The grille was removed from in front of the jewels and the crown, orb and sceptre were taken out. The crown was flattened with the mallet and stuffed into a bag, and the orb stuffed down Blood’s breeches. The sceptre was too long to go into the bag so Blood’s brother-in-law Hunt tried to saw it in half!

At that point Edwards regained consciousness and began to shout “Murder, Treason!”. Blood and his accomplices dropped the sceptre and attempted to get away but Blood was arrested as he tried to leave the Tower by the Iron-Gate, after unsuccessfully trying to shoot one of the guards.

In custody Blood refused to answer questions, instead repeating stubbornly, “I’ll answer to none but the King himself”.

Blood knew that the King had a reputation for liking bold scoundrels and reckoned that his considerable Irish charm would save his neck as it had done several times before in his life.

Blood was taken to the Palace where he was questioned by King Charles, Prince Rupert, The Duke of York and other members of the royal family. King Charles was amused at Blood’s audacity when Blood told him that the Crown Jewels were not worth the £100,000 they were valued at, but only £6,000!

The King asked Blood “What if I should give you your life?” and Blood replied humbly, “I would endeavour to deserve it, Sire!”

Blood was not only pardoned, to the disgust of Lord Ormonde, but was given Irish lands worth £500 a year! Blood became a familiar figure around London and made frequent appearances at Court.

Edwards who recovered from his wounds, was rewarded by the King and lived to a ripe old age, recounting his part in the story of the theft of the Jewels to all the visitors to the Tower.

In 1679 Blood’s phenomenal luck ran out. He quarrelled with his former patron the Duke of Buckingham. Buckingham demanded £10,000 for some insulting remarks Blood had made about his character. As Blood became ill in 1680 the Duke never got paid, as Blood died on August 24th of that year at the age of 62.

The Crown Jewels have never been stolen since that day – as no other thief has tried to match the audacity of Colonel Blood!

Scottish Crown Jewels's history is an incredible one that starts in Rome

The gift of a golden scepter by Pope Alexander VI to King James IV in 1494 began the priceless collection known as the Honours of Scotland. After a long and colorful history, the Honours of Scotland rest on display in Edinburgh Castle atop the Royal Mile in Scotland’s capital city.

Princes born in exile, elegant monsters from unexplored depths, woven woolen fabric and the music squeezed from a sheep’s stomach the Scots have placed their affections in some strange places throughout their battle-worn history

Some, such as King Macbeth and William Wallace, have made their way from history to mythology others—the Stone of Destiny—for instance, came from mythology to a very solid reality. Only the “Honours” have made the journey from history to mythology and back again to reality.

Given the stubbornly contrary nature of the Scots, we might not be surprised that their Honours, the Royal Regalia or Scottish Crown Jewels were made far from Scottish shores, came to replace a king, and were once kept safe in a minister’s bed!

Read more

Asked to imagine Crown Jewels, people the world over will picture the crown and scepter on display at the Tower of London, but these are relative newcomers in terms of British Royal regalia. For real antiquity, we need to look several hundred miles to the north where the Honours are lovingly displayed in Edinburgh Castle—but their journey to the hearts of the Scottish people actually began far from the mist and mountains. It began in Rome.

In the 13th and 14th centuries, while kingdoms waxed and waned, while neighbors slaughtered each other over continually changing borders, the power came at the point of a sword or rode on lumbering war horses. One power, however, had authority over kings, princes, and freedom fighters: the Vatican.

The British Isles were a collection of Catholic countries and feared the ultimate sanction of excommunication. King Robert I of Scotland, or The Bruce, had defied the papacy in his quest for power, but constantly sent envoys to Rome in attempts to win back favor. What use, after all, was power in this life if you were denied heaven in the next?

As a result of these entreaties, Scotland was declared a “special daughter” of the Holy See.
Gifts from the pope to any nation brought a significance and prestige well beyond the monetary value of the objects themselves. They were honors from a power that claimed a higher kingdom than any on Earth.

The oldest of the papal gifts that would eventually constitute the Scottish Regalia was presented to King James IV by Pope Alexander VI in 1494. The scepter is a golden hexagonal rod, topped by a finial ball of rock crystal. The crystal is supported by golden dolphins and depictions of Saint Andrew, Saint James and the Virgin and Child.

Thirteen years later Pope Julius II presented James with a “Blessed Sword.” Not such a surprising gift, perhaps, from “the warrior Pope.”

The Blessed Sword and its gold-and-silver scabbard were crafted by Dominico da Sutri during the High Renaissance, reflecting the ornately decorative style of the time. The quillons of the handle are stylized dolphins, representing the church. The blade has etched upon it, “JULIUS II PONT MAX,” or Julius II Supreme Pontiff. A woven silk-and-gold-thread sword belt complements the set.

No Regalia would be complete without a crown, and for this the Scots looked closer to home.
Tradition has it that The Bruce was crowned (in a hurry) with a rude circle of gold. Kings after him had the circle adorned with fleur de lis and, judging from the number of times it was repaired, it was treated with no great respect.

Next to the sword and scepter, used at the crowning of James V’s young wife, Mary, the current crown must have looked shabby indeed, for James immediately had it remodeled.

John Mossman, an Edinburgh gold-smith, was given the old crown, 41 extra ounces of Scottish gold, 22 additional precious stones and 68 pearls, and was tasked with creating a crown the king would be proud to wear. To make the 4 pounds of gold and jewels easier to wear, James ordered a silk, satin and fur bonnet fixed to the inside.

Days after the birth of his daughter, James V died. The country was at war, so the infant was smuggled to safety in Stirling Castle. There, baby Mary was anointed queen. The scepter was placed in her tiny hand, the sword laid across her and the crown lowered to her forehead. Throughout the first use of the Honours of Scotland at a coronation, Mary Queen of Scots cried continuously.


When her son, James VI, was less than a year old, his mother was forced to abdicate, and he became the second infant crowned by the Honours. For the next 25 years, James VI ruled Scotland, until the death of Elizabeth I of England tantalized him with the prospect of greater riches and higher estate. As James I of England, he paid scant regard to the land of his birth, and in his absence the Honours took on a more royal role, representing the king at the Scottish Parliament, the tapping of each new act by the scepter giving royal assent.

If James treated Scotland with disregard, his son Charles I treated it with blatant disrespect, only traveling north for his Scottish coronation eight years after acceding to the English throne. Lacking the diplomatic talents of his father, Charles set about making enemies and sowing the seeds of the English Civil War.


Had they loved him more, the Scots might not have handed Charles over to Oliver Cromwell, but they could never have foreseen the execution of a king. As Cromwell set about destroying the monarchy and all its symbols, Scotland immediately proclaimed the harried young prince King Charles II, on the same Scone hill where once Bruce had been crowned. Cromwell was furious. He had already destroyed the English Crown Jewels and, next to the king himself, the Honours were the most potent symbol of monarchy remaining.

A ragged and desperate band of Scots soldiers rode ahead of Cromwell’s men with the regalia, finally stopping at Dunottar Castle off the coast of Aberdeenshire. Surrounded by sea on three sides and approached by a narrow, precipitous path, Dunottar had been unassailable in previous generations, and the 70 soldiers defended their treasure for eight months.

Eventually, Cromwell’s commanders called for cannons, and the bombardment of the castle began. When Scotland’s soldiers could hold out no longer, the common folk stepped up and did their bit.

The royal bling of the Stewart Jewels includes this diamond-cased ruby ring, the St. Andrew Jewel and the Great George collar badge. HISTORIC SCOTLAND, EDINBURGH

Christine Granger, the local minister’s wife, obtained permission from the commanding English officer to visit the lady of the castle. After her visit, the same officer assisted Mrs. Granger and her servant in mounting their cart. If only this fine gentleman had known—the crown and the scepter were under her clothes! The sword and scabbard, broken now to disguise their length, were wrapped in the bale of flax her servant carried.

Perhaps thinking there are few places more sacrosanct than a minister’s bed, the Rev. James Granger kept the Honours hidden there for several weeks. For the rest of Cromwell’s reign, they were buried under flagstones in the village church, with the minister and his wife digging them up at midnight once a month to clean and polish them.

After Cromwell’s death, the Honours were restored to Charles II, but they would never again be used to crown a monarch. Instead, they became the embodiment of the Crown in Scotland, their principal roles being at the opening of each session of the Scottish Parliament.
The Scottish Parliament, however, was not to last. With the Acts of Union of 1707, both English and Scottish parliaments were dissolved. The difference for English parliamentarians must have been minimal with their institution being immediately recreated as the British Parliament. In Scotland, it was a more somber occasion, marked as “the end of a long sang.”
The Honours now had no use, symbolic or otherwise. A poem composed for the crown declared:

I, royal diadem, relinquished
By all my friends and robbed of
my land
So left bereft of all I did

They were locked in an oak chest and placed in Edinburgh Castle’s Crown Room. The door was bricked up. From here on the Honours temporarily left the real world and slipped into the lands of myth, rumor, and even propaganda.


With succeeding garrisons and commanding officers holding the castle, the memory of the Honours was all but lost. When, in 1794, the lieutenant governor of the castle opened the room to look for some papers, he saw a dusty chest in a corner and gave it a shake. Having no authority to open it and deciding it was empty anyway, he left and had the doorway bricked up again.

Almost invisible they may have been, but that didn’t mean they could not be used. Scottish separatists, tired of London rule, declared the Honours were in the Tower of London being shown to a chosen few…they had been smuggled to France…they had been melted down. Each option guaranteed to fan the flame of nationalism in the Scottish breast.


In an attempt to calm this unrest, the author Sir Walter Scott petitioned the Prince Regent (the future George IV) for permission, searched for and found the Honours.

Such was Scott’s facility for words that centuries later he is remembered with statues in Edinburgh and New York’s Central Park. But as he watched the chest pried open he could “hardly express” his feelings. Scott knew well the upheaval that might be caused should the chest be found to be empty.

“It was evident,” he wrote, “the removal of Regalia might have greatly irritated people’s minds here and offered a fair pretext of breaking the Union.”

The diamond-encrusted knight is the flashy front of the Great George bauble. He is flanked by an enamel miniature that hangs as a medallion. HISTORIC SCOTLAND, EDINBURGH

The echo of the workmen’s tools had half convinced Scott the chest would be empty, but leaning deep into the shadows, he lifted aside a woolen blanket and withdrew the sword. It was, he wrote: “A most beautiful piece….The scabbard is richly decorated with filigree work of silver, double gilded…executed in a taste worthy of that classical age.” Then, with masterly understatement Scott informs posterity, “The fate of these Regalia, which his Royal Highness’s goodness has thus restored to light and honour has on one or two occasions been singular enough.”

His next concern was that the Honours should be made available to public gaze—for a reasonable charge! The Honours and the Stewart Jewels that accompanied them were put on display in the same Crown Room where they had slumbered for 111 years. Since then they have left their home only thrice.

In 1939, with the Nazi storm raging across Europe, the Honours were taken into the castle cellars and covered with sandbags. When a German invasion began to look like a realistic possibility, more imaginative measures were needed. The Crown and Stewart Jewels were placed in a zinc-lined case and buried beneath a castle latrine. The scepter and sword of the state were bricked up in a wall. The location of these hiding places was sent to the Governor-General in faraway Canada.

After the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, a National Service of Thanksgiving was held. Scotland’s highest-ranking nobles, bareheaded out of respect for their precious burdens, carried the Honours from the castle to the High Kirk of St. Giles, where they were received by Her Majesty.

On Thursday, July 1, 1999, Queen Elizabeth II opened the first session of the Scottish Parliament to sit for 300 years. In a reminder that they are vastly more than museum pieces, the Honours, which had seen the closure of the last parliament, were laid before Her Majesty in the new parliament building.

Having survived the vagaries and brutality of centuries of Scottish history, having been held in the highest esteem, buried in a church and entombed in a dusty oak coffin, the Honours were once again center stage in history, back at the heart of Scottish life.

British Crown Jewels Timeline - History

Celebrate and learn about special days
every day of the year!

On 9 May 1671, Thomas Blood (Colonel Blood) attempted to steal the crown jewels from the Tower of London.

Crown Jewels are jewels or artifacts of the reigning royal family of their respective country.

The Crown Jewels housed in the Tower of London are the ceremonial treasures which have been acquired by English kings and queens. They have been used by English kings and queens since 1660 or earlier. The Crown Jewels are part of the national heritage and held by The Queen as Sovereign.

The Scottish Crown Jewels, housed in Edinburgh castle, are known as "The Honours of Scotland". The Scottish Crown Jewels were left in Scotland when King James VI of Scotland inherited the English throne. They are the oldest sovereign regalia in the British Isles. The crown, the sword and sceptre date from the late 15th and early 16th century.

The Welsh Crown Jewels are "The Honours of the Principality of Wales" and are used at the investiture of the Princes of Wales. They are presently on loan to the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff.

Why did Colonel Blood try to steal the Crown Jewels?

At the outbreak of the First English Civil War in 1642, Blood initially took up arms with the Royalist forces loyal to Charles I. However, as the conflict progressed he switched sides to join Oliver Cromwell's Roundheads.

When Charles I was defeated in 1653 Blood was made a Justice of the Peace and was granted a large estate, but following the Restoration (when Charles II returned to the throne) in 1660, Blood had his land confiscated, leaving him bitter and penniless.

How did he try to steal the Crown Jewels?

Colonol Blood went to the Tower disguised as a preist. He gained the confidence of the Assistant Keeper of the Jewels called Talbot Edwards and persuaded Edwards to show the Crown Jewels to his friends. The gang bound and gagged Edwards and set to work removing the regalia and concealing them under their clothing. Blood crushed the crown to make it less conspicuous under his cloak. Just as it looked likely that their plan was likely to succeed, Edwards' son returned unexpectedly and raised the alarm. The gang was captured as they tried to get away and all the jewels recovered.

On 18 July 1671 Thomas Blood was released from his prison cell. His treasonable act should have led to his death but he found favour with King Charles and had his Irish Estates restored to him. Not only that, he was granted a pension of five hundred pounds per annum!

Background to the British Crown Jewels

1649: England briefly became a republic. Oliver Cromwell, as acting head of state, ordered that the Royal regalia be melted down as they were then considered to be redundant. The precious stones were sold separately. A few items were sold intact.

1660: Charles II restored to the throne of England and Scotland. Only five items could be found intact. These were three swords, a silver spoon and The Coronation Chair. Metal recovered from the old Saint Edward’s Crown was hastily incorporated into a new crown for the coronation of Charles II. This crown, still known as St. Edward's Crown is used in modern coronations.

A number of other items were made specifically for the coronation of Charles II:

What jewels were hidden?

One of the most important is the Black Prince's Ruby, which has been mounted on the Imperial State Crown since the days of Queen Victoria's rule. Despite the crown being remade in 1937, the ruby remains in place. St Edward's Sapphire, which is older than the ruby, is set in the cross of the crown.

The Cullinan Diamond, which is set in the Queen’s scepter is another important gem that's believed to have been hidden during the war.

Queen Elizabeth II, accompained by Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, prepares to deliver her speech in the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament on May 9, 2012 in London, England

In fact, Queen Elizabeth wasn't aware that the jewels had been hidden until Bruce told her, as herself and Princess Margaret were just children at the time.

Entrance to the Jewel House. Credit: Tower of London

Part of the Royal Collection, the Crown Jewels attract millions of visitors to the Tower of London every year. Here are 10 things that you really ought to know…

1. Rent-a-diamond

Until the reign of Queen Victoria, it was common practice for the gems in the Crown Jewels to be hired from the crown jeweller for the coronation for four per cent of their value.

2. Made of money

At the end of the English Civil War the Council of State ordered the Crown Jewels be destroyed. Almost all the pieces used for the coronation of King Charles I were taken to the Mint within the Tower of London and melted down. They re-emerged as coinage, used to pay the army that had defeated the king.

3. Spoon saver

The only item of coronation regalia to survive the destruction of the collection at the end of the Civil War was the Coronation Spoon. Clement Kynnersley who had bought it at the 1649 sale quietly returned this exquisite 12th-century gold spoon to King Charles II.

4. A small fortune

Heartbroken by the death of her husband, Queen Victoria went into mourning, never again wearing the Imperial State Crown with its brightly coloured gems. In 1871 the tiny Small Diamond Crown measuring less than 10cm across and set only with clear stones, was made for her instead. It was placed on her coffin at her death.

5. Close call

The Crown Jewels were stolen from the Jewel House in 1672. The thieves were disturbed during the crime and wrestled to the ground on the Tower wharf, with the crown, orb and sceptre hidden under their cloaks. After being repaired the jewels were returned to the Tower and kept safely behind bars.

6. Keeping the crown

When King Edward VIII abdicated from the throne in 1937 to marry Wallis Simpson, he left Britain for the Continent, taking with him the Prince of Wales Crown, which he had worn at the coronation of his father in 1911. It was only returned to the Jewel House on his death.

7. Snookered

King Edward VII’s coronation was postponed shortly before the ceremony when it became clear that the King was suffering from appendicitis. He received an appendectomy on the Buckingham Palace billiard table and was to be found sitting up in bed smoking a cigar the following day.

8. Something borrowed

In the age of Shakespeare King James I’s wife, Anne of Denmark, enjoyed acting the plays performed at court, and used to borrow items of the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London to use as props. Pieces were sometimes returned broken.

Plan your trip to the Tower of London

9. Great honour

Although the British Empire once extended over dozens of dominions, only one – India – had a new crown made for it, which King George V wore at the inaugural ceremony known as the Delhi Durbar in 1911. Set with over 6,000 gems, it is one of the most sensational objects in the Crown Jewels but has only ever been worn once.

10. Your name’s not on the list…

Queen Caroline, the estranged wife of King George IV, was not invited to her husband’s coronation in 1821 in fact, he went to considerable lengths to keep her away. But, undeterred, the hapless queen turned up on the day and was turned away at the doors of Westminster Abbey by officials.

Declaring Independence

For over a year, the Continental Congress supervised a war against a country to which it proclaimed its loyalty. In fact, both the Congress and the people it represented were divided on the question of independence even after a year of open warfare against Great Britain. Early in 1776, a number of factors began to strengthen the call for separation. In his stirring pamphlet 𠇌ommon Sense,” published in January of that year, the British immigrant Thomas Paine (1737-1809) laid out a convincing argument in favor of independence. At the same time, many Americans came to realize that their military might not be capable of defeating the British Empire on its own. Independence would allow it to form alliances with Britain’s powerful rivals𠄿rance was at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Meanwhile, the war itself evoked hostility toward Britain among the citizenry, paving the way for independence.

In the spring of 1776, the provisional colonial governments began to send new instructions to their congressional delegates, obliquely or directly allowing them to vote for independence. The provisional government of Virginia went further: It instructed its delegation to submit a proposal for independence before Congress. On June 7, Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee (1732-94) complied with his instructions. Congress postponed a final vote on the proposal until July 1, but appointed a committee to draft a provisional declaration of independence for use should the proposal pass.

The committee consisted of five men, including John Adams and Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) of Pennsylvania. But the declaration was primarily the work of one man, Thomas Jefferson, who penned an eloquent defense of the natural rights of all people, of which, he charged, Parliament and the king had tried to deprive the American nation. The Continental Congress made several revisions to Jefferson’s draft, removing, among other things, an attack on the institution of slavery but on July 4, 1776, Congress voted to approve the Declaration of Independence.

Watch the video: HD Doku. Geheimnisse der englischen Krone (December 2021).