What Are the Orb and Sceptre on Top of Queen Elizabeth's Coffin at Her Funeral?

·3 min read
What Are the Orb and Sceptre on Top of Queen Elizabeth's Coffin at Her Funeral?

Several traditional accouterments were present during Queen Elizabeth II's funeral service at Westminster Abbey in London on Monday, including the Imperial State Crown as well as the Sovereign's Sceptre and the Sovereign's Orb, which were also placed atop the late monarch's coffin.

The items are part of the royal family's crowned jewels. The Queen was presented with the Orb during her coronation, which also took place at Westminster Abbey, in June 1953.

During the ceremony, the reigning monarch is formally crowned and given regalia.

Queen Elizabeth II Funeral
Queen Elizabeth II Funeral

BBC America

Dating back to 1661, the Orb — a gold globe featuring a cross — is intended to symbolize that the monarch's power comes from God. The Sceptre, created for Charles II, has been used at every coronation since 1661.

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Because the Sceptre and Orb are used during the coronation, King Charles III, 73, is expected to hold them at his own ceremony as well.

Queen Elizabeth II wearing the in the Throne room at Buckingham Palace, after her Coronation in Westminster Abbey. (Photo by PA Images
Queen Elizabeth II wearing the in the Throne room at Buckingham Palace, after her Coronation in Westminster Abbey. (Photo by PA Images

PA Images via Getty Queen Elizabeth II in the Throne room at Buckingham Palace after her Coronation in Westminster Abbey

Even though he succeeded to the throne on Sept. 8, upon the death of the Queen, the new king's coronation isn't expected to occur until sometime next year.

Like other British monarchs before him, King Charles will take an oath before the country. He will also formally be crowned, blessed and anointed.

The Queen, who was Britain's longest-reigning monarch, died on Sept. 8 at her beloved Scottish residence, Balmoral Castle, at age 96.

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Addressing the nation for the first time as a monarch the next day, King Charles noted that the Queen's death marked "a time of change for my family" as he announced new titles for some of the British royals.

"I count on the loving help of my darling wife, Camilla. In recognition of her own loyal public service since our marriage 17 years ago, she becomes my Queen Consort. I know she will bring to the demands of her new role the steadfast devotion to duty on which I have come to rely so much," he said.

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"As my Heir, William now assumes the Scottish titles which have meant so much to me. He succeeds me as Duke of Cornwall and takes on the responsibilities for the Duchy of Cornwall which I have undertaken for more than five decades," he continued.

Queen Elizabeth II Funeral
Queen Elizabeth II Funeral

BBC America Queen Elizabeth's funeral procession

"Today, I am proud to create him Prince of Wales, Tywysog Cymru, the country whose title I have been so greatly privileged to bear during so much of my life and duty. With Catherine beside him, our new Prince and Princess of Wales will, I know, continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginal to the centre ground where vital help can be given."

King Charles also expressed his love for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle "as they continue to build their lives overseas," he said, referring to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's decision to make their home in California after they stepped back from royal duty.

A second procession for the Queen is set to commence on Monday at Windsor Castle before she is laid to rest at St. George's Chapel next to her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, who died in April 2021 at age 99.