Want to see those precious coronation day jewels, as well as other treasures from the royal vault, up close? A new exhibit makes it possible.
Those hoping for an up-close view of some of the most valuable royal crown jewels are in luck! According to People, a new exhibit at the Tower of London will show off the crown jewels that were worn by King Charles and Queen Camilla during the May 6 coronation. And not only do visitors get the chance to view these ornate crowns in person, but they can also see much more from the royal vault.
The new exhibit, which opens this Friday, June 2, 2023, will display Charles' set of coronation crowns and his regalia like the scepter and orb. Visitors can see Queen Camilla's refashioned crown, which was modified from when Queen Mary (Charles' great-grandmother) wore it to the coronation of her husband, King George V, in 1911. The headpiece features precious stones like several of the famous Cullinan diamonds. Other items on display from the coronation include the anointing spoon and ampulla, complete with fascinating information about the use of these ceremonial objects.
The exhibit, which curators actually planned before the change of reign that came with Queen Elizabeth's death in September of 2022, offers visitors an exciting chance to hear the stories behind these precious items and jewels. Part of the reasoning for the re-evaluation of the display, according to curators at Historic Royal Palaces, is to be transparent and sensitive to the history behind the stones. This includes a historically controversial Koh-i-Noor diamond, which has been considered a "symbol of conquest" and a Cullinan stone (the world's largest rough diamond) sourced from South Africa. Using visual projections behind the display of the jewels, the exhibit shines a light on the nuanced history of these valuable gemstones, including who previously owned them.
Those interested in how the crowns are actually created will be delighted to know that the exhibit's opening display shows the crown frames made for King George I, King George IV, and Queen Victoria, including how the jewels are placed into the delicate metalwork of these historic headpieces. As visitors enter the Treasury room, they'll have the chance to see both ceremonial maces and coronation swords—including the stunning Sword of State (held by Member of Parliament Penny Mordau).
People says that Charles Farris, public historian at Historic Royal Palaces and curator of the upcoming exhibit, states, "There is an important cultural and historical thread that goes through all of these jewels, and it is part of the continuing cultural historical significance of the collection. From their origins to their use during the Coronation ceremony, the new Jewel House transformation will present the rich history of this magnificent collection with more depth and detail than ever before," he continued. "With 2023 witnessing the first Coronation in 70 years, there has never been a better time for people to come and learn about the jewels and to appreciate these awe-inspiring objects in person.”
For those lucky enough to make it to London for this special peek inside the royal vault, tickets can be purchased online via the Tower of London's website.
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