The British monarchy is never lacking in history and custom, and the official state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II is certainly no exception.
There are also certain traditional accoutrements that are accompanying the Queen's body for the formal service today: notably, the Sovereign’s Sceptre and Sovereign’s Orb which have been placed on the coffin.
They are part of the Crown Jewels.
The British monarchy is never lacking in history and custom, and the official state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II is certainly no exception. Along with lying in state at Westminster Hall, and the ceremonial procession of her coffin, there are also certain traditional accoutrements that are accompanying the Queen's body for the formal service today: notably, the Sovereign’s Sceptre and Sovereign’s Orb which have been placed on the coffin.
Part of the Crown Jewels—a collection of more than 100 objects that are "of incalculable cultural, historical, and symbolic value," according to Historic Royal Palaces, a charity that manages historic sites like the Tower of London, where the Crown Jewels are held—the sceptre and orb are two of the most storied and iconic objects associated with the royal family. Both pieces date back to the seventeenth century, and are a major part of the coronation ceremony when a new monarch officially takes the throne. Each has a special meaning connected to the monarch's reign.
The sceptre is meant to represent the crown’s power and governance, and has been used in every coronation since 1661, when it was created for the coronation of King Charles II. It's not quite in its original condition, though—in 1910, when King George V, Queen Elizabeth's grandfather, has the sceptre altered to include the massive, 530.2 carat Cullinan I diamond. The largest cut white diamond in the world, it's part of a set of gems cut from the original 3,106 carat Cullinan diamond unearthed in South Africa in 1905 (the second largest of the stones, the Cullinan II, is set into the Imperial State Crown which also adorns the Queen's coffin.)
The orb is also a significant part of the traditional coronation regalia The golden jeweled ball, surmounted by a gem-encrusted cross is designed as a symbol that the monarch's power is derived from God. Like the sceptre, it was created in 1661.
The last time the regalia was used was in 1953, when the Queen had her coronation. It's expected that many of the pieces, including the sceptre and orb, will make another appearance when her son, King Charles III is officially coronated, though it's not yet clear when that will be.
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