The Sparkling Crown Sitting Upon The Queen's Coffin Was Rarely Worn By The Monarch

Sep 19, 2022 by apost team

Queen Elizabeth II's funeral had drawn millions of mourners across different parts of the globe, with thousands lining up at Westminster Hall to catch a final glimpse of her and pay their respects one last time. While her death marked the end of an era for a well-loved monarch, Queen Elizabeth will forever be remembered for her service as well as her relationship with her late husband, Prince Philip, who stood by her side through thick and thin. 

Throughout their more than seven decades of marriage and longer as friends, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip shared many milestones together. As royals and public figures, many of these special moments have been captured in photographs and on film so generations after could enjoy and learn more about them. 

These include personal moments such as their wedding, the birth of their children, and family life, as well as their appearances at events in which they undertook their royal duties, many of which they did together.

The enduring love between Elizabeth and Philip will always be one for the ages. Their love budded when they were very young, and unlike other royal marriages that are often arranged, Elizabeth and Philip married for love. After doing so, they have remained each other's steadfast companions and have supported one another through devastating times. 

While Elizabeth had the responsibility of becoming a queen thrust upon her early on, Philip had to make compromises and sacrifices to support the new queen. Through his actions and devotion to his wife, Philip became the perfect example of a royal consort and will remain an inspiration for decades to come. 

Queen Elizabeth ll (2006), (Pool/Anwar Hussein Collection/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip celebrated 73 years of marriage together, officially making theirs the longest royal marriage on record. Always by each other's side, the couple endured a lot in their more than seven-decades-long relationship, which began not long after meeting each other for the first time. 

As Prince Philip was not a monarch, he wasn't given a state funeral but a royal ceremonial funeral instead. Due to the pandemic restrictions, the funeral was very small — only 30 people were allowed to attend. Many royal family members were a part of the funeral, including Prince Harry, who arrived from the United States, where he lives with Meghan Markle.

At the time, Express reported that the royal family arranged for the funeral to be held at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, where Philip's coffin remained until the day the queen died. The Duke of Edinburgh was buried alongside his wife of 73 years. Following Elizabeth's passing, official arrangements have been made to ensure they are buried together. 

However, the queen's body first lay in state at Westminster Hall, where members of the public paid their respects. Then she was buried at the King George VI memorial chapel, which is the resting place of her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, and her sister, Princess Margaret. Philip was also interred, joining Elizabeth at the memorial chapel. 

When Queen Elizabeth II lay in state at Westminster Hall, her closed coffin was adorned with various items from the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom or some of the most important ceremonial objects used in the British monarchy.

Imperial Crown of India (1919), (GraphicaArtis/Getty Images)

These items are so important that they had to be kept in a historic castle called the Tower of London. Perhaps one of the most striking items — which sat atop the queen's coffin — is the Imperial State Crown.

The late Queen Elizabeth II had worn many crowns throughout her reign as monarch. But perhaps the most majestic crown she had ever worn was the Imperial State Crown. It has been in existence — although in various forms — since the 15th century and had been worn by other monarchs before Queen Elizabeth II. 

Around the late 1600s, Charles II wore a new version of the crown made by Sir Robert Vyner to coincide with the restoration of the monarchy at that time. It has around ten versions made since then. The one, Her Majesty, used during her reign, though, was made for her father, George VI, in 1937, through luxury jeweler Garrard & Co. and inspired by the one Queen Victoria used in 1838. In 1953, the head size of the crown was adjusted to fit Queen Elizabeth II. 

But the crown is so special it has 2,901 precious stones, with Cullinan II diamond, St Edward's Sapphire, the Stuart Sapphire, and the Black Prince's Ruby among the notable stones embedded in it. The main materials used for the frame of the current version are gold, silver, and platinum. Meanwhile, the cap is made of velvet trimmed with ermine.

The crown is worn at the monarch's coronation, usually upon leaving Westminster Abbey, as well as at important events such as the State Openings of Parliament

Imperial State Crown (1919), (GraphicaArtis/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II, though, decided not to wear it in most of these instances and was carried beside her instead due to it reportedly being heavy. It weighs 1.06 kg (2.3 lb). 

An expert on the Crown Jewels named Alastair Bruce, in a 2018 BBC documentary, shared a conversation with the late monarch. "It's difficult to always remember that diamonds are stones and so they're very heavy," Bruce said. To which the queen responded with:

"Yes, fortunately, my father and I have about the same sort of shaped head. But once you put it on it stays. I mean it just remains on."

The queen revealed her speeches were adjusted facing up so she would not need to look down. Otherwise, she would have never been able to read any of them before. 

"You can't look down to read the speech, you have to take the speech up. Because if you did, your neck would break — it would fall off. So there are some disadvantages to crowns, but otherwise, they're quite important things," the queen said. 

Then again, the Imperial State Crown will remain arguably one of the most striking pieces that will forever be associated with the queen — and that says a lot, too, about the queen, whose memory will forever live on in the minds and hearts of her fans. Indeed, the crown represents the queen in all its glory. While it appears regal like the queen herself, it also represents Her Majesty's timeless image that will transcend the generations to come. 

Imperial State Crown (2008), (Anwar Hussein/WireImage)

Do you also find the Imperial State Crown majestic? What's your favorite part about it? Let us know your thoughts, and pass this on to anyone whom you think would love to know more about the crown and its history! 

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