New Jewels Keeper Appointed by Queen Elizabeth
Today, February 10th, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth appointed the 159th Constable of the Tower of London and thus the new Keeper of the Crown Jewels. The lucky man is Sir Richard Dannatt, and he is an Army General. The formal ceremony will take place later this year.
The position itself dates back to 1207, and the Keeper was actually responsible for much more than the jewels–but in 1485 the roles and responsibilities were officially seperated; actually, the Jewel House itself came into being in the 1370’s.
That being said, it is indeed an honor to be chosen to be responsible for these historical emblems of the British Monarchy. I, as many of you are no doubt aware, have a long-standing love affair with British Jewels of the Monarchy and the Nobility. I, in particular, love several pieces of the Crown Collection.
St. Edward’s Crown, of course, is loved by Monarchists and “Joolies” alike; crafted in 1661, it is said to be cast of gold from King Alfred’s crown. King Alfred was King of the West Saxons from 871 to 899. I would love to write more about him (he is of particular interest to me) I simply do not have the time in this blog!
The Imperial State Crown (pictured above), made for King George VI, holds several significant jewels- the Black Prince’s Ruby, Cullinan II, and pearls once worn by Elizabeth I.
The George IV State Diadem–easily my favorite of the three; it is delicate, intricate, and beautiful. The Queen looks resplendent when wearing it, either as the young Queen in the fifties or the seasoned Queen of now. Queens Mary and Alexandra looked spectactular in it as well–it is a beautiful piece. In fact, it is the most well known of the Crown Jewels Collection because the Queen wears it to Parliament each year and it is on the postage stamps. I could go into extrordinary detail desribing it, but I suspect anyone reading this already knows what it looks like!
Of course, also contained in the Collection are the Queen Consorts’ Crowns, although they have been generally stripped of their jewels (to be used in other pieces). Queen Mary’s now holds crystal stones. Queen Alexandra’s stones were also replaced with paste stones. Although, I do believe Alexandra’ s crown is not in the Tower of London—I think it may be at the Army Museum.
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s crown is displayed with the Crown Jewels–it is the first crown to be crafted of platinum for a British Monarch or Consort, and it is lovely. We last saw it displayed on her coffin in 2002.
Mary of Modena’s, Queen Consort of James II, coronation crown no longer exists, but the State Crown and Diadem are with the Royal Jewels.
Of course, there are many, many, many other pieces in the Crown Jewels collection, but there is so much information that I think that is best served for an actual article on the subject. For now, I have kept it simple. I would love to have added more additional information about the history of crowns–perhaps later.Filed under The United Kingdom
Tagged Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Jewellery.