The Crown Jewels are one of the most popular attractions in London, with over 30 million visitors to date. Beautiful, regal and captivating, they’re more than just a pretty collection of ornaments and have an incredible history behind them.
If you’re planning a visit to London soon, embrace a little of the regal spirit with a Montcalm luxury hotel London before booking yourself a visit to the Tower of London, where the Jewels are kept. Before you do though, read on to find out more about their fascinating story.
They are the real thing
One of the most common questions asked by visitors to the Tower of London is if the jewels on display truly are the real thing. It might seem hard to believe, given that the total value of the Jewels is around £5 billion, but the items you see when visiting are indeed genuine.
With so many visitors every day, the Jewels are kept under tight security. As well as being in a secure presentation space, there is also an armed guard present. Despite being under such intense security, visitors can still get a close look from the moving walkway.
If you’re planning to visit, it’s best to book tickets for the Tower of London ahead of time. Ideally, it’s a good idea to go early in the morning when the Tower is least busy, so check out good value hotel packages London where you can enjoy a restful night, before heading out in the morning.
There’s more to them than just the Crown
Visitors often assume that the Crown Jewels consist only of the Imperial Crown, worn by Queen Elizabeth during important events. In fact, the full collection of Crown Jewels includes a variety of extravagant and valuable ornaments and pieces of jewellery.
The full set of Crown Jewels comprises of the Imperial State Crown, which is undoubtedly one of the most important, and well-recognised symbols of the Royal Family. Alongside this, you’ll also see the Sovereign’s Sceptre and Rod, a long, gold and jewel-encrusted item used during royal coronations to symbolise the new monarch’s place at the head of the country. There’s also the Sovereign’s Orb – a golden orb, mounted with a cross, representing the role of Christianity, and a jewel-laden sword, which is worn by kings. There are also additional smaller items, including ceremonial spurs and bracelets.
If the thought of all this gold has you wishing for a little more luxury in your own life, treat yourself to a wonderful stay at the Montcalm Hotel where you can enjoy a little extra decadence of your own.
The original Crown Jewels were melted down
The ritual crowning the new monarch has long been a part of the Royal Family’s history, and ever since 1066, almost every new King or Queen of England would have experienced the splendour of the ceremony in Westminster Abbey. Over the centuries, the Crown Jewels came to include rare and precious items from across different eras, from Henry VII’s state crown to Medieval and Anglo-Saxon treasures.
Sadly, only one item remains in the present-day Crown Jewels – a golden Ampulla and coronation spoon, as all of the other pieces were sold off or melted down for coinage after the English Civil War. Despite this, a number of historic jewels were recovered and were integrated into the new collection after the restoration of the monarchy.
It’s worth visiting all of the items in the Crown Jewels collection, as well as spending a little time to explore the fascinating history of the monarch over the centuries. With fantastic hotel packages on offer, book in a city break to allow plenty of time to soak it all in.
The Jewels contain some of the biggest and best diamonds in the world
There are all kinds of rumours and myths about the Crown Jewels, but one key fact is that they contain some of the world’s most famous diamonds, including the Cullinan and the Koh-i-Noor.
The Cullinan was found in South Africa in 1905, with an original weight of 3106 ct. the uncut diamond was presented to King Edward VII on his 66th birthday, but due to the mammoth size of the raw stone, it would be some months before it was ready to be cut. Eventually, the Cullinan was cleaved into nine major pieces, as well as several offcuts, with the major diamonds set into the Royal Collection.
The Koh-i-Noor can be seen at the front of the Queen Mother’s Crown and dates back to Indian royalty in the 13th century. It originally weighed an impressive 186 ct, before being cut to 106 ct for Queen Victoria. Shrouded in myth, it’s said to curse any man that wears it while bringing good luck to female wearers.
One of the Jewels once belonged to a saint
Many of the pieces in the Crown Jewels have a long and fascinating story behind them, especially St Edward’s Sapphire. The oldest of all the gemstones in the Jewels, the sapphire once formed part of Edward the Confessor’s coronation ring in 1042, and the deeply pious king was later declared a saint, decades after his death, after many claimed he had performed healing miracles, both in life and death.
The sapphire was later removed from his tomb, and set into a crown for Henry I. The stunning blue stone can now be seen adorning St Edward’s crown, a magnificent golden crown weighing nearly 5 lbs, set with 444 gemstones. Immensely heavy, the crown is only ever used at the moment of crowning itself, so it is rarely glimpsed outside of its keeping place in the Tower of London.
To appreciate the full story behind the Crown Jewels, it’s best to experience them in person. Book a sumptuous stay in the Montcalm luxury hotel London while you plan your visit, to get you in the perfect frame of mind to enjoy some of the country’s finest treasures.