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Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Crown Jewels

The Crown Jewels are the regalia and vestments worn by the sovereign of the United Kingdom during the coronation ceremony and at other state functions.

The Imperial State Crown of the United Kingdom
The earliest known use of regalia in England dates to between 200 and 150 B.C. Inside the tomb of the "Mill Hill Warrior" was a bronze crown, a sword, a scabbard, a brooch and a ceremonial shield.

King Edward I lived at the Palace of Westminster, but in 1297 he moved the Crown Jewels from Westminster to the Tower of London.

When King Richard II got married in 1380, he had to pawn the Crown Jewels to pay for the wedding.

Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I, pawned the Crown Jewels to raise money for arms during the English Civil War.

When Oliver Cromwell became the Lord Protector of England after the execution of Charles I, he found England to be in a desperate financial state because of the Civil War. To raise funds the 'Act for the sale of the personal estate of the King,Queen and Prince' was put forward. The most valuable of these objects was the Tudor State Crown, the royal crown of gold inlaid with 344 gems worn by monarchs including Henry VIII, Mary I, Elizabeth I and Charles I, valued at £1,100.

Thomas Blood was a parliamentarian during the English Civil War, who was deprived of his estate at the Restoration. On May 9, 1671, with three accomplices he made an infamous attempt to steal the Crown Jewels of England from the Tower of London. Having befriended the jewel keeper, Blood arranged a private viewing, during which time the men made off with the the crown, orb and sceptre. They were pursued and captured; but Blood was pardoned by King Charles II, who took him to court and restored his estate.

Thomas Blood

The Timur ruby, a 361-carat gemstone presented to Queen Victoria in 1851 by the East India Company, has been part of the Crown Jewels since 1853, when it was used to make a necklace.

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