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A stunning new display unveiled on 29 March 2012
To celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen in 2012, a spectacular new display of the Crown Jewels has been created at the Tower of London. An introductory exhibition with graphics, music and film footage aims to convey the importance of the collection to the British Monarchy. Displays examine the symbolism and use of the regalia whilst the visitor takes part in a visual ‘procession through history’, toward the Coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey with the Crown Jewels at the heart of the exhibition.
The coronation ceremony in England dates to the 8th century and for the last 900 years has taken place at Westminster Abbey. The Crown Jewels mostly date from 1661 when Charles II was crowned; earlier regalia was melted down or destroyed or disposed of by Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentary Commissioners after the beheading of King Charles I. The oldest piece in the collection is an 12th-century silver gilt spoon, which escaped melt down during the Commonwealth era. Perhaps the most fascinating piece is Queen Victoria’s Small Diamond Crown, only 9.4cm (3.7in) in height; weighing 145g (just over five ounces). After the death of her husband Prince Albert in 1861, Queen Victoria wore the crown on top of her widow’s veil, in place of the Imperial State Crown.
Cassone's royal correspondent for this Jubilee Year, Rosalind Ormiston, supplied the above taster for her longer article - see our April issue.