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King Charles III’s Coronation Crown Is Getting An Update

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Exactly 70 years after his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, was coronated at just 27 years old, King Charles III will be crowned alongside his wife, Camilla, the queen consort.

Set for May 6 at Westminster Abbey, the ceremony will be “rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry,” yet “reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future,” according to a statement released by Buckingham Palace.

While it’s unclear what exactly will stray from the traditional precedence of coronations past, one minor detail is sure to be different: the crown itself. In a different statement, Buckingham Palace confirmed that St. Edward’s crown (the 17th-century crown historically used at the moment of coronation, while the Imperial State crown is worn when the monarch departs the ceremony) was discreetly removed from the Tower of London to an undisclosed location for the first time in about 60 years. The reason? “To allow for modification work.”

Created in solid gold with sapphires, rubies, amethysts, topaz, garnets, tourmaline, a velvet cap, an ermine band, “It was made for Charles II in 1661, as a replacement for the medieval crown, which had been melted down in 1649,” according to the palace. “The original was thought to date back to the eleventh-century royal saint Edward the Confessor—the last Anglo-Saxon king of England.”

The modification work will likely follow the original, medieval design closely—but we’ll just have to wait until May to find out. And while the coronation isn’t necessarily required for King Charles to assume his role (he automatically became king the moment his mother passed in 2022), it formalizes the process through a symbolic ceremony. And, hey, it gives us mere private citizens a moment (truly a moment—King Charles will wear it for about a minute) to admire the crown performing its duty to the fullest for the next however-many years.

Photo courtesy of Buckingham Palace

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By: Annie Davidson

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