May 6, 2023, marked a moment not seen in 86 years: the coronation of a new King of the British monarchy. The event was full of all the historic, extravagant, and symbolic traditions you'd expect from a royal celebration. This includes the "coronation regalia": a mix of blessed and non-religious items that symbolize the responsibilities of the newly crowned King — and the Crown Jewels. And the experts have revealed everything we need to know about these coronation objects of untold value.
Heavy is the head that wears the crown
It's important to note that King Charles' coronation wasn't the same as Queen Elizabeth II's. A lot has changed since the last coronation, so King Charles III was aware of the optics surrounding his ceremony. According to those in the know, he had concerns that an overly ostentatious coronation could negatively impact his reputation. So a few of the usual lavish traditions were cut from the ceremony.
A more “streamlined” coronation for the King
The decision was made, it seems, a month after Elizabeth’s passing. In October 2022 royal editor Russell Myers told ITV, “King Charles apparently wants a very streamlined coronation, potentially to do with the cost-of-living crisis. He’s very aware of the fact that a man prancing around in a jeweled crown is probably not the best look when everybody is struggling to pay their bills at the moment.”
The splendor of Britain on display
Although Charles’ coronation was “streamlined,” some grand royal trademarks, such as the Gold State Carriage, still made an appearance. Meyers spoke on how such embellishments might be received, saying, “Some people are saying that we can show off the splendor of Britain in one of these big majestic occasions. But I don’t know, a big debate I think.” Yet he was right: the public swooned over the Gold State Carriage when it was finally revealed.
The King has the finest jewels
Charles may not have liked the idea of “prancing around in a jeweled crown,” as Myers suggested, but he didn’t actually have a lot of choices when it came to the coronation regalia. There are certain things that just have to be a part of the coronation of a British monarch. Case in point: the St. Edward’s Crown. This 5-lb beauty of a headpiece features 444 gems and is normally housed in the Tower of London.