Queen Elizabeth II insisted on wearing St Edward’s Crown during her coronation so as to go through the same ceremony as her father 17 years before her. But Her Majesty will never be able to don the spectacular jewel again because of the Royal Family dictating the crown is only used to crown a new sovereign, meaning Prince Charles will be the likely next wearer. Discussing footage from the coronation, the narrator of Italian documentary series Ulisse, Luca Ward, noted the Queen relinquished St Edward’s Crown within minutes of her becoming the new sovereign.
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Mr Ward said: “After the coronation, it was time to pay homage to the new sovereign and, among the first to do so, was Duke Philip of Edinburgh, uncovering his head and bowing to his wife.
“Then Elizabeth walked down the aisle with globe, sceptre and crown. But the crown is different.
“Before leaving the abbey, she wore the lightest Imperial State Crown. That of St Edward’s will no longer be used until the next coronation.”
The use of the crown of St Edward’s was reinstated by the Queen’s grandfather, George V, upon his coronation in 1910.
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The jewel had not been used to anoint new British monarchs for over 200 years but had featured on the altar of Westminster Abbey during the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1838.
Her son, Edward VII, had planned to renew the ceremony involving the leading Crown Jewel but was forced to shelve the plans due to the weight of the coronet putting too much pressure on his body as he recovered from an operation for appendicitis.
Queen Elizabeth II however continued the family tradition and dismissed attempts to push her into agreeing to remove parts of the original crown to reduce the weight.
Ulisse narrator Alberto Angela revealed Her Majesty had not wanted to modify the piece so that she would carry the same burden her father had during his own coronation.
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The crown is not used outside of coronations but the jewel remains the centrepiece of the Crown Jewels collection and is normally exhibited alongside parts of the collection at the Tower of London.
Prince Charles is not expected to wear the crown until his coronation but he had the chance to take a closer look when St Edward’s Crown was brought out for a special ceremony marking the Queen’s 60th year on the throne in 2013.
Since then, the jewel has remained at the Tower of London but glimpses of its grandeur can be caught in the many insignias the Royal Family uses on a daily basis.
A stylised version of the crown has been adopted for coats of arms, badges and logos across the Commonwealth to symbolise the Queen’s power.