What are the ”regalia”?

By Christos Zampounis 

The following Saturday, during Charles III’s Coronation, the famous “regalia” of the British monarchy will make their appearance. The word is Latin and has its origin in rex, king. It is a series of emblems that symbolize the power and, sometimes, the sanctity of the institution. But let us focus on the ceremony on 6 May, which will take place at Westminster Abbey. The central role will, of course, be played by the two Crowns, the St Edward’s Crown of 1661, weighing 2.3 kg, a copy of the original, which was destroyed during the English Civil War (1642-1651). It was at this time that Charles I was executed. The second Crown, The Imperial State Crown, will replace the previous one, and this will be carried by the new monarch on his return to Buckingham Palace. The Scepters also, one with the Cross and the other with the Dove, will be held by the new King and Queen. This will be preceded by the Anointing of the Gold Ampulla, an all-gold vessel in the form of an eagle with its wings open. In this way, the head of the Anglican Church will ratify the merciful dimension of the Institution.

The Sovereign’s Orb, The Sovereign’s Orb, symbolizes the Christian world and has its roots in Constantinople and its founder, Emperor Constantine. Other regalia will be used in the six stages of the ceremony: the silver gilt spoon of the Crown, the only one to survive the destructive fury of the anti-monarchists, three swords, of the World, of Spiritual Justice and of Mercy, and the Golden Spurs of Richard the Lionheart, the famous armills, the royal bracelets, the monarch’s ring and two… clubs will be displayed. It would be redundant to note that all the regalia are decorated with precious stones, sapphires, emeralds, rubies, pearls and diamonds. They are on public display in the Tower of London, with a pricey £40 ticket, but the exhibits, some 100 regalia – or crown jewels – are considered unique in the world. Because of their historical origins, estimates put their value at between £3 billion and £5 billion.

P.S. To give an order of magnitude, the Imperial State Crown is decorated with 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and 4 rubies, while the Scepter with the Cross contains the largest diamond on the planet, 530.2 carats.