As Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin lies in state at Westminister Hall, it's draped with the Royal Standard, and on top of it sits her Imperial State Crown, which is said to be her favorite of the many crowns and tiaras she owned. How much is the Imperial State Crown worth?
The Imperial State Crown is said to be priceless, but some experts put its value at 3 billion–5 billion pounds, reports Metro. It was made for the queen in 1937 for the coronation of her father, King George VI. She wore the crown at her own coronation in 1953 and every year for the State Opening of Parliament.
About 3,000 jewels adorn the crown, including 2,868 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, and five rubies. The most significant stones crown are:
The Second Star of Africa – A 317-carat Cullinan II diamond is the most valuable jewel in the crown. It was given to Edward VII on his 66th birthday by the government of a former British colony in South Africa. It is said to be cut from the largest diamond ever found, BBC reports.
St. Edward’s Sapphire – Sitting in the center of the cross on top of the crown, it’s said that the sapphire was once in a ring worn for St. Edward the Confessor, the 11th Century King of England.
Black Prince’s Ruby – A 170-carat ruby that is one of the oldest of the Crown Jewels, dating back to the 14th century. The jewel dates back to 1367 when it was given to the Edward of Woodstock, the oldest son of King Edward III, who was known as the “Black Prince.”
The Imperial State Crown was designed to be lighter than traditional crowns.
The Imperial State Crown was designed for the queen to be lighter and smaller, but it still weighs over two pounds. In a 2018 BBC documentary, the Queen called the crown “very unwieldy.”
“Fortunately, my father and I had the same sort of shaped head, but once you put it on, it stays. It just reigns itself,” the Queen told the BBC. “You can’t look down to read the speech. You have to take the speech up. Because if you did, your neck would break. It would fall off. So there are some disadvantages to crowns, but otherwise, they are quite important things.”
The Imperial State Crown now gets passed down to King Charles III. During the king’s coronation, he’ll wear the St. Edwards Crown but then switch to the Imperial State Crown when he leaves Westminster Abbey at the end of the ceremony. He’ll also carry on his mother’s tradition of wearing the crown at the opening of Parliament every year, BBC reports.
How many crowns did Queen Elizabeth have?
Queen Elizabeth II had two other main crowns that she would wear at ceremonies and a number of tiaras. St. Edward’s Crown is a less-bejeweled gold crown that U.K. monarchs only wear during their coronation. When it isn't in use, the crown is on display at the Tower of London.
The George IV State Diadem is the crown the queen wore in many portraits of her banknotes and stamps. Decorated with 1,333 diamonds, the crown is often worn in processions to coronations and the opening of Parliament.