THE CROWN JEWELS’ NEW SPARKLE: Today the Tower of London will unveil a new display of the British monarchy’s Crown Jewels, to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.
The new display, which is supported by the De Beers family of companies, gives visitors to the tower’s Jewel House the sense of being immersed in a coronation ceremony. To set the scene for the jewels, the exhibition features a soundtrack of Handel’s coronation anthems and restored footage of the Queen’s 1953 coronation. The displays themselves examine how the jewels are used during a coronation ceremony.
Highlights of the exhibition include the 105.6 carat Koh-i-Nûr diamond, which is set in a platinum crown that belonged to the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. The stone was originally presented to Queen Victoria in 1849, when it was described as worth “half the daily expense of the whole world.” Also on display is the Imperial State Crown, at the center of which is the 317.4 carat Cullinan II Diamond. The crown is worn for the annual State Opening of Parliament and glitters magnificently in the exhibition’s enhanced lighting.
Michael Day, chief executive of Historic Royal Palaces said: “This new display…gives [the Crown Jewels] a home fit for the 21st Century. With all eyes on London in 2012 for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games, this display will enable us to showcase Britain’s most prized treasures in all their glory.”