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Coronations Since 1760

Coronations Since 1760

Published by Charlotte Gatward on 4th May 2023

Having been established in Hitchin since 1760, we’ve certainly seen our fair share of coronations take place at Gatwards – 8 to be precise! Each time, the building has been adorned with union jack bunting and our large union jack flag draped from the upstairs windows – all of which will of course be visible on Saturday too.

Gatwards windows

9th Coronation

The coronation of King Charles III will therefore be the 9th coronation since Gatwards of Hitchin opened its doors for business. The Royal Watchers among you will also know that it would have been 10 but for the abdication of Edward VIII in 1936.

Whilst Gatwards started out in 1760 as watch and clockmakers, the emphasis has moved firmly over to fine jewellery since ladies have been at the helm in the 7th and 8th generations and we know for certain that there won’t be any shortage of fine jewels on display at the coronation of King Charles this weekend.

Gatwards during a coronation

"More than a Moment"

The coronation is a ceremony steeped in tradition and jewellery is often used to commemorate momentous times in our lives. Our strapline, “More than a Moment” really encapsulates this – that an item of jewellery represents so much more than just the moment it was presented. Lots of precious items of jewellery are worn and treasured for many lifetimes and the crown jewels which will be the focal point of Saturday’s ceremony are no exception!

The "St Edward's Crown"

When King Charles is crowned, he will wear the St Edward’s crown. Originally created for the coronation of King Charles II in 1661, it is made from solid gold and set with an incredible 444 gemstones. Those gemstones are made up from beautiful red rubies, deep red garnets, blue sapphires and tourmalines in various hues.

St Edward's Crown

The Coronation Ring

On the fourth finger of his right hand, Charles will wear the Coronation Ring. This ring has been worn by the monarch for nearly 2 centuries and will symbolise his religious commitment to the church of England and to the throne. It is made up of a sapphire with baguette cut rubies in a cross across the face. The rubies represent the cross of St George for England and the blue sapphires, the Scottish flag.

The Queen Consort Ring

Of course we must not forget the Queen Consort, Charles’s wife Camilla who will also be crowned that day. She will be wearing symbolic jewellery too. In 1831, King William IV also commissioned a Queen’s consort ring for his wife Adelaide, with a pinkish ruby and diamonds. Queen Elizabeth’s Mother wore this ring at King George VI’s coronation, and it is highly likely Camilla will wear the same ring during the ceremony as it symbolises being “wedded” to the people.

The Sceptre

During the ceremony, the Archbishop of Canterbury will present King Charles with the Sovereign’s Sceptre with cross. This has been used at every coronation since Charles II’s in 1661. It was transformed in 1910 for George V by the addition of the spectacular Cullinan I diamond. Discovered in South Africa in 1905, at a whopping 530.2 carats, it is the largest colourless cut diamond in the world.

The Orb

Made of gold, the orb features 365 diamonds and is set with pearls, rubies, sapphires, emeralds and one large amethyst. During the ceremony, it’s placed in the right hand of the monarch, before being placed on the altar. An expression of the monarch’s authority, the tradition of a monarch receiving the orb dates back to Roman times.

Camilla's Crown

Rather than commission a new crown, Camilla is re-purposing an existing crown for her coronation – the crown of Queen Mary which was made in 1911. The crown has been reset with the 94.4-carat Cullinan III diamond, the 63.6-carat Cullinan IV diamond, and the 18.8 heart-shaped Cullinan V diamond all as a tribute to her late mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth. These diamonds were all worn by the late Queen as brooches. This is a wonderful example of how jewellery can be repurposed and re-worn generation after generation.

Royal Jewellery on the Day

We will of course be looking out for the jewellery worn by all of the royals as many of the piece will hold emotional significance. There will certainly be tributes to those who have passed – such as Diana and Queen Elizabeth as well as classic, timeless pieces. Look out on our social media feeds for our commentary on the pieces worn on the day! 

For more information on re-purposing jewellery or jewellery heirloom pieces - please get in touch on info@gatwardsofhitchin.co.uk