Why the Tower of London is Important to the Crown Jewels

tower-of-london
The Tower of London complex is an enclosed town in itself. No standing water exists here. There is no moat. The only way to get in, is through the gate at the front.  There are Tower Guards that make rounds throughout the complex.  These guards that roam the grounds are called Beefeaters. They make rounds throughout the complex. Every single street, path and avenue, is guarded, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.

They are guarding the Tower of London, because this where the British Crown Jewels are housed.  At the center of the Crown Jewels display are objects related to the coronations of the Kings and Queens of England, which are called the Regalia. These are the crowns of Sovereigns, Consorts and Princes, old and new. Sceptres, orbs, rings, swords, spurs, bracelets and robes, which all play a role in the ritual of English coronation, are also displayed at the Tower of London. Most of the items are in use even today, and that distinguishes English Regalia from the rest of other Regalia in Europe.

The oldest item is the gold Anointing Spoon from the twelfth century, which was used to anoint Sovereigns with substances. Apart from three steel coronation swords, it is the only item which survived being destroyed in the Civil War Regalia in Sixteen forty nine. The destruction was declared by Oliver Cromwell, following King Charles I’s 1649 death by guillotine. The golden pieces, including Regalia, which dates back to Edward the Confessor’s time in the eleventh century, were sent to be melted down, and precious stones removed and auctioned off. Cromwell made it imperative that prominent symbols of monarchy must be ultimately destroyed.

A prestigious crown, is known as the Imperial State Crown, was re-created for King George VI’s coronation in 1937 and contains over three thousand gemstones. These stones were included from the past Imperial Crown, which was recreated on numerous occasions since the seventeenth century, and recently for Queen Victoria in 1838. The head piece includes several famous stones, and the diamond called the Second Star of Africa, the Black Prince’s Ruby, the Stuart Sapphire, St Edward’s Sapphire and Queen Elizabeth’s Pearls. The Sovereign traditionally wear the Crown of the Imperial State at the end of the coronation service, when they leaving Westminster Abbey. This crown is also worn when parliament begins its State Opening, and then places back into a luxury safe, in which is kept locked and hidden from the public.

The Tower of London is both a place for tourists to visit, as well as a repository for some very important parts of the British Monarchy.

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