Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Royal Scepter


Queen Elizabeth II in full regalia, holding the Royal Scepter
Photo Source: Royal Splendor Blog

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

On June 28, 1838, Queen Victoria departed from the altar of Westminster Abbey and entered St. Edward’s Chapel. Shedding the heavy regalia robes, she took her place upon St. Edward’s Chair. In this regal seat, the priest consecrated her as sovereign, anointed her with holy oil, and handed her the royal scepter, the orb, and the ruby coronation ring, the three most prestigious and weighty symbols of office.

After receiving communion at the altar, she was shrouded in the mantle of state (a great robe). She proceeded from the abbey, orb and royal scepter in hand, for the carriage ride back to Buckingham Palace. It is reported that her first task after that five-hour event was to rush upstairs to greet and bathe her dog, Dash.

Now on permanent display at the Tower of London, the Royal Scepter (Scepter with the Cross) was made in 1661, for the coronation of Charles II. Symbolizing the power and justice of the monarch, this exquisite piece was redesigned in 1910, to accommodate the Cullinan I diamond.

Held in the left hand of the monarch during the crowning and procession, the scepter is a three-foot twisted rod fashioned out of gold from which rises the Cullinan I diamond encased in a jeweled gold mounting. Atop this mounting rests a gemstone-encrusted girdle surrounding a faceted amethyst orb upon which rests a diamond-studded cross pattee, displaying a large emerald as a centerpiece. Clasps in the mounting allow the brilliant diamond to be worn by the queen as a brooch.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Wikipedia. "Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom." Last modified May 17, 2012. Accessed May 28, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown_Jewels_of_the_United_Kingdom.
2. Rush, Kim. "The Symbols of Sovereignty: The Objects Held by the Sovereign During a Coronation." UK/Irish History @ Suite 101. Posted July 21, 2009. Accessed May 28, 2012. http://suite101.com/article/the-symbols-of-sovereignty-a133405.
3. Cristina. "The Cullinan I--The Star of Africa Diamond." The Jewelry Blog. Accessed May 28, 2012. http://www.jewelrybloguncovered.com/diamonds/the-cullinan-i-the-star-of-africa-diamond/.
4. The Faded Star of Africa. "The Diamond." Accessed May 28, 2012. http://starafrica.co.za/diamond.htm.

*Victorian clip art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

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