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Queen had second crown she only wore once and is still locked in Tower of London

Around 750,000 people are estimated to have witnessed in person the poignant sight of the Imperial State Crown sat atop the Queen's coffin while she was lying in state at Westminster Hall.

Worn annually at the State Opening of Parliament by the head of the Royal Family during her 70-year reign until 2019, when a version lighter than the 2.3lb (1.06kg) crown replaced it after she commented on its weight, its 3,000 gemstones set on regal purple velvet have become dazzlingly familiar.

But, less known to many, the Queen wore a different crown on her 1953 coronation and, other than an appearance on the high altar at Westminster Abbey for the 60th anniversary of the sovereign's reign, it has been locked up in the Tower of London ever since.

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That crown, named St Edward's Crown, is regarded as the centrepiece of the Tower's Crown Jewels.

Named after Edward the Confessor, who ruled as King from 1042 to 1066, the first version of the crown was used at the coronations of sovereigns from the 13th century to 1649 when it was either sold or melted down after Parliament abolished the monarchy in 1649 during the English Civil War.

After the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, the current St Edward's Crown – similar in appearance and weight to the original – was made for Charles II a year later.

Made of 22-carat gold, the crown is 30cm (12in) tall, weighs 4.9lb (2.23kg), and is decorated with 444 precious and semi-precious stones, including 345 rose-cut aquamarines, 37 white topazes, 27 tourmalines, 12 rubies, seven amethysts, six sapphires, two jargoons, one garnet, one spinel and one carbuncle.

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As of 2019, the value of the jewels and gold used in the making of St Edward's Crown was estimated to be more than £3.6million.

The crown, which also features in the Royal Mail's logo, was used at the coronations of Charles II (1661), James II (1685) and William III (1689), before the tradition was revived in 1911 by George V and went on to grace the heads of George VI (1937) and Elizabeth II.

You can leave your tributes to Queen Elizabeth II here.


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