Skip to main contentSkip to footer

The late Queen's advice on wearing 'unwieldy' coronation crown

King Charles will wear the Imperial State Crown at his coronation on 6 May

Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Imperial State Crown in 2007© Getty
Danielle Stacey
Online Royal CorrespondentLondon
April 12, 2023
Share this:

King Charles is set to wear not one, but two crowns on his coronation day on 6 May. Buckingham Palace has shared fascinating details about the ceremonial regalia being used at the service at Westminster, including the 17th century St Edward's Crown, which Charles will be crowned with.

He will switch it for the Imperial State Crown at the end of the ceremony, and while it is lighter in weight, the late Queen Elizabeth II once shared some frank advice about wearing the "unwieldy" jewels.

The Imperial State Crown weighs more than 1kg and is adorned with 2,901 precious stones, including the Cullinan II diamond – making it very heavy! As well as her 1953 coronation, Queen Elizabeth II traditionally wore the headpiece for the State Opening of Parliament.

However, in the latter years of her life, Her Majesty opted to wear the smaller George IV State Diadem for the ceremony instead. See what the Queen had to say about the disadvantages of wearing the Imperial State Crown in the clip below…

Rehearsals for the King's coronation are underway, with a mock Westminster Abbey reportedly being set up at Buckingham Palace.

The Coronation Crowns

St Edward's Crown


Dating back to 1661, this magnificent historical item has been used in the coronation of every British monarch since the coronation of King Charles II. The glittering crown – crafted by crown jeweller Robert Viner – features a dazzling array of rubies, sapphires, rubies, garnets, topazes, amethysts, tourmalines and aquamarines.

The Imperial State Crown

© WPA Pool

One of the most fascinating items in the Crown Jewels. Created in 1937, the regal crown – which is based on earlier crowns dating back to the 17th Century – was designed for the coronation of King George VI. Weighing over 1kg, the golden crown is set with over 3,000 diamonds and a plethora of precious stones including sapphires, emeralds and rubies. Elsewhere, the crown is adorned with symbols that represent the monarchy, such as a cross and a fleur-de-lis.

Queen Mary’s Crown

© Universal History Archive

Made by Garrards for the 1911 coronation and commissioned by Queen Mary, the consort of King George V. This is the first time a Queen Consort’s Crown has been reused since the 18th century. In a bid to pay tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II, the Crown Jeweller has reset the piece for Camilla's coronation with the late monarch's Cullinan III, IV and V diamonds.

NEWS: Princess Kate prepares for very special family celebrations this weekend

And speaking on the latest episode of HELLO!'s A Right Royal Podcast, Majesty Magazine's Editor Joe Little said he believes that Charles has been practising wearing the jewels, just like his late mother. Find out more and listen to the full episode below…

LISTEN: How King Charles is practising for his coronation

Meanwhile, the guest list is filling up fast, with more foreign royals confirming their attendance for the coronation, including Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, and King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain.

Make sure you never miss a royal story! Sign up to The Royal Explainer newsletter to receive your weekly dose of royal features and other exclusive content straight to your inbox.

Sign up to HELLO Daily! for the best royal, celebrity and lifestyle coverage

By entering your details, you are agreeing to HELLO! Magazine User Data Protection Policy. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, please click here.

More Royalty

See more