Coronation Crown of George IV
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As the Prince of Wales and as Prince Regent George had been an extravagant figure, with controversial artistic tastes. When he became king George planned an innovation in British coronations. Instead of having separate coronation and state crowns, he decided to have one crown with which he would both be crowned and would use on state occasions such as the State Opening of Parliament.
Alongside a change of crown, he also planned to redesign the crown. Traditionally English and British crowns were decorated with fleurs-de-lis, symbolising the previous claim of English monarchs that they were also King of France. George decided to abandon the fleurs, and replace them with symbols representing Scotland (the thistle), England (the rose) and Ireland (the shamrock). Part of his ungoing use of symbols of each of the kingdoms was to see him wearing a kilt in Scotland and to pay the first visit to Ireland of a reigning monarch since kings James II and William III fought for the crown in Ireland in 1690.
However the plan to remove the fleur-de-lis and introduce the thistle, rose and shamrock, was abandoned after objections from the College of Heralds.
The crown, as finally made, followed closely the standard shape and design of English and British crowns. It contained four half-arches, each joined to the band with a cross pattee into which diamonds were set. The four half-arches met together at a jewelled monde, on top of which a cross sat. Like the State Crown of George I, but unlike St. Edward's Crown, the four half-arches were pulled upright rather than allowed to curve downwards at the monde.
The gold and silver crown frame was designed by Philip Liebart of Rundell, Bridge and Rundel. It contained an innovative design that made the frame almost invisible behind the crown's jewels. 12,314 jewels diamonds were set in the crown.
George IV was determined to have his crown made the official crown of England, in preference to St. Edward's Crown. However two years of pressure on his government failed to ensure that the hired jewels that decorated the crown were bought outright by the state. In 1823 he conceded defeat. The hired jewels were returned and the crown left an empty shell. It was never again worn by him or by any future monarch.
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