Crown of Charles, Prince of Wales

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Crown of Charles, Prince of Wales
The Crown of Charles, Prince of Wales was the crown used by Charles, Prince of Wales at his investiture as Prince of Wales in 1969. Though technically the Prince of Wales crown is a coronet, official state publications usually use the word crown to describe it.


[edit] Background

When the former King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom went into exile as the Duke of Windsor in 1936, he took with him the Crown of George, Prince of Wales, a highly controversial -- and illegal -- act. This coronet had, since 1902, been used by successive Princes of Wales at their investitures, including his own investiture of 1911.

King Edward VIII
When he abdicated in 1936 he illegally brought his Prince of Wales crown into exile with him.

The 1911 coronet, as part of the British Crown Jewels was protected under British law, which forbids removal of the Crown Jewels from the United Kingdom under any circumstances. Even seemingly legitimate uses of the Crown Jewels outside of the United Kingdom were precluded because of this law. For example, a new crown -- Imperial Crown of India -- had to be manufactured for King George V to wear as Emperor of India at the Delhi Durbar because the Imperial State Crown, which he might normally have worn, could not be removed from the UK.

However it was judged impractical to charge the ex-king with in effect stealing part of the crown jewels. The crown was only returned to Britain following his death in 1972 and is now part of the Honours of the Principality of Wales on display in the principality.

[edit] Creation of the new crown

The traditional crown being unavailable, and with the Crown of Frederick, Prince of Wales being viewed unusable due to age, the only option was the creation of a new Prince of Wales crown to be used for the investiture of the current Heir Apparent to the throne as Prince of Wales. (Charles had actually been created Prince of Wales in 1958 when he was 10 years old but was not formally invested with it, even though he was fully the holder of the title until a couple of months short of his 21st birthday.)

[edit] Design

The new princely crown followed regulation laid down by King Charles II in having just two half arches, or more correctly one full arch, rather than the traditional four half-arches of British crowns. In the centre of the single arch a globe is attached, over which a cross stands. Within the frame, which is made of gold, is a velvet cap lined with ermine fur.

The frame itself, though based on traditional design, has a futurist look that was popular in 1960s design. It was produced by a committee under Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon, then husband of Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon. Snowdon later revealed that some non-traditional methods were used in the design, with the size of the golden globe on the arches based on the size of a golfball.

The Prince of Wales's investiture occurred at Caernarfon Castle in Wales on July 1 1969.

[edit] Usage

The coronets or crowns of Princes of Wales are rarely used. It is unknown if the Crown of Frederick, Prince of Wales was ever actually worn by Frederick, Prince of Wales and the Crown of George, Prince of Wales was only worn rarely by George, Prince of Wales, later King George V, and Edward, Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII and then the Duke of Windsor. The current Prince of Wales has not worn his coronet since his investiture, though he could at any stage opt to do so.

The crown was given on loan to the National Museum and Gallery of Wales by Queen Elizabeth II in 1974.

[edit] Princess of Wales

While Queens consort wear a crown alongside the King, the wife of the Prince of Wales does not do so. So neither the late Diana Spencer, first wife of the current Prince of Wales, nor the current Princess of Wales, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, possessed crowns.[1]

A princess who is the Heiress Presumptive to the British throne when there is no Heir Apparent, is not created Princess of Wales and so does not wear any of the Honours of the Principality of Wales.[2] It is however open to the monarch to grant an heiress presumptive a right to wear a coronet.

[edit] Future usage

Since 1831, successive Queens consort of the United Kingdom have each had a new consort crown created for them. In contrast, only three Prince of Wales crowns exist. The 1911 crown was worn by two Princes of Wales, and could have been worn by more had the last holder of the time to that point not illegally removed the crown from Britain and kept it among his private possessions.

It is unclear whether the current Wales crown will be worn by the scheduled next Prince of Wales, Prince William of Wales when he assumes the title after his father, the current prince, becomes king. He could also revert to using the Crown of George, Prince of Wales, given that its relative youth (less than a century) and rare usage means that it is still suitable to be worn. Alternatively it could be decided to create new Wales crown for him.

[edit] Footnote

  1.   Prior to her marriage both Clarence House and the Lord Chancellor confirmed that Camilla would automatically and legally be Princess of Wales, but had chosen to be referred to as Duchess of Cornwall.
  2. The only exception, where an heiress presumptive was created Princess of Wales (ie, meaning the female equivalent to the Prince of Wales, not wife of the Prince of Wales), occurred in 1525 when King Henry VIII created his only surviving child to that point, Mary Tudor Princess of Wales. There is no record of there being a Prince of Wales crown in existence at that time so it is unknown of Mary as Princess of Wales wore anything from the regalia to symbolise her status.[citation needed]

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English, Scottish & British Crowns (by chronology)

Crown of Scotland | St. Edward's Crown | Crown of Mary of Modena | State Crown of George I | Crown of Frederick, Prince of Wales | Coronation Crown of George IV | Crown of Queen Adelaide | Imperial State Crown | Small diamond crown of Queen Victoria | Crown of Queen Alexandra | Crown of George, Prince of Wales | Crown of Queen Mary | Imperial Crown of India | Crown of Queen Elizabeth | Crown of Charles, Prince of Wales

See also: Coronation | Crown Jewels | Heir Apparent | Heir Presumptive | King | Monarchy | Queen | Regalia | Royal Family

Crown of Charles, Prince of Wales

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