Honours of Scotland

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The Honours of Scotland, also known as the Scottish regalia and the Scottish crown jewels, dating from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, are the oldest set of Crown Jewels in the British Isles. They were used in the coronations of Scottish monarchs until and including Charles II in 1651. They have not since been used.

There are three primary elements of the Honours of Scotland: the Crown, the Sceptre, and the Sword of State.


[edit] The Crown of Scotland

The Honours of Scotland

The Crown of Scotland in its present form dates from 1540 when James V ordered the Edinburgh goldsmith John Mosman to refashion the original crown. James wore it to his consort's coronation in the same year at the abbey church of Holyrood. The circlet at the base is made from Scottish gold, encrusted with 22 gemstones and 20 precious stones taken from the previous crown. Freshwater pearls from Scotland's rivers were also used. The crown weighs 3 lb 10 oz (1644 g).

The four golden arches of the Crown are ornamented with gold and red enamelled oak leaves, apparently of French workmanship. At the point where the arches meet there rests an orb of gold which is enamelled in blue and ornamented with gilt stars. This is surmounted by a large cross decorated in gold and black enamel with an amethyst in rectangular form in the center. The upper and two side extremities of the cross are adorned with pearls.

[edit] The Sceptre of Scotland

The Sceptre of Scotland was a gift from Pope Alexander VI to King James IV in 1494. It was remodelled and lengthened in 1536. It is made of silver gilt, and is topped by a globe of crystal and a Scottish pearl. The Sceptre includes several Christian symbols. Stylised dolphins, symbols of the Church, appear on the head of the rod, as do images of the Virgin Mary holding a baby Christ, of Saint James the Great, and of Saint Andrew holding a saltire.

[edit] The Sword of State of Scotland

The Sword of State of Scotland was also a papal gift; Pope Julius II presented it to James IV in 1507. The blade includes figures of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, as well as the etched name of Julius II. The silver gilt handle bears figures of oak leaves and acorns.

[edit] Historical Background and Current Location

After being used at the coronations of Mary I, James VI, and Charles I, the regalia were last used in 1651 for Charles II's coronation. In England, Charles I had been executed, and the monarchy overthrown. Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland, ordered almost all of the English regalia to be broken. However, the Honours of Scotland were hidden, first in Dunnottar Castle, then buried under the floor of Kinneff Church, and recovered only after the monarchy was restored. After the Restoration, the Honours were not used to crown any future Scottish sovereign.[1]

Until the Act of Union 1707, which united England and Scotland in the Kingdom of Great Britain, the Honours of Scotland were taken to sittings of the Parliament of Scotland in Edinburgh to represent the monarch, who now resided in London. After the Act of Union, Parliament sat in London, and the Honours of Scotland were placed in a chest at the Crown Room in Edinburgh Castle. They remained locked away or hidden until 1819, when they were put on public display.

In 1941, the Honours were hidden due to fears that they might be lost in a German attack during World War II. They were taken out in 1953 to be presented to Queen Elizabeth II, and were then returned to be displayed in the Crown Room at Edinburgh Castle.

When the Stone of Scone was returned to Scotland in 1996 it too was placed in the Crown Room, alongside the Honours.

In October 2004 the new Scottish Parliament Building was opened by Queen Elizabeth II and the Honours of Scotland were present.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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Honours of Scotland

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