The Tower of London is set to transform its Jewel House with a fascinating display which explores more stories than ever before about the history and significance of the Crown Jewels.
The Tower of London has been home to the Crown Jewels for nearly 400 years and the new display will open its doors on 26th May, just a few weeks after the world has witnessed the coronation of King Charles III.
The exhibition, leading towards the Treasury where most of the Crown Jewels are kept, will explore the origins of some of the objects for the first time, including the destruction of the original jewels under Oliver Cromwell. The display aims to evoke the spectacle and pageantry of the coronation procession and service.
The Crown Jewels, part of the Royal Collection, are powerful symbols of the British Monarchy and hold deep religious, historic, and cultural significance. The new display will be the first major change to the Jewel House at the Tower of London for over a decade.
Andrew Jackson, resident governor of the Tower of London and keeper of the Jewel House, said: “We are delighted to unveil our new Jewel House display, offering visitors a richer understanding of this magnificent collection.
“As the home of the Crown Jewels, we are delighted that the Tower of London will continue to play its part during this historic coronation year. We look forward to expanding the stories we are telling about the Crown Jewels, and to showcasing this remarkable collection for millions of visitors from around the world to enjoy.”
Groups visiting the Tower of London, which is cared for by the independent charity Historic Royal Palaces, can benefit from discounted rates, as well as pre-bookable private guided tours and catering packages.
What to expect
It will start with a celebration of the timelessness of monarchy, displaying the State Crown frames worn by past monarchs George I, George IV, and Queen Victoria and explaining how many of the most historic jewels – including the ‘Black Prince’s Ruby’ - have passed from crown to crown.
The exhibition will then explore the origins of the current Crown Jewels, starting with the destruction of the medieval Coronation Regalia in 1649, during the English Civil War.
A Commonwealth coin from the era on loan from the British Museum will go on display, demonstrating how the melted gold once worn by medieval monarchs was re-used in the interregnum.
The Coronation Regalia we see today was recreated for the coronation of King Charles II: only the Coronation Spoon survives as a relic of the earlier medieval collection.
The history of the Koh-i-Noor, which is set within the Crown of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, will be explored. A combination of objects and visual projections will explain the stone’s story as a symbol of conquest, with many previous owners, including Mughal Emperors, Shahs of Iran, Emirs of Afghanistan, and Sikh Maharajas.
At the heart of the new display will be a room dedicated to the spectacle, pageantry and community of the coronation procession with a series of objects from the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, including a court suit worn at the Coronation of George IV and a herald’s tabard which would have been worn during royal processions.
The re-presentation of the Jewel House will culminate in the Treasury, the vault that protects most of the Crown Jewels collection, comprising over 100 objects in total.
Among the items on display in the Treasury is St Edward’s Crown of 1661, which is used at the moment of crowning and is the most important and sacred crown within the collection.
The Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross and the Sovereign’s Orb, which are presented to the monarch during the moment of investiture, are also on display in the Treasury.
The Jewel House exhibition is included in general admission. For tickets and more information go to www.hrp.org.uk/toweroflondon.