It’s impossible to ignore, with the 317.4 -carat Cullinan II diamond shining out like a torch when it catches the light. The diamond sits below the Black Prince’s Ruby, which is said to have been worn by Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. The sheer value of the jewels in the crown makes it priceless even before you consider the history of the gems or what the overall piece represents.
Other than the Queen, only two people are allowed to touch the crown. They are the Archbishop of Canterbury, whose job it is to crown the monarch, and the Crown Jeweller, who is responsible for its upkeep and its security every time it’s removed from the Tower of London.
It would make everyone a lot less anxious if the crown never left its vault, but this isn’t a museum item. It’s the working symbol of a living, breathing constitutional monarchy. The State Opening is a visual reminder of what the UK is, or at least how it works. The sovereign only has a symbolic role in British politics, so what would the monarchy be without its symbols?
ROYAL TEA BREAK
WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING?
Archewell’s latest partnership is with a company Meghan called out 28 years ago.
Charles thanks Philip’s medical staff.
There were several royal engagements to mark International Nurses Day Wednesday, but one particularly poignant visit came a day earlier for Charles, with a stop at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in central London. During his visit, the Prince of Wales thanked healthcare workers for their tireless efforts through the pandemic and was able to meet some of the staff who cared for his father back in March.
Madame Tussauds moves Harry and Meghan’s waxworks again.
DID YOU KNOW?
Royal-watchers paying particularly close attention may have noticed the Queen’s touching tribute to Philip while attending Parliament. Did you spot it?
While much was made of the Queen wearing day dress for the event rather than the usual ceremonial robes, she opted for the same outfit she wore in the portrait for the Duke of Edinburgh’s 99th birthday.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Prince William paid his respects on Wednesday to a police officer who was killed in the line of duty. Sergeant Matt Ratana was fatally shot in September 2020. The Duke of Cambridge honored the fallen officer during a visit to Croydon Custody Centre as part of his work promoting mental health and wellbeing of first responders.
FROM THE ROYAL VAULT
“It was of course all done in the Bath Club [in London], in the swimming pool. I suppose I didn’t really actually realize quite what I was doing because I think I must have been 12 or something. 12 or 14? It’s a very long time ago, I’m afraid.”
Then Clive Holland, deputy Commonwealth president of the society, chimed in to inform the monarch: “Your Majesty, when you say it was a long time ago, it was in fact 80 years ago,” to which Elizabeth chuckled: “That’s terrible.”
Holland continued, “We know that you were actually the first holder of the award.” That news seemed to take the Queen by surprise. She replied: “I didn’t realize I was the first one. I just did it and had to work very hard for it. But it was a great achievement, and I was very proud to wear the badge on the front of my swimming suit.”
IN THE ROYAL DIARY
William and Kate’s UK radio takeover on Friday: The Cambridges joined a bevy of British celebs for the Mental Health Minute, a 60-second message broadcast simultaneously on more than 500 radio stations across the UK to “encourage everyone to keep the conversation on mental health going.” Estimated to reach more than 20 million listeners, the “message highlights how vital talking can be.” This year it went out on Friday at 10:59 a.m. (5:59 a.m. ET).