Coronet of Charles, Prince of Wales


Coronet of Charles, Prince of Wales
Queen Elizabeth II formally invests Prince Charles with the Coronet of Charles, Prince of Wales

The Coronet of Charles, Prince of Wales is a coronet and part of the Honours of Wales and Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. It was made for and first used by Prince Charles at his investiture as Prince of Wales in 1969.

Contents

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 Coronet 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.

The 1911 coronet, as part of the British Crown Jewels was protected under the law of the United Kingdom, which forbids removal of the British 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 the United Kingdom following his death in 1972 and is now part of the Honours of the Principality of Wales.

Creation of the new coronet

The traditional coronet being unavailable, and with the older Coronet of Frederick, Prince of Wales being viewed unusable due to age, the only option was the creation of a new Prince of Wales coronet 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 9 years old, but the formal investiture ceremony was not held until a few months short of his 21st birthday.) [1]

Design

The new princely coronet followed regulation laid down by King Charles II in having just two half arches, 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.

Usage

The coronets or crowns of Princes of Wales are rarely used. It is unknown if the Coronet of Frederick, Prince of Wales was ever actually worn by Frederick, Prince of Wales and the Coronet 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 coronet was given on loan to the National Museum and Gallery of Wales by Queen Elizabeth II in 1974.

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, Princess of Wales, first wife of the current Prince of Wales, nor his current wife 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] King George VI did though allow the heiress presumptive, Princess Elizabeth, to wear a coronet at his coronation in 1937.

Possible 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 coronets exist. The 1911 coronet was worn by two Princes of Wales, and would probably have been used in 1969 had the Duke of Windsor (the previous holder of the title) not removed the crown from the United Kingdom and kept it among his private possessions.

The Coronet of George, Prince of Wales (given that its relative youth and rare usage means that it is still suitable to be worn) could be used in a possible future investiture.[citation needed] However, the current Coronet of Charles, Prince of Wales could also be used.[citation needed] Alternatively, it could be decided to create a new coronet for him.[citation needed]

Footnote

  1. ^ The Queen decided, in deference to public opinion regarding the late Diana, Princess of Wales, that Camilla would not be entitled Princess of Wales and would only be referred to as Duchess of Cornwall.
  2. ^ The only possible exception occurred in 1525 when King Henry VIII gave his only surviving child to that point, Mary Tudor, certain Royal Prerogatives due to a Prince of Wales, including a Royal Court, and called her Princess of Wales. There is no record of either the existence of a Prince of Wales' coronet at that time, nor of a formal patent granting the title.[2]

References


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