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Sunday, 12 May 2013

99) Commemorating Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953: A Five Pound Coin issued by the Royal Mint, U.K. in 2013 showing the Imperial State Crown :

99) Commemorating Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953,: A Five Pound Coin issued by the Royal Mint, U.K. in 2013 showing the Imperial State Crown :

The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II:

The Queen’s coronation took place on 02.06.1953. On this day, she was crowned the Queen of the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Ceylon and Pakistan apart from being the Head of the Commonwealth.

The coronation took place more than a year after her being proclaimed Queen on the death of her father King George VI on 06.02.1952.

The Coronation began with a procession that brought foreign Royalty and Heads of State riding in various carriages and other dignitaries from Britain and the Commonwealth to West Minister Abbey ahead of the Queen herself. Crowds thronged the route, straining for a glimpse as the procession passed by, until the “Gold State Coach” appeared carrying the Queen to the abbey which has been the place where the British Sovereigns have been crowned for more than 900 years.

The coronation ceremony recreates a centuries – old tradition, from the Regal dresses to the anointing and the regalia used to crown a new King or Queen.
The Queen wore a white silk dress embroidered with the floral emblems of the countries of the Commonwealth of that time: the Tudor Rose of England, the Irish Shamrock for Northern Ireland, the Scottish Thistle and the Welsh Leek for Wales. There was the Australian Wattle, Canada’s Maple leaf, New Zealand’s Fern, South Africa’s Protea, Lotus flowers representing Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka) and India, Pakistan’s wheat, cotton and jute. There was also a four leaf clover for luck!!

At Westminster Abbey: After elaborate ceremonies, Elizabeth she sat on the Chair of the Estate and then the “Coronation Chair” (King Edward’s Chair) and took the Coronation Oath administered by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Again, after further elaborate ceremonies, she was given the “Sword of the State”. This was followed by investing the Queen with the “Armills” (bracelets), “Stole Royal”, “Robe Royal” and the “Sovereign’s Orb”, followed by the “Queen’s Ring”, “the Scepter with the Cross” and the “Scepter with the Dove”. With the scepters in her right hand and the orb in her left hand she was crowned with the St. Edward’s Crown by the Archbishop.

When the ancient “St. Edward’s Crown” was placed on her head, she was greeted with shouts of “God Save the Queen!! Long live the Queen Elizabeth!! May the Queen live for ever!!” The Queen wore the “Imperial State Crown” and holding the Scepter with the Cross and the Orb she left the Westminster Abbey, for her return to Buckingham Palace and was greeted by the customary elaborate Royal Air Force fly past which she witnessed from the balcony of the Palace.

(The only time that I remember that during her sixty years as Queen, she has been made to “abdicate” her throne is in the Mr. Bean Movie “Johnny English”, where Mr. Sauvage, a French imposter, makes her sign the necessary papers and is about to be crowned the King, but Johnny English contrives through hilarious methods to get “crowned” as the King himself and helps in “bringing back” the Queen to the throne. For this act of bravery, English gets a knighthood from the Queen (:-).

The Coronation Regalia:

The Ampulla: This is the gold flask in the form of an eagle which contains the holy oil used for the anointing. 

Imperial Mantle of cloth of Gold, woven with the National Emblems: Following the anointing, the Sovereign is invested with this mantle.

The Sword of offering: this is an elaborately jeweled sword which is placed on the altar when the Sovereign is invested.

The Spurs: These are not worn, but are there to represent knightly chivalry.

St Edward’s Crown:At the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, King Charles II got new Regalia made, patterned on the lost Regalia of his father Charles I (who had been dethroned and executed by Oliver Cromwell in 1649 and the British Crown jewels were sold by Cromwell). 
 The main piece of the Regalia was the St. Edward’s Crown with which the new Sovereign is actually crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury during the coronation ceremony. This crown is made of gold and is decorated with precious and semi – precious stones, including sapphires, tourmalines, amethysts, topazes and citrines and weighs 2.23 kgs. 
 This Crown has been used by every British monarch, except Queen Victoria who considered it too heavy and she was crowned with the lighter State Crown.

The Sovereign’s Orb: This represents Christ’s dominion over the World. The Orb is a golden globe topped by a diamond encrusted cross and dates to 1661 when it was used for the coronation of Charles II. The jeweled Cross on top of the orb has the monarch’s title “Defender of the Faith”. It is held in the left hand of the monarch during the coronation ceremony.

The two Sceptres:

i)           The Sovereign’s sceptre with the Cross: now set with the First Star of Africa represents the Monarch’s temporal power under God. The scepter is made of gold and is three feet in length. The largest cut diamond in the World is contained in the Royal Sceptre. It also contains an enormous amethyst and an emerald.

(The “Cullinan I” or “First Star of Africa” is the largest flawless cut diamond in the World weighing 530 carats. This diamond and the “Second Star of Africa” diamond weighing 317 carats were both cut from the Cullinan diamond, the largest ever diamond found in Africa weighing 3601 carats which was presented to King Edward VII by the Government of Transvaal, South Africa in 1907).

ii)         The Sceptre with the dove: represents equity and mercy.

The Armills: These are gold bracelets which are meant to symbolize sincerity and wisdom.

The Imperial State Crown or Crown of State:  This is the most famous of the crowns.  This was remade for the coronation of King George VI in 1937 and has over 3000 gemstones (2783 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 277 pearls, 11 emeralds and 5 rubies) which were all transferred from the old Imperial Crown.
The precious stones on this Crown include the “Cullinan II” or the “Second Star of Africa” (the second largest diamond cut from the celebrated Cullinan diamond), the Black Prince’s Ruby (presented to Edward, the Black Prince, in gratitude for his military assistance at the Battle of Navaretto in 1367), the Stuart Sapphire (owned by the Royal House of Scotland for centuries, the original owner being King Alexander II of Scotland who had it set into his crown at his coronation in 1214), St. Edward’s Sapphire (it is an ancient gemstone, once worn in a ring by Edward the Confessor, first mentioned in 1042, when it was set into Edward’s coronation ring, the sapphire is a rose cut blue gemstone with exceptional brilliance, set in a Maltese Cross at the top of the Crown) and Queen Elizabeth’s pearls.

Traditionally, the Sovereign wears this Crown when the coronation ceremony ends when leaving Westminster Abbey. This Crown is also worn for the State opening of Parliament. 

(On 12.05.13, we saw a BBC News item with the Queen wearing the Royal Regalia at the opening of Parliament with the Second Star of Africa diamond flashing at us from across the continents, among other sparklers).

A  Five Pound Coin issued by the Royal Mint, U.K. in 2013 commemorating Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation :

This five Pound coin commemorates the 60th Coronation Anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II (1953 – 2013).

The reverse of this coin features the Imperial State Crown in its entire jewel studded splendor. The surrounding inscription “To reign and to serve” (on the left periphery) and “A vow made good” (on the right periphery) acknowledge the Queen’s long and spotless reign. The Imperial State Crown design has been made by Emma Noble.

The obverse shows the Queen’s portrait facing right, designed by Ian Rank-Broadley.

The specifications of the coin are:

Metal Composition: Cupro – Nickel; Diameter: 38.61 mm; Weight: 28.28 gms; Coin quality: Brilliant Uncirculated.

Interesting tit-bits about the Imperial Crown of India:

1)  India “The Jewel in the British crown” and the “Dilli” (Delhi) Durbars:
The Delhi Durbar was held in 1877, 1903 and 1911.

The Delhi Durbar of 1911 was one of the most momentous events of British India. The Viceroy’s special train was renovated and upholstered for the use of King George V and Queen Mary. 

Imperial Crown of India
 The King and Queen had issued a desire that during the Delhi visit, they would reside in tents and not in any luxurious building/resort. Accordingly, several camps were set up in a spectacle reminiscent of the grandeur of the British Raj.

Shifting of Capital from Calcutta to Delhi:

For the purpose, the Capital of India was moved from Calcutta (present day Kolkata in West Bengal). The King announced that the great city of Calcutta which had been the headquarters of Government ever since British Rule was established in India was to be abandoned in favour of the ancient capital of the Moghuls and which had been a former seat of ancient Hindu Kings.

 This was felt necessary as Delhi was well served by Railways, its climate was better for seven months and it embraced every facility necessary for the creation of a great Imperial City Capital.

Three days after the announcement for shifting the Capital was made, the Foundation Stone for New Delhi was laid at the Coronation Park and Edward Lutyens was given the task of designing the new Capital of India.

The Grand Durbar:

The Durbar (Royal  Court) was constructed over 25 sq. miles area , new roads were built and an unending list of at least 500 Indian Royals (Maharajas)  and smaller princes , noblemen, landed gentry and other guests of note in India were invited. The Durbar ceremony, held to proclaim them as the Emperor and Empress of India, was one of the most magnificent spectacles of its time.

Medal Distribution:

It is said that originally about 5000 medals were meant to be given out to the military, but more than 5000 extra medals were awarded arbitrarily to Indian Kings and officials some even going to Ladies and sundry clerks who were in a position to influence the Authorities, without any merit in their claims for such medals.

Royal appear wearing Coronation Robes and Crown/tiara:

The Sovereigns appeared in their Coronation Robes, the King-Emperor wearing the bejeweled Imperial Crown of India studded with 6170 diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and rubies. The Crown was so heavy that the King got himself a “giant-size” headache.

The Delhi Durbar tiara was a part of the Queen’s parure of emeralds and diamonds set together by Garrard & Co. Ltd. The parure included a necklace, stomacher, brooch and earrings. It was often referred to by King George as “Mary’s best tiara”.

No coronation:

Nevertheless, King George and Queen Mary were only announced as the Emperor and Empress of India to the Maharajas and Princes of India and the King was not crowned at the service because the Archbishop of Canterbury did not think it suitable for a Christian religious service to take place in a predominantly Hindu country. (Talk about secularism!!). Therefore, the King wore the Crown himself before coming to the Delhi Durbar.

Not only this, the Crown has not been worn by any Sovereign ever since, because it had been worn in “Hindu India”.

No functions or Foundation stones laying:

The King declined to accept any invitations for attending any functions for ribbon-cutting or laying of Foundation stones, opening of hospitals etc. due to his brief visit to India, perhaps out of propriety (or more likely, out of thorough embarrassment), as he had not “technically” been “crowned” the King Emperor of India.

(One such hospital was opened at Lucknow, India,  in the name of Queen Mary, where I was born in August 1958, eleven years after India gained Independence from the British Raj).

Thus, like in the earlier two durbars in 1877 and 1903, where the Emperor/Empress were not physically present, this durbar too was a damp squib with no coronation taking place at all!! (I wonder, whether British coins minted all over the World declaring the Kings/Queen as “IND IMP” (Emperor/Empress of India) was a correct “title”, as no coronation took place in India on all three occasions).

2)  The crown of Queen Elizabeth (queen mother to the reigning Queen Elizabeth and queen consort of King George VI):

 The "Koh – I – noor" (Mountain of Light) diamond: The Indian connection:

The crown of Queen Elizabeth is a platinum crown made for the coronation of King George VI in 1937. This Crown is decorated with precious stones, the most notable one being the 106 – carat (21 gms) “Koh – i – noor” (Mountain of Light) diamond , in the middle of the front cross. 

The Kohinoor Crown
The "Koh – i – noor":

This diamond, once the largest in the World,  was said to have been found in the Kollur Mines of Guntur District of Andhra Pradesh - India, together with its double, the "Darya - i - noor" (The Sea of Light) and was the property of Dhruvin Chavdas.  The first written record is found in 1304, when the diamond was the property of Delhi Sultan Allauddin Khilji. It later changed hands from the Mughal Emperors of Delhi to Maharaja Duleep Singh and was last seen in India at Lahore, Punjab (then in India and presently in Pakistan). This diamond was “forcefully extorted” from the Indian Maharaja, who was its rightful owner, by the British East India Company. The Koh – i – noor was presented to Queen Victoria in 1850, recut in 1852 to its present size and has since become a part of the British Crown Jewels ever since Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India in 1877. 

The curse of the "Koh – i – noor":

Over centuries of murder, brutality and deceit, the stone carried a curse that misfortune would befall the owner, although any woman wearing it would remain unharmed.

No returning the diamond to India:

The British Prime Minister David Cameron during a recent visit to India in February 2013 vehemently remarked that the “Koh – i – noor” would not be returned to India (notwithstanding the claims of the Indian King’s descendants).
 Perhaps, it serves as a “sparkling” reminder of when the “British ruled the World”, notwithstanding the fact, that the United Kingdom are in danger of further subdividing themselves, with the Scottish referendum in 2014, looming large on whether the Scots want  a separate State or want to continue with the United Kingdom, ( the referendum will take place in a year which is exactly 700 years after the Battle of Bannockburn in which “Robert de Bruis” or “Robert the Bruce” decisively defeated the English and Scotland became an independent nation,  in 1314).

This Crown also had embedded in it, the Cullinan III or the “Third Star of Africa” and Cullinan IV or the “Fourth Star of Africa”, but both these diamonds are now the personal property of Queen Elizabeth II and only crystal replicas now figure on this crown.


British Crown Dependencies:

1) Specimen Banknotes from the States of Jersey

2) Coinage and Currency from the States of Jersey

3) Currency & Coinage of the Bailiwick of Guernsey

4) Currency & Coinage of Gibraltar : An Overseas Territory of Great Britain

5) Coinage of Gibraltar: (A British Overseas Territory): An Uncirculated Decimal Coin Collection Set minted by the Tower Mint, UK in 2010
6) The Isle of Man: An Uncirculated Decimal Coin Collection Set minted by Pobjoy Mint, UK in 2015

7) The Centenary of the ill-fated Titanic (15.04.1912 - 15.04.2012): An Alderney Five Pound Coin Commemorating the Maritime Legend

8) "Man of Steel": A Superman Movie: A set of stamps brought out in 2013 by Jersey post, the States of Jersey, commemorating Henry William Dalgliesh Cavill who played Superman in the Movie

9) Coins & Currency of Bermuda

10) The Bailiwick of Jersey - Presently circulating coinage - Pounds and Pence 

11) St. Helena & Ascension Islands: An Uncirculated Coin Set from 2003 

12) The Legend of the "HMAV Bounty" is interwoven with the heritage of the Pitcairn Islands: An uncirculated coin set from Pitcairn Islands in 2009 depicting the icons/relics of the Bounty minted by the New Zealand Mint 

Famous Battles

1) Bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo and Napoleon's Exile to St. Helena: (Part I): A One Crown Commemorative coin issued by the Ascension Island (minted by Pobjoy Mint UK) 

2) Bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo and Napoleon's Exile to st. Helena: (Part II) 1) A 5 GBP Coin issued by the Royal Mint UK. 2) A"Drie Landen Zilverset" ( ot the "Three Lands Silver set") containing coins issued by the Royal Dutch Mint including coins of Netherlands, Belgium and UK

3) Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain by issuing a 50 Pence coin by the Royal Mint UK

Gold Coins:
1) Gold Sovereigns issued in 2013 & 2014 by MMTC-PAMP in India under licence from the Royal Mint, UK, carrying the "I" Mint Mark

2) Gold Half-Sovereigns minted by MMTC-PAMP in India in 2014 under licence from the Royal Mint UK bearing the "I" Mint Mark 

Silver Coins:

1) A 20 Pound Silver coin minted for the first timr by the royal Mint UK: reverse design carries the famous St. George slaying the dragon design found on Gold Sovereigns 

British India Coinage:

 1) East India Company Quarter Anna Copper Coin which is one of the first issues under the Coinage Act 1835

2) Victoria Coinage: When she was Queen and afterwards Empress

3) Edward VII: King & Emperor  Coinage

4) George V King Emperor Coinage

5) George VI: The last of the British India Emperors Coinage 

Other British Royalty: 

1) Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations (1952-2012): A Five Pound Commemorative coin issued by the Royal Mint, UK

2) Commemorating Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation in 1953: A Five Pound Coin minted by the Royal Mint UK in 2013, depicting the Imperial State Crown

3) The Royal Coat of Arms of the UK: Great British 2012 Coin Set (Uncirculated) issued by the Royal Mint UK

4) Prince George's Christening Ceremony celebrated with coins issued by the Royal Mint UK in 2013

5) The British Empire:  A Case of Numismatic "segregation": (Guest Post by Rahul Kumar)

6) 1) The Portrait Collection: Various Portraits of Queen Elizabeth II on Coinage 2) The Fourth & Final Circulating coinage of the Portrait designed by Ian Rank-Broadley and the First Edition of the portrait of the Queen made by Jody Clark

 British Coinage:

1) The contribution of the Great British One-Pound coins in keeping alive the historical legends/emblems/heritage of the UK (1983 onwards)

2) Transformation of a Five shilling Coin (Crown) into the UK Twenty-five Pence & then the Five Pound Coin

3) Transformation of the Two Shilling Coin (Florin) Coin into the UK Ten Pence

4) The 350th Anniversary of the Guinea: A Two Pound Coin issued by the Royal Mint UK celebrating the milestone

 Commemorative British Coinage:

 1) Commemorating the Bicentenary of Charles Dickens: A Two pound coin celebrating his literary contributions during the Victorian Era

 2) Commemorating 50 Years of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) - presently called the World Wide Fund for Nature by issue of a Fifty Pence coin by the Royal Mint, UK

3) Coins commemorating London Olympics & Paralympics (2012)

4) Commemorating 150 Years of the London Underground : Two pound Coins minted by the Royal Mint UK, showing the "Roundel" logo and a train emerging from a tunnel 

5) Commemorating the 100th Birth anniversary of Christopher Ironside with his" Royal Arms" design on a 50 Pence coin issued by the Royal Mint, UK 

6) 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta - the Universal Guidepost to Liberty and Freedom

Inspirations from Scottish History: 

1) The Legend of King Bruce & the Spider on Banknotes

Banknotes from Scotland:
1) Commemorating Sir William Arrol and his creation the Forth Rail Bridge by issues of Britain's first ever 5 Pound Polymer Banknote

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