Did you know that the crown that King Charles wore at his investiture, because the Prince of Wales actually had a “ping-pong” ball in it?
According the Guardianthe plastic sphere was carefully disguised: not only was it covered in gold filigree, but it was also surrounded by a floating constellation of diamonds arranged in the pattern of Charles’ astrological sign, Scorpio.
What is the Ping Pong Ball Crown?
The report explains that the crown was designed by Louis Osman, an architect and goldsmith dubbed ‘the original hippie’ by one of his friends, and was a radical departure from the royal headgear normal preservative.
Plunging golden arches were flanked by abstract fleur-de-lis and needle-thin crosses that shot out like burst lightning in this “futuristic vision”. The gold came from a Welsh nugget, but instead of being hammered it was electroplated over a cast epoxy resin in a demonstration of modern technology. An ermine-edged purple velvet inner cap completed the design, fulfilling Charles’ request for a crown that could be worn by a “modern prince” with a regular haircut, rather than someone with a wig and “showing the ears”.
Ispahani Bartos, a specialist in modern jewelry design, revealed that she owned one of the original 1969 Electroform models of Charles’s head and confirmed at the conference that the orb at the top of the design radicalism of Louis Osman was a ping sounding ball, according to the Town and country magazine.
Prince Charles was preparing for his investiture as Prince of Wales in 1969, just two months shy of his 21st birthday, but he needed a crown. George’s single-bow silver-gilt crown was available, but when the Duke of Windsor fled his kingdom in 1936, he also took this crown with him. Yes, it was technically illegal, but the Queen Mother would rather make a new crown for Charles than have to talk to Wallis or Edward again.
The hunt for Charles’ investiture crown began, however, the monarchy fell on hard times in the late 1960s. “There were labor protests in England,” says Ispahani Bartos, founder and director of Mahnaz Collection, a gallery famous for its original jewelry and artists from the 1960s to the present day. “There were power outages across the country, an oil shortage, uprisings in Wales, and the troubles in Ireland began.” They wanted to do something a little more low-key and in keeping with the tone of the times,” she told Town and Country Magazine.
Crown jeweler Garrard’s original proposal was rejected as too lavish and showy. It was then that Louis Osman arrived.
Osman explains that Bartos didn’t follow any particular style. And he performed various functions. He was an architect, sculptor, patron and art historian, and jeweller. Osman’s goal was to construct a wreath that would convey drama and meaning without being too heavy. However, the process turned out to be difficult and something went wrong. “The first time they tried to electroform the crown, it was so delicate that it broke when it was stamped out,” Osman says. They almost succeeded on the second try, when Osman built another mold. However, the orb had no but was successfully remade to Osman’s exact specifications. With little time before Osman’s inauguration to complete his work on the crown, a technician reportedly came up with the idea of attempting to galvanize a ping pong ball. It was effective.
Will Charles wear the ping-pong crown at his coronation?
This time, however, Charles will not be crowned king in modern headgear. Instead, St Edward’s Crown, designed in 1661 for Charles II and used by Queen Elizabeth II in her royal badge, will be used at the coronation. This headgear is based on an 11th-century crown believed to have been worn by Edward the Confessor, a claim most likely invented by the monks of Westminster Abbey in order to attract pilgrims, the report says. Their plan worked and for the next 400 years the crown was used at the coronation of every English monarch.
It weighs 2.07 kg and is adorned with rubies, amethysts and sapphires. It was made for the coronation of Charles II in 1661 to replace the medieval crown cast in 1649, after the execution of Charles I. The lost medieval crown dated from the 11th century and belonged to the royal saint Edward the Confessor. .
St Edward’s Crown was last used to crown Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
The crown has “a very simple structure”, historian Anna Keay told the Court Jeweler in a report, with a sequence of 22-karat gold components (“the headband, crosses and fleur-de-lis and bows “) gathered in 1661 to form the fundamental framework of the play. “The jewelry settings were then secured through this frame from behind,” Keay explains. A gold necklace held each gem in place, and the stones were set in clusters surrounded by white enamel settings in the shape of acanthus leaves. Inside the crown, which has an ermine trimmed base, is a velvet hat.
At some point during the coronation ceremony, Charles will retire to St Edward’s Chapel and reappear as King, wearing a new headgear: the Imperial State Crown. It is the lighter of the two, weighing less than half the weight of St Edward’s, and is worn for state openings of parliament and other ceremonial occasions.
The Imperial State Crown was created for the coronation of King George VI in 1937, replacing a crown created for Queen Victoria.
The crown is encrusted with 2,868 diamonds and many notable jewels, according to the Royal Collection Trust.
It features St. Edward’s sapphire, which Edward the Confessor is said to have worn in a ring. The Cullinan II Diamond, the second largest cut of the enormous Cullinan Diamond, is also included in the crown. The Cullinan Diamond is the largest diamond in the world.
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