The Crown Jewels
My new book,The Crown Jewels is now out – launched at a reception at the Tower of London on 28 September 2011. It tells the history of the most spectacular and complete collection of royal regalia in the world. The priceless objects now in the Tower of London were created to be the embodiment of sovereignty, and their story is that of the English monarchy itself – from the 12th-century spoon used for the anointing at the coronation to the platinum crown created for Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1937, set with the Koh-i-nûr diamond.
Published in association with the Royal Collection and Historic Royal Palaces, the book features specially commissioned new photography, including many detailed shots, allowing individual pieces, the famous gems and carefully selected groups of objects to be viewed as never before.
The book, the result of over a decade of interest in the Crown Jewels, recounts the development of the collection in the medieval period, the dramatic sale and melting down of almost every piece after the execution of Charles I in 1649 and the remaking of the Crown Jewels for Charles II in 1660. Since then the collection has been augmented with pieces that reflect key moments in English history, such as the regalia created for the only joint monarchs, William III and Mary II, in 1689, and the crown made for King George V’s inauguration as Emperor of India in 1911.