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The Crown Jewels

The Official Illustrated History

Anna Keay


Celebrates the most remarkable assemblage of jewellery in the world still used in royal ceremony in a tradition going back over a millennium

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This sumptuous volume, which includes a complete inventory of every item of the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London, captures the magnificence of a collection of symbolic objects steeped in English history that is still in use today. For anyone with either a professional or a personal interest in jewellery and history, The Crown Jewels will be a delight.

The Crown Jewels tells the history of the spectacular, priceless objects now in the Tower of London. 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 text, 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.

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'An informative delight, but the clincher is almost 300 eye-smacking photographs of the world’s most complete collection of royal regalia'
Daily Express

'The book is sumptuously illustrated, and Anna Keay tells her remarkable story with great skill'
The Literary Review

'Important … For anyone with an interest in the jeweler’s craft, historic gemstones, the British monarchy and British history, 'The Crown Jewels' will be a delight'
Period Homes & Interiors

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback with flaps

Size: 27.0 x 23.0 cm

Extent: 176 pp

Illustrations: 189

Publication date: 5 March 2012

ISBN: 9780500289822

Contents List

1. Origins; 2. The Age of Magnificence; 3. Meltdown; 4. Monarchy Remade; 5. Splendours of the Table; 6. Crowns for Queens; 7. Fathers and Sons; 8. Economy and Empire; 9. The New Ceremonialism; 10.The Modern Age; Glossary; Bibliography;

About the Author

Anna Keay is Curatorial Director of English Heritage, and was formerly Assistant Curator of Historic Royal Palaces. She has provided historical commentary for broadcasts on royal events such as HM The Queen’s Golden Jubilee and the State Opening of Parliament.