In Great Britain, each high-ranking role in the monarchy has its own crown.
The two big jobs are:
The Queen or King (the Monarch)
The Prince of Wales (the next male in line to the throne).
There are a huge number of differences between the King’s (or Queen’s) crown, and the Prince’s crown.
In this post, I’ll take a look at the 15 biggest differences, including age, design, value, history, and many more!
1. Prince Crown Vs King Crown – Number of Crowns
The first thing is that although the Prince of Wales has just one crown, the monarch has several.
Just so you’re clear, the crown Prince (the Prince of Wales) is the next in line to the throne in Britain. He has just one crown, the Prince Charles Coronet.
However, the Monarch has several crowns they will wear on different occasions.
In this post, I’ll be particularly mentioning the two most important ones:
- The St Edward’s Crown
- The Imperial State Crown
2. Prince Crown Vs King Crown Age
The ages of the crowns range between about 300 years.
The Prince Crown is relatively modern. It was created for the investiture of Prince Charles when he was 21, in 1969.
Here is a youtube video featuring the crown at his investiture:
However, the two crowns for the monarch are older.
The St Edward’s Crown was created in 1661. It has a long and convoluted history and has actually been de-commissioned for more than a century (more on that later).
In contrast, the Imperial State Crown is also relatively modern. It was made in 1937 for the coronation of George VI.
3. Prince Crown Vs King Crown Value
The contrast between the values of the respective crowns made my jaw floor quite literally on the floor.
Let’s start in ascending order.
In third place (possibly no surprise), is the Prince Charles Coronet. This has been valued at around $12 million.
On the other hand, the St Edward’s Crown is said to be worth around $57million. This is taking into consideration the price of the gold and the array of diamonds and gems in it. It is the price of the raw materials if you like. (Source)
It could be argued that the price of the crown would actually be significantly higher, due to the history surrounding it. This is, though, merely hypothetical talk, as the odds of it ever being sold are pretty minimal.
Let’s now come to the Imperial State Crown, and I was absolutely staggered to find out the cost of this.
In a nutshell, the Imperial State Crown is valued at somewhere between $3.4 to $5.3 billion. (Source) This is mainly due to the range of diamonds that it contains, which are amongst the world’s most expensive, including the Cullinan II. The Cullinan II diamond is a staggering 317.40 carats and would cost more than $100 million alone.
4. Prince Crown Vs King Crown Use
The three respective crowns each have a pre-ordained role.
The St Edward’s Crown is used to crown the Monarch at the coronation. It has been used to crown six monarchs.
The State Imperial Crown has more uses.
It is also worn at the coronation, following the actual crowning that is done with the St Edward’s Crown.
It is also used at the state opening of Parliament. Here is a video of the Queen wearing it at the state opening of parliament:
It was the crown placed on the coffin during Elizabeth II’s funeral.
5. Prince Crown Vs King Crown – Design
The Prince’s coronet has been described as quite modern in its form while maintaining some level of tradition.
It was created by the designer Louis Osman and has a futurist look that was popular around the time of its creation.
The centerpiece of the design is a golden ball at the top of the crown, that is mounted at the center of a single arch. It is engraved with the Prince of Wales insignia.
The Imperial State Crown is a majestic sight to behold!
It has the traditional ermine trim and a velvet cap. The frame is made of three metals – gold, silver, and platinum. It is decorated with over 3000 gemstones.
The St Edward’s crown is made of gold and embellished with over 400 gemstones.
It also has an ermine trim and a velvet cap.
It has a heavy gold base and Baroque arches.
6. Prince Crown Vs King Crown – Weight
When it comes to weight, St Edward’s Crown is significantly heavier than the other two.
The Prince of Wales Coronet is around 3lbs (1. 36kg).
The Imperial State Crown is the lightest, weighing 2.3lb (1.06kg).
The St Edward’s Crown weighs 4.9lbs (2.23kg). It is famously heavy.
Queen Elizabeth II remarked that you cannot wear the crown and look down at a speech as you will break your neck. You must raise your speech up towards your face. Here she is wearing it during her coronation:
The extreme weight of the crown contributed to its abandonment over a long period from the coronation. For example, it took no part in the coronation of Victoria.
7. Prince Crown Vs King Crown – History
The St Edward’s Crown is the one with the richest history attached to it.
Created in 1661, the crown was used until 1689 to crown all monarchs.
Following that, and largely because of its weight, all monarchs for the next 200 years chose to be crowned with a lighter coronation crown. The St Edward’s Crown for most of these ceremonies would be present on the High Alter.
However, the crown made a comeback at the coronation of George V in 1911, and it has been used ever since.
On the other hand, the Prince coronet, and the Imperial State Crown, have had an unbroken period of service thus far.
The Imperial State Crown has existed in older forms throughout the last many centuries. It was first used (in another form) in the 15th Century. (Source)
The Prince Coronet, on the other hand, is very modern in terms of history.
8. Prince Crown Vs King Crown – Size Of Diamonds
The Prince Of Wales Coronet has thirteen (unlucky for some!) square diamonds. These mimic the thirteen brightest stars in the constellation of Scorpio (which is Charles’ star-sign).
There are seven diamonds orbiting the base, that are said to represent the seven deadly sins.
The coronet contains 75 diamonds in total, and 12 emeralds. The emeralds are representative of Wales, with white (of the diamonds) and green being two of the Welsh colors (the other being red).
The Imperial State Crown has just over 3000 gemstones!
In total, it contains 2,862 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, and 5 rubies.
Some of the jewels are amongst the most expensive and treasured in the world. These include:
- The Cullinan II diamond
- The Black Prince’s Ruby
- St Edward’s Sapphire
- The Stuart Sapphire
There is a rumor (that is probably untrue) that the four large pearls that line the crown belonged to Elizabeth I.
St Edward’s Crown has 44 stones, including:
9. Prince Crown Vs King Crown – Arches
There is history and a sense of hierarchy in the arches that you can see on each crown.
The Prince’s coronet has just one arch. This is to show that the Prince is inferior to the Monarch, as their crowns always have either two or four arches.
10. Continual Vs Intermittent Use
There was a break in the usage of the St Edward’s Crown. From 1689 is was not used to crown a monarch again for over 200 years. It took no place in the coronations of Queen Victoria or George III, for example.
The Imperial State Crown and the Prince Coronet have had a seamless run of usage in contrast. Arguably, the variations of the State Crown have been used continually over hundreds of years.
11. Prince Crown Vs King Crown – Use In Heraldry
It is the Imperial State Crown that is used the most predominantly in heraldry, coats or arms and other royal insignia.
This followed the coronation of Elizabeth II.
The Imperial State Crown is used on all official badges to do with the Commonwealth.
12. Prince Crown Vs King Crown – Storage
The Prince’s coronet is stored on public display at the Jewel House at the Tower of London.
In the present day, the Imperial State Crown and the St Edward’s Crown are also stored there. However, that has not always been the case.
The St Edward’s Crown spent many years in Westminster Abbey, and rarely left there – only being taken to coronations.
13. Prince Crown Vs King Crown – Gender Of Wearer
The King’s crown is for use by both Queens and Kings.
Up until recently, the eldest male child of a monarch would become the King (even if they had an older sister). However, now that is not the case any longer.
In the future, there should theoretically be an equal number of kings and Queens of Britain.
In the past, both the St Edward’s Crown and the Imperial State Crown have been worn by both Kings and Queens.
On the other hand, the role of the Prince of Wales is strictly limited to males. There has never been a Princess of Wales in line to the throne in 700 years. Therefore, the coronet is limited to males.
The queen was the Duchess of Edinburgh before becoming the Queen, following her father’s death. This is why her husband, Prince Philip, was called the Duke of Edinburgh.
14. Prince Crown Vs King Crown – Holy Relic
The St Edward’s Crown was actually considered a holy relic in times gone by and was kept for a long time at Westminster Abbey.
The Imperial State Crown was adjusted for Queen Elizabeth’s coronation.
The arches were lowered slightly, and also the head size was reduced to fit her head. The arch-lowering was to give the crown a slightly more feminine appearance.
There have never been any changes made to the Prince of Wales Coronet.
Whether the St Edward’s Crown has been altered or not is up for debate. There is a possibility that it was first constructed in 1660 and then revised for the coronation of 1661. This was due to an increase in budget ascribed to the occasion.
(Plus One Bonus Difference) Ping-Pong Ball Vs No Ping-Pong Ball!
Here’s a bizarre fact to end with!
Apparently, the golden ball that features at the top of the Prince’s coronet actually contains a real ping-pong ball that was covered in plated gold. This information has been verified by an eyewitness who was employed at the workshop where it was created.
There are no ping-pong balls contained in either the St Edward’s Crown or the Imperial State Crown (needless to say!)