The crown jewels have been attracting tourists to the city of London for a long time, but now thanks to a major re-organisation of the way that they are displayed, they are now on show in a fabulous 21st century setting so that the millions of people who travel to the Tower of London to see them each year can get a really good look at them. Some of the pieces in the collection are centuries old and still used today for specific royal ceremonies. This is not a case of the jewels just being another museum exhibit, they are very much still a part of the history and the culture of the United Kingdom. Over the centuries they have been lost, pawned and given in payment by some of the monarchs of the past, so it’s a wonder that so many of them are still here. With such a background it’s not only the gemstones that are colourful, their history is too.
A New Beginning
Visitors can now view the jewels in even greater detail than before and much more than just being able to look at them, they can also learn about the historical important of each piece and what role it plays in the ceremonial events of modern life. Royal regalia across the centuries has always been a display of ostentatious splendour, the jewels have been the target of attempted thefts, written about in many different fiction novels and been replicated for film and television many times, yet there is nothing anywhere that comes close to the splendour and majesty of the originals.
One of the highlights of any monarchy is the coronation ceremony, this is when the majority of the collection is put to use and can be seen playing their part in the ceremony which takes place in Westminster Abbey. Now the symbolism of each piece can be learned and understood and the royal ceremonies that we see played out in the television will take on a whole new meaning as all of the different parts start to make sense.
The Royal Jewels collection contains some of the rarest and most exquisite diamonds in the world, many of which come with their own background story which can be more interesting that the take of the royal settings themselves. The items that are still taken out for use regularly are all clearly marked with an ‘in use’ symbol in the exhibition, so once you have seen them and learned all about them you will be able to spot them the next time you watch a news report about something like the opening of parliament. Don’t be put off by the armed guards that you will find dotted around the exhibition; a collection of such importance needs something much more impressive than just a lock and key security system. The guards can often be a talking point of your tower experience too, something else to remember from the Tower of London aside from the famous and instantly recognisable beefeaters and the ever present ravens.