One of the most interesting tourist attractions for those staying at The Piccadilly West End is undoubtedly, The Crown Jewels. As an easy to reach attraction from the many hotels in the West End, The Crown Jewels is a popular stopping off point for anyone on a city break in London. Along with other attractions such as Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge, The Crown Jewels are an important part of London’s history, making them a must visit whatever the purpose for your trip to the capital. However, how much do you really know about this impressive collection?
In a bid to help visitors to London understand what The Crown Jewels are and why they are of significance, we asked some of our very own experts at the Piccadilly Wet End to share their nuggets of information. Here are a few of the most important and interesting things our London experts think you need to know…
- The Crown Jewels are made up of 141 historical ceremonial objects, many of which have been worn by British monarchs at their coronations. The collection also includes objects, plates, christening fonts, swords, robes and other regalia.
- When they are not being used, The Crown Jewels are housed at the Tower of London. They are on public display and visitors to the tower can check them out.
- Though The Crown Jewels are owned by the British monarch during their reign, they do not belong to them personally. They are passed from monarch to monarch and do not belong to the state.
- Until the reign of Queen Victoria, it was common for the jewels to be rented from the crown jeweller for specific coronations or ceremonies.
- The Crown Jewels contain some of the most famous diamonds in the world. These include the Cullinan I, a 530.20 carat diamond cut from the world’s largest diamond at the time. Cullinan II and Koh-I-Noor are also included in the collection.
- Colonel Thomas Blood tried to steal The Crown Jewels on 6th May 1671. The person who was keeper of the jewels at the time, Talbot Edwards, was attacked but the thieves were captured.
- After the end of the English Civil War in 1651, the monarchy was abolished and Oliver Cromwell came to power. In order to increase finances, many of The Crown Jewels were sold. Most of those in the collection today are recent additions.
- When King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1937 to marry Wallis Simpson, he took a key part of The Crown Jewels with him. He took the Prince of Wales Crown and it wasn’t returned until his death in 1972.
At The Piccadilly West End we always suggest a visit to the Tower of London to see The Crown Jewels. If you stay at any of the hotels in the West End, you’ll be within easy travelling distance, so it’s possible to squeeze it in on the day of your departure.