The story behind the Imperial State Crown

The purple velvet crown was placed on the Queen's coffin for the procession to Westminster.

Video transcript


- The most important items used in the coronation are the monarch's two crowns. If the queen has only worn St. Edward's gold crown once, she is much more familiar with this-- the diamond-encrusted Imperial State Crown. She wore it at the end of her coronation and for most state openings of Parliament since.

QUEEN ELIZABETH: You see it's much smaller, isn't it?

- Significantly.

QUEEN ELIZABETH: I mean, it was the same height. You know, it would've been up to about there when my father wore it.

- I mean, it was huge then.

QUEEN ELIZABETH: Yes. Very unwieldy.

- It's difficult to always remember that diamonds are stones, so they're very heavy.

QUEEN ELIZABETH: Yes. Fortunately, my father and I had about the same sort of shaped head. But once you put it on, it stays. I mean, it just remains itself.

- You have to keep your head very still.

QUEEN ELIZABETH: Yes. And you can't look down to read the speech. You have to take the speech up. Because if you did, your neck would break, or it would fall off. So there are some disadvantages to crowns. But otherwise, they're quite important things.