Among royal regalia, the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross and Sovereign’s Orb accompanying the Queen’s body for the funeral, are the most mysterious.
The orb was created for the coronation of Charles II in 1661, after Oliver Cromwell melted down the original Crown Jewels following the execution of Charles I in 1649. The cross atop the 1.32-kilogram hollow gold sphere symbolises the monarch’s power being derived from God. The 375 pearls, accompanying nine emeralds, nine sapphires, 18 rubies, 365 diamonds, solitary amethyst and one glass stone, were originally fake and replaced with real ones in 1930.
Representing governance, the Sovereign’s Sceptre, also created in 1661, received a significant upgrade in 1910, when King George V added the 530.2 carat Cullinan I diamond. Other pieces from the original 3106-carat diamond include the Queen’s beloved brooches, nicknamed “Granny’s Chips”.
The more familiar Imperial State Crown, made for the coronation of George VI in 1937 has also accompanied the coffin. Among the crown’s 2868 diamonds is the 317.4 carat Cullinan II. During the transportation of George V’s body for his 1936 funeral, the previous incarnation of the crown toppled from the coffin, with the diamond-encrusted globe breaking off and rolling into the gutter, before being rapidly retrieved.
All the flowers in the wreath were drawn from Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Highgrove House, as per King Charles’s request.
The floral arrangement was all in shades of gold, pink and deep burgundy, with touches of white include rosemary, for remembrance, blushing pink garden roses, dahlias, hydrangeas and pelargoniums. In a sentimental touch, the wreath also included myrtle, the ancient symbol of a happy marriage, cut from a plant grown from a sprig in the Queen’s wedding bouquet in 1947.
For working members of the royal family, military uniforms are the official dress code for the Queen’s funeral.
King Charles wore the Royal Navy No 1 tailcoat with sword, while the Prince of Wales wore the RAF No 1 uniform, denoting his three years as a search and rescue pilot. Edward, the Earl of Wessex, wore a uniform reflecting his rank as Honorary Royal Colonel of the Wessex Yeomanry, although he did not serve in the military save for a brief stint as a cadet in the Royal Marines. The Princess Royal wore a Royal Navy ceremonial uniform in the rank of Admiral, reflecting her honours and titles, but she also had no military service.
Prince Andrew wore a morning suit for the funeral, despite his service in the Falklands War.
Andrew retreated from royal duties after settling a civil sex abuse case that linked him to sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Prince Harry, who stepped away from royal duties to live in the US, wore a military uniform at the vigil at his father’s request but has chosen a morning suit for the funeral service, decorated with some of his service medals.
With the Telegraph, London
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