A magnificent recreation of Henry VIII’s Imperial Crown will go on display at Hampton Court Palace in the Royal Pew, from Saturday, 27 October 2012.
Hampton Court Palace Curator, Dr Kent Rawlinson said, “Using the original inventories and Myten’s painting of the crown, we’ve been able to identify not only the basic shape of the gold frame of the crown, but also the original position of each of the 344 jewels and pearls. It’s remarkable to be able to know and discover so much about an object which was destroyed over 350 years ago – bringing a lost English royal treasure back to life!”
Henry VIII’s Imperial Crown was painstakingly recreated by Historic Royal Palaces and the Crown Jeweller’s master craftsmen, using new research and original records and paintings. The 1547-1549 Inventory, meticulously completed by his servants after Henry VIII’s death in 1547, provided details on how the crown was created and where the stones were placed.
The Crown Jeweller Harry Collins (2007-2012) handcrafted this spectacular Tudor crown with silver gilt with fine metalwork detail, and set with a mix of rubies, sapphires, emeralds, diamonds and pearls. Five tiny enamelled figures are also set within each fleur-de-lis, representing the Virgin and Child, St George and three English kings.
The original was made for either Henry VIII or his father, Henry VII, and was worn in the coronations of Henry VIII’s children, and their successors, James I and Charles I. It was probably worn by Henry VIII at his coronation in 1509, and at major religious and court ceremonies, especially Epiphany on 6 January. The King wore his full regalia before he proceeded to the Chapel Royal to offer gold, frankincense and myrrh to celebrate the three kings’ visit to the newborn Jesus.
The three English kings (probably St Edmund, St Edward the Confessor and Henry VI) were later added to emphasize its role as a symbol of the English monarchy’s political and religious authority. Henry VIII established himself as the Supreme Head of the Church of England, after an Act of Parliament was passed in 1534.
Charles I was painted with the crown on several occasions, including Daniel Myten’s 1631 portrait, before it was melted down by the Commonwealth government in 1649 at the Tower of London on Oliver Cromwell’s orders.
The Royal Pew will be opened for the first time in seven years, allowing visitors to walk in Henry VIII’s footsteps. Visiting hours are Mondays to Saturdays from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm, and on Sundays between 12 noon and 2.30 pm due to services.
Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity which looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace.
The Guardian, Henry VIII’s lost crown recreated nearly 400 years on
Hampton Court Palace, Henry’s Crown