What does the orb and sceptre represent? Role they will play in King Charles III’s coronation

King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort will be coronated at Westminster Abbey on 6 May

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The coronation of King Charles III will take place at Westminster Abbey next month.

The monarch will be enthroned, while his wife Queen Consort Camilla will be crowned, during the ceremony on Saturday, 6 May. It will be followed by a procession through the streets of London as the royal couple return to Buckingham Palace.

King Charles III ascended to the throne in September last year following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96. The former monarch died at Balmoral Castle.

The Crown Jewels will play a significant role in the coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey on 6 May. Camilla will receive the Queen Consort’s ivory rod despite speculation it would not feature.

Elizabeth II’s coffin was decorated with a flag and also a sceptre and orb, both of which will be part of the King’s coronation. But what is the purpose of these items?

Here is all you need to know:

What do the sceptre and orb represent?

The Soverign’s sceptre is meant to represent the crown’s power and governance. It has been used in every coronation since 1661.

The sceptre was created for the coronation of King Charles II - the namesake of the new monarch of Britain.

Leaders from around the world attended the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.Leaders from around the world attended the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.
Leaders from around the world attended the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

In 1910 it was altered by Elizabeth II’s grandfather King George V to include the massive, 530.2 carat Cullinan I diamond. The Soverign’s orb is designed as a symbol to show that the monarch’s power is derived from God.

Like the sceptre it was created in 1661 and has been used ever since. It is part of traditional coronation regalia - and features a golden jewelled ball surmounted by a gem-encrusted cross.

What items are in King’s coronation regalia?

Charles III will receive the soverign’s orb, ring, sceptre with cross, sceptre with dove and St Edward’s crown.

The St Edward’s Crown is used at the moment of coronation. Weighing 2.23kg (nearly 5lb), it is the heaviest crown in the Crown Jewels.

In 1953, the then-archbishop of Canterbury Dr Geoffrey Fisher raised it aloft and placed it on Queen Elizabeth II’s head. “By a glance she indicated it was steady,” he later recalled.

The crown was made for the coronation of Charles II in 1661 and was a replacement for the medieval crown, which was melted down on the orders of Oliver Cromwell in 1649 after the execution of Charles I. The original was thought to date back to the 11th-century royal saint, Edward the Confessor, the last Anglo-Saxon king of England.

Although it is not an exact replica of the medieval design, it follows the original in having four crosses pattee, four fleurs-de-lis and two arches. It is St Edward’s Crown that appears in the royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, the Royal Mail logo and in badges of the Armed Forces.

Such was its weight, the late Queen practised wearing it around Buckingham Palace ahead of her coronation to ensure she could move with it on her head. Under a top secret operation, the crown was briefly removed from the Tower of London to be resized to fit the King’s head.

What are the other crown jewels?

The Crown Jewels are a collection of 100 items and over 23,000 gemstones. They have been held at the Tower of London since the 1660s and tell a fascinating history of the UK’s Royal Family.

Part of the Royal Collection, they include the monarch’s Coronation Regalia, which are the symbolic items used to crown the next King or Queen. The last time they were used was during the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

The next time they will be used, will be during the upcoming coronation of King Charles III. The Crown Jewels are said to be priceless.

They have never been appraised, but some experts estimate they would be worth between £1 billion and £5 billion.

The largest stone in the collection, the Cullinan I is estimated to be worth as much as £40 million alone. The Crown Jewels are owned by the monarch and symbolise 800 years of the British Royal Family.