You've seen them in history books and documentary footage. You've seen them on The Crown. You've seen them in your dreams, taunting you and reminding you that, short of some Minions-style jewelry heist, they'll never, ever be yours.
They're the Crown Jewels, the iconic coronation regalia worn by British monarchs for centuries. That includes Queen Elizabeth II, who was decked out in the dazzling jewels for her 1953 coronation. Lo and behold, walking around with a pile of gold and priceless gems perched on her head may not have been the fairy tale moment we all imagine it to be.
"There are some disadvantages to the crowns, but otherwise, they’re quite important things," the Queen reveals in a new Smithsonian Channel documentary about her coronation, which took place on June 2, 1953, almost 65 years ago. The Coronation will air on January 14.
We know what you're thinking: "disadvantages"? While many folks would happily endure a bad hair day so long as it was caused by some priceless headgear, HRH may have a point. According to the website for the Tower of London, where the Crown Jewels are stored, the St. Edward's Crown weighs about an Advil-inducing five pounds, which "makes it a very heavy and tiring crown to wear." Oh, poo.
That bulk is down to a solid gold frame, a regal purple velvet cap, a layer of fur, and the addition of 444 precious semi-precious stones, which were permanently affixed ahead of King George V's (the Queen's grandfather) coronation in 1911. Prior to that, the gems were rented and returned like some sort of royal version of Rent the Runway.
To hear QEII tell it, the whole coronation experience was pretty rough. A preview of her documentary interview sees her describing various elements as "horrible" and "not very comfortable." But fear not: If Prince Charles got through Gordonstoun, he can get through this.