Consorts’ Crown

Visitors to the Tower of London’s Jewel House will be awed by three things: the level of security given to our nation’s priceless crown jewels; the beauty of the precious stones and the metals on which they sit; the number of crowns and sceptres in the collection. A monarch only has one head, yet 12 crowns are there kept. Three are for his or her use- the St Edward’s, with which he or she is initially crowned; the State Crown, used on all subsequent occasions (it is marginally more comfortable to wear); the Imperial Crown of India, made to celebrate the short-lived Raj. So what are all the others? They are consort crowns.

A consort queen is the wife of a king (as opposed to a regnal queen, one like ours who reigns in her own right) and is given a crown to wear. It is usually less impressive than the king’s, but splendid nevertheless. She wears it by virtue of being the king’s spouse. The Tower’s collection includes:

Queen Mary’s crown from 1911, contained 2,200 brilliant-cut and rose-cut diamonds.

Queen Elizabeth’s from 1937; it is the latest addition to the regalia, and is made of platinum rather than the traditional gold or silver. It includes a large diamond given to Queen Victoria by the Turkish Sultan in 1865 for Britain’s support in the Crimean War. It also has the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond, weighing 105.6 carats.  

There is also the crown of Mary of Modena, an aged seventeenth-century consort’s crown which some queens have refused to wear on account of its disrepair and being unfashionable. 

For any readers concerned by the profligacy of having so many crowns a-glittering with thousands of diamonds, it should be noted that the precious stones are recycled each time, the previous crowns’ frames being topped up with quartz and cut glass.

The Church- by which I mean the universal community of believers- is called the Bride of Christ. This expression is most beautifully used in Revelation 21. Although there is no indication that the Church, the spouse of the King, is crowned, the scriptures talk of individual believers wearing crowns. See here for my previous thoughts on the matter. Whatever our crowns, they will be of the consort variety. We will not be glorified for our own sakes, for we will not even enter the heavenly kingdom on our own merit. Rather, by simple virtue of being Christ’s beloved, His consort, His bride, His spouse, we shall be crowned with His honour and glory. In first Corinthians 11, the apostle states that man is the glory of God and woman the glory of man; how much more will the entire Church be the glory of Christ?

Christ will make His seeking lover
  Pillar, couch, and palanquin,
E’en a crown, His boast and glory;
  He will do it all! Amen!

His beloved—how He loves her,
So attractive, His delight.
He is captivated wholly;
She is comely in His sight.

-Ada Gibson