Tower of London
Founded by William the Conqueror in 1066 and enlarged and modified by successive sovereigns, today the Tower of London is one of the world's most famous and spectacular fortresses. Discover its 900-year history as a royal palace and fortress, prison and place of execution, mint, arsenal, menagerie and jewel house.
For over 600 years kings and queens of England have stored crowns, robes and other valuable items of ceremonial regalia at the Tower of London. Since the 17th century, at least, this collection has been known as the 'Crown Jewels' and has been shown to visitors to the Tower.
Among the objects on display in the Jewel House are the magnificent solid gold St Edward's Crown (1661) made for the coronation of Charles II and used to crown Queen Elizabeth II in 1953; the Imperial State Crown (1937), worn by the sovereign on great state occasions; and the Sovereign's Sceptre with Cross and the Sovereign's Orb, used at the coronation of every monarch for 350 years. Some of the world's most exceptional and historic precious stones are to be found adorning objects in the collection. Among them Cullinan I and Cullinan II, the two largest top-quality cut diamonds in the world and the extraordinary and ancient Koh-i-Noor diamond. Other famous stones include the Stuart Sapphire, the Black Prince's Ruby, and St Edward's Sapphire all set in the Imperial State Crown.