MIRROR Online: LONDON, England, By Ellie Fry – The Queen’s coffinmade its final journey from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, where her body will lie in state for four days ahead of her state funeral on Monday. A gun carriage of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery carried the Queen ‘s coffin through central London, as King Charles walks solemnly behind the coffin accompanied by his two sons, Prince William and the Duke of Sussex.
In a powerful representation of her 70-year reign, the coffin is delicately draped with the Royal Standard, on which the Imperial State Crown lies on a velvet cushion – with a wreath of flowers featuring foliage from the gardens at her Balmoral and Windsor residences.
The Imperial State Crown lies on a velvet cushion
Encrusted with a dazzling array of diamonds, the breathtaking crown is by far the most staggering piece in the Crown Jewels.
Despite being the only person in the country to don the priceless crown, the late Queen could only wear it on very rare occasions as it was very, very heavy and therefore incredibly dangerous to wear.
Her Majesty revealed the perils of wearing the Imperial State Crown in a 2018 BBC documentary where she discussed the 65th anniversary of her coronation.
Alastair Bruce, an expert on the Crown Jewels who had a conversation with the late monarch in the programme, explained: “It’s difficult to always remember that diamonds are stones and so they’re very heavy.”
The Queen’s coffin is being carried on a gun carriage
Her Majesty replied: “Yes, fortunately, my father and I have about the same sort of shaped head. But once you put it on it stays. I mean it just remains on.”
When quizzed on how she manages to keep her head positioned when wearing such heavy headwear, the late Queen said: “You can’t look down to read the speech, you have to take the speech up.
“Because if you did, your neck would break – it would fall off.
“So there are some disadvantages to crowns, but otherwise they’re quite important things.”
The Imperial State Crown was originally made for King George VI’s coronation in 1937.
The crown is dangerously heavy Image: Getty Images
The crown features 2,868 diamonds with other gemstones Image: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images
The design was based on the crown worn by Queen Victoria in 1838, adorned with a number of priceless gemstones including the Second Star of Africa, the Black Prince’s Ruby, the Stuart Sapphire and St Edward’s Sapphire.
In total there are 2,868 diamonds in silver mounts, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and 269 pearls.
Owing to its sparkling embellishments, the sheer weight of the crown means that the Queen had to break tradition and opt out of wearing it twice during her reign.
In 2017, the late monarch decided against wearing a crown at all during a ceremonial procession relating to the snap election.
The late monarch couldn’t look down when wearing the crown Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images
In 2019, she rejected the Imperial State Crown once more and instead opted for a lighter crown for her Queen’s Speech.
Thousands of people are queuing to pay their respects to the Queen in London as the historic procession sees Her Majesty’s coffin travel to Windsor Castle.
Plans have been made for queues to stretch back ten miles, as tens of thousands of mourners flock to the capital to honour the late monarch.
Following the monumental procession, the Queen’s body will lie in state in Westminster Hall until her funeral on Monday, September 19.