Prince Charles' investiture as the Prince of Wales, a centuries-old tradition, took place on July 1, 1969 at Caernarfon Castle in Wales

By Stephanie Petit
February 13, 2020 12:05 PM
Eddie Mulholland/ Pool/Getty

Prince Charles and his coronet meet again!

Queen Elizabeth‘s eldest son and heir visited the Tower of London with wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall on Thursday, where he reunited with a special piece of his own royal history. They were shown the coronet — a small or simple crown worn by royals lesser than the monarch — that Charles wore at his investiture as the Prince of Wales in 1969.

The headpiece was designed by Louis Osman especially for Prince Charles‘ ceremony, as Queen Elizabeth‘s uncle Edward took the previous coronet with him — in an illegal act — after his 1936 abdication. That design had been created for King George V, who wore it at his father’s coronation in 1902. That crown made its way back to the Tower of London after Edward’s death in 1972, where it is on display with the coronet of Prince Frederick from 1728.

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall

Charles’ coronet is a 24-carat gold base with a purple velvet cap and includes a gold-plated ping-pong ball (really!) in the center engraved with the Prince of Wales insignia. Surrounding the centerpiece are 13 square diamonds arranged as his star sign, the constellation Scorpio. It is also decorated with diamonds and emeralds, as green is the national color of Wales.

Osman described the design as “something that is modern.”

Prince Charles' coronet
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Prince Charles’ investiture, a centuries-old tradition, took place on July 1, 1969 at Caernarfon Castle in Wales, when he was 20 years old. The Queen bestowed upon her son five pieces of insignia: a sword, a coronet, a ring, the gold rod and the kingly mantle.

The heir also took an oath: “I, Charles, Prince of Wales, do become your liege man of life and limb and of earthly worship and faith and truth I will bear unto thee to live and die against all manner of folks.”

The event was featured in season 3 of Netflix’s The Crown, with Olivia Colman portraying the monarch and Josh O’Connor as her son.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles
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Prince Charles
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Charles, 71, and Camilla, 72, were visiting the Tower of London to celebrate 535 years since the creation of Yeoman Warders (Beefeaters) and join a reception with VisitBritain/VisitEngland to celebrate 50 years of the British Tourist Authority.

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