Why the Queen Wears Two Crowns to the State Opening of Parliament – and Other Burning Questions Answered!

Hint: These headpieces are seriously heavy

Photo: Getty

When you possess the world’s most incredible jewelry box, the accessory choices are limitless – especially when grand occasions like the State Opening of Parliament make your annual to-do list.

So it goes for Queen Elizabeth, who dutifully fulfilled her role at Parliament in London on Wednesday morning.

And yet for all her jewels, the 90-year-old monarch sticks to a tried-and-true headpiece for this particular occasion: the 3-lb. Imperial State Crown. (Yes, that is more than the weight of two Chipotle burritos!)

This year she paired it with a white state dress by her main dressmaker Angela Kelly, Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee necklace and crown pearl drop earrings.

There has been one exception to this rule: Before her coronation in 1953 she wore the State Diadem crown, which she still wears each year for the short carriage journey (accompanied by more than a hundreds guards on horseback) from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.

For her coronation nearly 63 years ago, she wore the St. Edward’s Crown, which is even heavier at almost 5 lbs. (She changed into the “lighter” Imperial State Crown to exit Westminster Abbey that historic June day.)

While the Queen is required to wear a crown for such occasions, her daughter-in-law Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall is freer to wear what she likes – and on Wednesday chose the Boucheron Tiara, which previously belonged to the Queen Mum.

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“All the jewels belong to the Queen, but Prince Charles likes Camilla to wear some of the Queen Mother’s jewelry,” says royal historian Hugo Vickers.

The tiara, which Camilla has worn at previous state openings, was left to the late Queen Mother by the Hon. Mrs. Greville in 1942. The Queen Mother ordered the additions – they can be seen sticking up slightly – to customize the piece to her liking.

Charles and his father Prince Philip wore the Admiral of the Fleet naval uniform, along with the collar for the Order of the Garter and a sash from the Order of the Thistle. Of all the honors available to them, these are the top two orders so they are chosen to adorn their uniforms. The Garter takes precedence over the Thistle which is worn as a sash, Vickers explains.

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