The Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom are considered to be some of the most beautiful and valuable in the world. They have been protected under armed guard at the Tower of London since the 1600s, and now the mystery surrounding what happened to the precious regalia during the Second World War has been uncovered.
Important gemstones from the Crown Jewels were hidden inside a biscuit tin at Windsor Castle, a new BBC programme will reveal.
Following speculation that the artefacts were moved to Windsor during the war, the documentary, titled The Coronation, will reveal how the treasures were stored in a deep hole following orders from King George VI.
The stones, including the Black Prince's Ruby and St Edward's Sapphire from the Imperial State Crown, were hidden beneath a sally port – a secure entryway to the castle – in two chambers.
[The Imperial State Crown]
Royal commentator Alastair Bruce, who discusses the Crown Jewels with Queen Elizabeth II in the documentary, made the discovery about the jewels when he uncovered letters from the royal librarian to Queen Mary, the mother of George VI, which described how they were hidden.
Bruce says the Queen was unaware of the full story.
"I think it's gripping how personally involved George VI was and how secretive he was about it," Bruce told The Times.
"I think like father, like daughter, this sense of how utterly important the Crown Jewels are to the country is very much felt by Elizabeth II. I think that is one of the reasons why she has chosen in the 65th anniversary [of her coronation] to allow us this extraordinary unique access to the Crown Jewels and for her to take part in helping to bring them to life."
The documentary is part of the Royal Collection Season, a major partnership between Royal Collection Trust and the BBC, which includes programming across radio and television in January and February.
The Coronation will air on BBC One at 8pm on Sunday, January 14.
From Good Housekeeping UK
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