Documentary
BBC

About The Crown Jewels

A single jewel in the Tower of London has seen the rise and fall of more empires, caused more bad luck, and been more prized than any other precious stone on Earth. The Kohinoor is the most famous – and infamous – diamond in the world, but it’s only one of tens of thousands of jewels and numerous crowns that make up Britain’s most valuable treasure – the Crown Jewels. Now, to mark the Queen’s historic Platinum Jubilee, 70 years on the throne, Clive Myrie explores the objects that symbolize her authority.

Collected over centuries by British Kings and Queens, these objects are now used on ceremonial State occasions including the Coronation where they announce the arrival of every new Monarch.  With unprecedented access and the latest technology, Clive Myrie reveals the magnificent, astonishing, complicated thousand-year history buried within The Crown Jewels.

Courtesy of unique access to film the Crown Jewels and with the help of special macro photography techniques, Clive reveals these world famous objects, and the diamonds and other precious jewels that adorn them, in a level of detail that no one has ever seen before.

With such unprecedented access and with special macro photograph techniques, Clive reveals the jewels in such exquisite detail that no one has ever seen before. This footage adds depth to the stories we hear the Queen recount of the origin of the jewels, revealing whether or not these legends prove true.

At the Collins family workshop, official jewellers to the Queen, Clive learns the value of our national treasures: it is not only weight, cut and colour and rarity that add value. The provenance and history of the Crown Jewels collection render them beyond price. This astonishing craftsmanship is clear as we get a glimpse of the jewellers at work.

Using cutting-edge filming techniques never-previously applied to the Jewels, Clive discovers the craftsmanship that confirms the age of the Coronation Spoon: 900 years old. Another ancient piece is the emerald that sits atop St Edward’s Crown which was originally removed from a ring buried with King Edward the Confessor in 1066. St Edward’s Crown, like other Crowns, is so sacred it cannot be filmed or even observed from above.

Clive investigates the controversy surrounding some of these treasured items. The fabled Kohinoor diamond, received by the Crown as a spoil of war in 1846, after the British annexation of the Punjab, symbolizes the legacy of Empire. Author Anita Anand explores its complicated history.

These Jewels reveal the story for good or ill of our island over the last thousand years. It is a complicated history, but it is one illuminated by some of the most beautiful objects ever crafted. Seventy years after some of them were last used, are they merely relics of a bygone era? Or are they valuable symbols of heritage?

Watch Now on iplayer

Credits

Presented by
Clive Myrie

Produced and Directed by
Harvey Lilley

Executive Producer
Anthony Geffen

Editors
Sally Yeadon
William Ennals

Commissioning Editor
Simon Young

Director of Photography
Louis Caulfield
Mike Robinson

Associate Producer
Alastair Bruce

Assistant Producer
John Shirely

Head of Production
Katie Davies

Line Producer
Caroline Daly

Production Manager
Francesca Atzori

Production Coordinator
Tanya Severn

Production Secretary
Anna Trebble

Production Assistant
Charlotte Fletcher

Original Music by
Ty Unwin
Jamie Farnell Warren

Drone
Hugo Saunders
Sam Short

Motion Control Assist
Joe Cox

Additional Cameras
Ian Chisholm

Camera Assistants
Matt Cardiff
Nick Gaven
Rasmus Rani
Cosmo Robinson
Alex Williams

Special Projects Manager
Charlie Hinshelwood

For Atlantic Productions
Mimi Gilligan
Vincent Pretorius
Claudia Perkins

Facilities
Evolutions

Visual Effects
Zoo VFX
Edit Assistant
Kamila Stopyra
Facilities Manager

Assistant Gaffer
Romaine Foster

Gaffer
Marco Di Giolio

Sound Recordists
Martin Evanso
Simon Forrester
Paul Nathan
Rob Thomas

With Special Thanks to
Historic Royal Palaces
Royal Collection Trust
The Royal Household
Tower of London

With Thanks to
Dunnottar Castl
G. Collins and Sons
Hampton Court Palace
Historic Environment Scotland
Kinneff Old Church
Natural History Museum London
The Society of Antiquaries of London
Westminster Abbey

Archive Sources
Alamy
Axiom Images
British Library/Bridgeman Images
British Pathe Ltd
Getty Images
ITV Archive
(C) The National Gallery, London
POND5
The Royal Collection Trust (C) 2022, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II