Crown jewels are returned to the public spotlight
Thursday 24 March 1994
Instead of queuing in corridors visitors will be entertained by a series of film clips of the 1953 Coronation and close-up shots of crown, sceptre and orb while they wait to enter the new jewel house.
It will allow up to 20,000 visitors a day to see the Crown jewels. The previous display in a bunker at the Tower was designed to withstand nuclear attack while the present display is intended to make a terrorist assault difficult. The glass containers holding the jewels will withstand a moderate amount of Semtex.
The central part of the exhibition has been designed with a moving pavement, which at busy times takes visitors past a splendid display of the most important crowns, the sceptres and orb.
It moves at a speed of one-third of a mile an hour, time enough to be dazzled by the world's largest diamond - the First Star of Africa set in the Sceptre with Cross.
It is a journey of superlatives secretly observed by more than a 100 hidden cameras. A showcase of various ritual vessels contains a Grand Punch Bowl made from solid silver weighing a quarter of a ton - which requires 144 bottles of claret to work at full capacity.
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