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The Crown Jewels: The past, the present, the future

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Queen Elizabeth II.
Queen Elizabeth II.
Photo: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II was laid to rest on Monday, 19 September. Before the longest-reigning monarch was lowered into the royal vault at St George's Chapel, in a significant moment, the imperial crown, orb and sceptre, were removed from the coffin and placed on three red cushions on the altar.

The jewels are symbols of the monarchy's spiritual and temporal power; the removal, along with the Lord Chamberlain – the most senior official in the royal household – breaking his "wand of office", marked the end of Queen Elizabeth II's reign, before the congregation, apart from Charles III, sang God Save the King.

One couldn't help but look on in awe at the pageantry of it all as the queen's lone piper played a lament from the North Quire Aisle, the sound slowly fading - the end of an era. But the queen's death was, as was her reign, marred by Britain's colonial past.

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