Search results

Start typing

Robert Vyner the Younger (active 1689)

Queen Mary II's Orb 1689

Gold, silver, pearls, rock crystal, paste (glass) | 14.6 cm (whole object) | RCIN 31719

Treasury, Jewel House

Your share link is...


  • A hollow gold orb, surmounted by a cross mounted with rose-cut and step-cut crystals; the zone and arc bordered by single rows of pearls in between which are silver collets set with rose-cut and octagonal step-cut quartz and imitation gems.

    The orb symbolises the Christian world, with its cross mounted on a globe, and its bands of jewels and pearls dividing it up to represent the three continents known in medieval Europe. Orbs have also been seen as symbols of imperial power since Roman and Byzantine times. The orb is presented to the sovereign as part of the Investiture of the monarch. This part of the coronation ceremony involves a series of symbolic ornaments relating to the chivalric aspects of kingship (including robes, spurs, swords, the armills, sceptres and rings). The orb is placed into the right hand of the monarch before being transferred to the altar.

    As Mary II ruled as a joint sovereign with her consort William III, she required a new orb and a new sceptre for the coronation ceremony of 1689. The stones in the orb, which were hired for the occasion, would originally have included diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds, all of which were removed after the ceremony and replaced with pastes. The orb has not been used since the 1689 coronation, except for the occasion of Queen Victoria's funeral, where it was placed with the other royal orb on the coffin, possibly to signify her two titles as Queen and Empress.

    Supplied for the coronation of Mary II in 1689 by the royal goldsmith Robert Vyner.

  • Medium and techniques

    Gold, silver, pearls, rock crystal, paste (glass)


    14.6 cm (whole object)

    20.5 cm (whole object)

    1070.0 g (Weight) (whole object)

  • Alternative title(s)

    The Queen's Orb

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.