The Crown Jewels sees presenter Clive Myrie explore the history and symbolism of the Crown Jewels as part of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
The one-off features Clive delve into the symbolic, historic and cultural value of the priceless collection that includes 13 crowns and nearly 24,000 gemstones, and is housed in the Tower of London.
He also traces the remarkable story of how Scotland's Crown Jewels, known as ‘the Honours’, were saved from being destroyed by Oliver Cromwell and even tries his hand at making a crown!
Here's everything we know about The Crown Jewels...
When is The Crown Jewels on?
The Crown Jewels is a one-off documentary and will be shown on BBC One on Friday, June 3 at 7.30pm. It will also be available on BBC iPlayer afterwards.
What happens in The Crown Jewels?
For this documentary, Clive travels across Britain to learn the dramatic stories behind the exquisite jewels.
With its rich history spanning from before the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066 to the present day, Clive uses cutting-edge technology to explore the jewels in great detail, all while he looks into the symbolic, historic and cultural value of the collection.
He even glimpses into The Queen's own experience of these treasures and even tries his dab hand at making a crown too.
Who is the host of The Crown Jewels?
He’s recently been busy reporting from war-torn Ukraine, so Clive was pleased to take on a rather less stressful assignment, much closer to home, as the presenter of this new documentary to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
We caught up with the 57–year-old journalist, newscaster and Mastermind presenter to find out more…
Clive, how familiar were you with the Crown Jewels before making this documentary?
"I’d been to the Tower of London, but hadn’t seen the Crown Jewels, so it has been fascinating finding about their history, and how they embody monarchy, power and strength. That’s why Oliver Cromwell felt he had to destroy them!"
With your Jamaican heritage, what did the Crown Jewels and monarchy mean to you?
"My mother was a teacher in Jamaica and led her school party out to greet the Queen and Prince Philip on their tour of the Caribbean in the early 1950s. So my parents had a reverence for and link to the monarchy that I never really had as a child growing up in Lancashire.'
How close did you get to these priceless objects?
"There’s so much protocol! For instance, you can’t look down on a crown, because only God can do that! The only one I touched was a recreation of Henry VIII's crown. It was huge and weighed around four kilograms!"
What was your first impression?
"Shock and awe, and that's what it's about! They're supposed to be the manifestation of that distance between the commoner and royalty."
Are we seeing the Crown Jewels in a new light in this film?
"Yes, we used high resolution cameras and special lenses that can really get inside them, and see how the light bounces off the different facets so that it practically glows – they call it the ‘fire’. I think we managed to nick the kit Sir David Attenborough normally uses!"
How did you get on when you worked with a crown-maker?
"These are incredible craftsmen and women, and it just makes you think: how did they do all this back in medieval times? I was shown how to make one of the crosses used on the recreation of Henry VIII’s crown. Unfortunately, I was sawing too hard and I broke the tool!"
Why are the Crown Jewels and the monarchy important?
"Our royal family continues to have that binding effect on the nation. We particularly saw that during COVID, when the Queen gave a speech saying that one day we will all meet again? That was a huge moment. That sense of national unity is even more important now, in the fractured age we live in."
What will you be doing to celebrate the Jubilee?
"I live in a garden square, and we usually have a party in the middle of the square on royal occasions. And this is one hell of a royal occasion! I'm hoping I'll be able to toast Her Majesty's health."
Will you be baking the special Jubilee cake?
"I’ll leave that to my wife, who’s way better at baking cakes than me! I was asked to go on the Great British Bake Off and I said no. It would have been embarrassing! Let’s just say there are things that I'm good at, and cooking is not one of them."
Of all the amazing stories connected with the Crown Jewels, which one made the greatest impression?
"The stories around how the Scots managed to keep their Crown Jewels, ‘the Honours’, out of the clutches of Cromwell. They were spirited out of a castle while it was surrounded, ended up in a bag of seaweed on the beach, and were hidden in the floor of a church for almost a decade!"
What did you take away from making this program?
"How important the Crown Jewels are to our sense of identity, and what it means to be part of this United Kingdom. They are the obvious symbols of monarchy, and the monarchy is a binding agent for these different countries that we have."
Is there a trailer?
There's currently no trailer out for this documentary.
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Ian writes about TV and film for TV Times, What’s on TV and TV & Satellite Week magazines. He co-hosts the weekly TV streaming podcast, Bingewatch.