By Stephen Eisenhammer
LONDON (Reuters) - More than 450 years after adorning one of Britain's most famous regal heads, the lost crown of Henry VIII has been re-created at the monarch's former palace on the outskirts of London.
The crown, which was melted down in 1649 to swell government coffers following Oliver Cromwell's triumph over royal forces in England's civil war, has been assembled from detailed descriptions and portraits of the time.
Recorded as the "kingis crowne of golde" in a royal inventory in 1521, it was worn at the coronations of Henry's children Edward, Mary and Elizabeth, and later at those of James I and Charles I.
The replica weighs 3 kg (6.6 lbs) and is hand-crafted with 344 jewels and pearls. It will take center stage at Henry's Hampton Court Palace home when its Chapel Royal opens this month after seven years of restoration.
Simone Sagi, spokeswoman for Hampton Court, said the crown would only rarely have been seen in public.
"It was only worn on very major occasions such as Epiphany, and would have been worn on the processional route at Hampton Court Palace", she told Reuters.
The re-creation of the crown had involved a large variety of different teams and experts, including Harry Collins who retired this year as Crown jeweller.
It goes on display from October 27.
(Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer)