The royal family is gearing up for King Charles III’s coronation on May 6, 2023, and Buckingham Palace just revealed one of the most highly-anticipated details: the tiara that Camilla will be crowned with. On Tuesday, February 14, 2023, the palace announced that Queen Mary’s Crown, a headpiece encrusted with 2,200 diamonds, will do the honors.
This isn’t the first time the accessory has made an appearance at a coronation. In 1911, Queen Mary wore the glittery accessory when she took part in the coronation with her husband, King George V. According to the palace, a queen consort hasn’t been crowned with an existing headpiece in about 300 years, so Queen Mary’s Crown is making recent coronation history. Queen Caroline, consort of George II, was the last queen consort to reuse a tiara for a coronation that took place in the 18th century. Buckingham Palace cites “sustainability and efficiency” as the reasons why Camilla will repurpose a tiara instead of commissioning a new one.
Even though this tiara has been used in past coronations, this one will include a special nod to Queen Elizabeth II. The accessory will be reset with Cullinan III, IV, and V diamonds, which the late monarch owned and often wore as brooches. These cluster of diamonds were also set into Queen Mary’s Crown during the 1911 coronation. The jewels are part of the Cullinan diamond, which is the largest ever found in history, according to People.
Additionally, the tiara will feature another change to modernize it. Four of the eight arches will be removed, so the 2023 design of the crown won’t be an exact replica of the 1911 coronation crown. During the coronation of Queen Mary’s son, King George VI, in 1937, Queen Mary wore the tiara without the arches as well, the palace mentioned.
Garrard & Co. originally created Queen Mary’s Crown when it was commissioned for the 1911 ceremony. Originally, the headpiece included the Koh-i-Nûr diamond, but it has been removed and placed in a crown that Queen Elizabeth’s mother, Elizabeth, wore. Since that gemstone originated from India, it would represent a controversial past. A source told The Telegraph in October 2022, “The coronation of Camilla and the use of the crown jewel Koh-i-Nûr brings back painful memories of the colonial past. Most Indians have very little memory of the oppressive past. Five to six generations of Indians suffered under multiple foreign rules for over five centuries. The coronation of the new Queen Camilla and the use of the Koh-i-Nûr do transport a few Indians back to the days of the British Empire in India.”
Buckingham Palace also revealed that King Charles will wear St. Edward’s Crown for the coronation. The headpiece was previously stored at the Tower of London, but it was removed in December 2022 to make some adjustments ahead of the ceremony, People reports. Now, it is back on public display.