Home News Queen Consort Camilla will wear a recycled crown, without cursed diamond

Queen Consort Camilla will wear a recycled crown, without cursed diamond


LONDON — Camilla, the Queen Consort, will wear a recycled crown at the coronation — and not the one showcasing the fabled Koh-i-Noor diamond, one of the world’s largest and most controversial gems, said by folklore to be cursed and by India to have been purloined.

When Camilla is crowned alongside her husband, the new King Charles III, at Westminster Abbey on May 6, she will wear the headpiece worn by Queen Mary at the 1911 coronation, Buckingham Palace said Tuesday.

That puts an end to speculation about whether the British royals might risk a diplomatic imbroglio by flaunting a gem to a global audience that India — and others — want back.

Will Camilla wear the diamond that India — and others — want back?

The palace said in a note to the press that the choice of Queen Mary’s Crown represents “the first time in recent history that an existing crown will be used” for the coronation of a consort, instead of a brand new crown being made.

So think … savings? The courtiers say this was being done “in the interests of sustainability and efficiency,” which sounds a bit like rummaging around in the Crown Jewels to find any odd tiara, which is not quite the case.

The House of Windsor artfully deploys religious ceremony and royal objects — like orbs, scepters, jewels — to reinforce its right to reign into the 21st century.

Sustainability is a big thing for Charles, who talks to trees — as many do — and sounded the alarm about climate change and species extinction long before it became a celebrity issue.

The emphasis on sustainability also nods to the discomfort of holding a lavish coronation at a time when the British economy isn’t doing all that well and masses of teachers, nurses and train workers are striking in the streets.

More than anything, though, the choice of Camilla’s crown demonstrates some nimble diplomacy.

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Speculation over whether she would wear the queen consort crown containing the Koh-i-Noor diamond was already provoking international tensions.

The Koh-i-Noor, Persian for “Mountain of Light,” is lighting in a bottle, in the sense that India — alongside Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Afghani Taliban — lays claim to gem, which was in the possession of many rulers, including India’s Mughal emperors, before coming into the hands of the British monarchy in 1849.

Britain has come under increased pressure to reassess its colonial legacy and the contested treasures it acquired while ruling over a vast worldwide empire. And India has repeatedly demanded the return of the diamond, which is the size of a small egg.

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For its part, the British government says the stone was legally acquired under the terms of the Last Treaty of Lahore — and it’s not going anywhere.

But it’s one thing to keep it in the Crown Jewels collection and another to broadcast it on television.

Camilla canceled her public engagements this week after testing positive for covid. But plans for the coronation continue to move ahead.

The palace said Queen Mary’s Crown has been removed from display at the Tower of London “for modification” — so it can be resized and re-bedecked. The “reused” crown will pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, the palace said, with the new inclusions of the Cullinan III, IV and V diamonds, which the late queen wore as brooches.

Coronation crown taken from Tower to be resized for King Charles III

While there have been calls for the repatriation of the Cullinan diamonds — gifted to King Edward VII by Boer leaders in South Africa — there is less heated controversy surrounding those stones.

Karla Adam contributed to this report.