Image: Koh-I-Noor – www.britannica.com
Not until Saturday, May 6, will Charles be officially crowned King of the United Kingdom. Britons especially wonder what Camilla’s crown will look like.
Britain’s queen consort Camilla will wear the crown of Queen Mary, wife of King George V (1865-1936), at her husband’s coronation.
That announcement from the royal palace puts an end to rumors that Camilla wanted to put on the crown of Charles’ grandmother, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the so-called Queen Mother’s crown. That crown contains the world’s largest diamond, the Koh-i-Noor.
The speculation caused annoyance in India because the Koh-i-Noor was taken from India as spoils of war in the 19th century by the British East India Company to offer to the then Queen Victoria.
Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, said recently that using the diamond would “evoke painful memories of the colonial past.”
In 1937, Charles’ grandmother Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the mother of Elizabeth II, who died last year, had the diamond incorporated into the crown made for her. Today, the Koh-i-Noor is claimed by India as well as Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Cullinan III, IV and V
Camilla’s crown features diamonds from Elizabeth II’s private estate. They are the Cullinan III, IV and V, some of the personal diamonds that Elizabeth often pinned on as a brooch.
Incidentally, this is not the first time the diamonds have been placed in Queen Mary’s crown. The Cullinan III and IV were already temporarily used in 1911, the Cullinan V was already placed at the coronation of George VI in 1937.
With her choice, Camilla is “recycling” a crown for the first time since the 18th century. Earlier, Queen Caroline, wife of George II, also did so.
Buckingham Palace stresses that this is the first time in recent history that an existing crown is being reused and not a new one created.
This is being done, according to the Palace, as part of “sustainability and efficiency”. The crown has already been removed from the museum where it is normally displayed. In the modifications, four of the eight arches will be removed, to give the impression that this is a different crown than it was in 1911.
Charles himself will have the St. Edward’s crown put on at the coronation at Westminster Abbey, the top piece of Britain’s crown jewels. That crown was made in 1661 for his distant predecessor Charles II.
The coronation itself is estimated to take only an hour. In the past, the proceedings sometimes took an entire day.