Jewellery

Queen Camilla to wear Queen Mary’s crown at the coronation without the Koh-i-Noor diamond

The Queen Mary's Crown was originally designed by Garrard for the 1911 coronation of Mary of Teck as Queen Consort

15 February 2023

By Something About Rocks

The Queen Consort will wear the historic Queen Mary’s Crown for the coronation, Buckingham Palace has announced.

It has also been confirmed that the controversial Koh-i-Noor diamond, which has come to be associated with the queen consort role, will not feature in Camilla’s coronation crown.

Queen Camilla
Camilla, Queen Consort, gives a speech as she visits the S.T.O.R.M Family Centre on February 9, 2023, in London (Photo by Toby Melville/Getty Images)

One of the largest cut diamonds in the world, the 105.6 carat Koh-i-Noor diamond originally hails from Northern India. It can be traced back to the 17th century, according to Smithsonian magazine, and was one of two jewels that featured as the centrepieces of the Peacock Throne, commissioned by Mughal ruler Shah Jahan who built the Taj Mahal. It was later owned by the Kings of the Punjab and came to Queen Victoria after their defeat by the British Raj.

The State Crown of Queen Mary (Photo by Ullstein Bild/Getty Images)

The crown itself has been removed from display at the Tower of London for modification work ahead of the ceremony in May.

This is the first time since the 18th-century that an existing crown will be used for the coronation of a consort instead of a new commission being made.

The crown was originally made by Garrard for the 1911 coronation of King Charles III’s great-grandmother, Mary of Teck as Queen Consort, wife of King George V.

Queen Camilla
Vintage illustration of the State Crown of Queen Mary (Photo by GraphicaArtis/Getty Images)

Some changes and additions will be made by the Crown Jeweller, in keeping with the tradition that jewels are inserted uniquely, especially for the occasion, to reflect the Queen Consort’s individual style.

These changes will honour the late Queen Elizabeth II by replacing the Koh-i-Noor gem with the Cullinan III, IV and V diamonds, which were part of Her Majesty’s personal jewellery collection and often worn as brooches. 

George V and Queen Mary in their coronation robes
George V and Queen Mary wearing their coronation robes in 1911 (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)

In addition to the diamonds, four of the crown’s eight detachable arches will be removed, giving the headpiece a different silhouette from when it was worn by Queen Mary at the 1911 coronation.

Camilla chose to modify the existing crown, rather than commission a new one as is customary, to be more sustainable, Buckingham Palace said.

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