Camilla, the Queen Consort, will be wearing Queen Mary's crown for King Charles's Coronation on 6 May, 2023. According to Buckingham Palace, the accessory has been removed from display at the Tower of London for modification work, marking the first time a Queen Consort's crown has been re-used since the 18th century. (Typically, a new commission is made for the accessory.) The Queen Mother (Queen Elizabeth's mother and Charles's grandmother) previously wore the piece to King George VI's 1937 coronation.
While Buckingham Palace has detailed a few of the changes that will be made to the jewels on the piece, originally crafted by Garrard — for example, the crown will be reset with the Cullinan III, IV, and V diamonds from Queen Elizabeth II's personal collection, which she often wore as brooches; and four arches will be removed — the jewel that was originally faced at the focal point is what stirred initial controversy leading up to these final decisions.
The Koh-i-Nûr diamond in question, which will now be replaced, was first brought to the UK by the former East India Company. While it ultimately ended up as part of Queen Victoria's collection, some Indians have called for it to be returned because it was taken as a result of colonization. Meanwhile, people in Pakistan and Afghanistan have also tried to exert ownership claims over the striking jewel.
Prior to the Queen Mother's 1937 crown, which reportedly features 2,800 diamonds total, the Koh-i-Nûr diamond had been part of the coronation crown of Queen Alexandra, King Edward VII's wife, in 1902. And in 1911, the same diamond made an appearance in yet another crown for yet another coronation ceremony — this time for Queen Mary, wife of King George V.
Ahead, see how to crown appeared in 1937, and watch this space to see its transformation on Camilla for the 6 May coronation, where His Majesty The King will wear St Edward's Crown — which has already been modified.
— Additional reporting by Sarah Wasilak