Antique & Estate Jewelry / Diamonds

Queen Consort Camilla Modifies Queen Mary’s Crown Ahead Of Coronation


King Charles III’s coronation is less than eight weeks away, which means the royal family has been busy tying up any loose ends and adding all of the finishing touches ahead of the big event on May 6. And when that day arrives, all eyes will be on King Charles III, but Queen Consort Camilla will be making history of her own; she’s the first consort to be coronated in an existing crown (rather than a newly commissioned one) since the 18th century (when the consort of King George II, Queen Caroline, wore Mary of Modena’s). For the occasion, Queen Consort Camilla chose the crown of Queen Mary, consort of King George V, to wear “in the interests of sustainability and efficiency,” according to the palace—with a few modifications.

Queen Mary's Crown
Queen Mary’s original crown from the 1911 coronation

“Some minor changes and additions will be undertaken by the Crown Jeweller, in keeping with the longstanding tradition that the insertion of jewels is unique to the occasion, and reflects the Consort’s individual style,” the palace said in a statement.

Queen Elizabeth
The late Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Cullinan III and IV diamonds in a brooch she affectionately called “Granny’s Chips” that’s worth about $50 million.

The changes will pay homage to the late Queen Elizabeth II as the crown is reset with pieces from her personal collection: the Cullinan III, IV, and V diamonds she wore as brooches, specifically. But as with many things associated with Camilla, the family of Cullinan diamonds aren’t without controversy. After Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, South African activists issued a petition with over 6,000 signatures demanding that the Cullinan I stone (weighing approximately 530 carats) be returned to where it was sourced and displayed in a local museum; the palace never extended an official response.

By paying respect to those before her as she looks to the future, honoring the past while infusing her own perspective, however, Queen Consort Camilla is setting herself up for an optimistic new chapter.

At top: Queen Mary, the consort of King George V, sits for a portrait with her husband after the 1911 coronation, wearing the crown that she commissioned Garrard’s to make for her (the same crown that’s being modified for the upcoming coronation in May). 

(Photos courtesy of Buckingham Palace)

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By: Annie Davidson

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