Camilla, wife of King Charles III and the Queen Consort of Great Britain, Northern Island and the British realm.
On Saturday, May 6, 203, King Charles III will be coronated as the of state of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and 14 other Commonwealth realms at a ceremony in Westminster Abbey in London. Alongside him will be crowned Camilla, the Queen Consort.
Charles, of course, is already king, but the coronation is a symbolic religious and ceremony during which there is the physical act of placing a crown on his head and that of his consort.
After being presented with the Royal Orb, which represents religious and moral authority; the Scepter, which represents power; and the Sovereign’s Scepter, a symbol of justice and mercy, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual head of the Church of England, will places St. Edward’s Crown on the King Charles’s head. The Queen Consort will then be anointed and crowned as well.
There has been a fair amount of controversy regarding the crown that Camilla will wear. Many had expected it would be the Queen Mary coronation crown, which currently has as its centerpiece the Koh-i-Noor diamond. In the possession of the British monarchy since 1849, it nonetheless has been claimed at different times by India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and even the Afghani Taliban.
Charles actually will remove the St. Edward’s Crown, from his head at the end of the ceremony in the Abbey, and when he later appears before the crowds on the Buckingham Palace balcony will be wearing the Imperial State Crown. It, too, is set with a controversial stone, the Cullinan II, sometimes called the Second Star of Africa, which was King given to Edward VII on his 66th birthday by the government of the former British colony, the Republic of Transvaal, in what is now South Africa.
The Queen Mary Coronation Crown, which Camilla will wear in a reconstructed form, with Koh-i-Noor diamond removed.
SIDESTEPPING A CONTROVERSY
The organizers of the ceremony managed to sidestep the 105.6-carat Koh-i-Noor issue by announcing that, while she will wear the headpiece first worn by Queen Mary at the 1911 coronation of Charles’ great grandfather, King George V, it will be modified. This will include removing the Indian diamond, but resetting the South African Cullinan III, IV and V diamonds, and removing four of its eight half-arches
The Koh-i-Noor will remain in the Crown of Queen Elizabeth II, Charles’ late mother.
The Queen Mary Crown is an Art Deco–inspired crown piece Garrard & Co. that King George IV bought out his own pocket before being crowned, hoping it would become an heirloom worn by future queens consort. In its pre-modified form it has eight half-arches instead of the more typical four half-arches.
Some 25 centimeters in height and weighing 590 grams, the crown has around 2,200 rose-cut and brilliant-cut diamonds, it originally contained the Koh-i-Noor diamond, as well as the 94.4-carat Cullinan III and 63.6-carat) Cullinan IV diamonds.
In 1914, those diamonds were replaced with crystal replicas, and the crown’s arches were made detachable so it could be worn as an open crown
Mary wore it like this after her husband died in 1936, and, in 1937, the year that her son George VI was coronated, the Cullinan V was added to the crown.
Following her death in 1953 the crown was put on display at the Tower of London with the Crown Jewels.
THE QUEEN CONSORT’S DIAMOND
The Koh-i-Noor was discovered in what is today India, somewhere between the 12th Century to 14th Century. First the possession of the Kakatiyan dynasty, it is known to have been held by Mughals in the 16th century, and thereafter was seized first by the Persians and then the Afghans.
The Sikh Maharajah returned the diamond to to India after taking it from Afghan leader Shah Shujah Durrani, but the British seized it during 1840s during the annexation of Punjab.
The diamond was presented to Queen Victoria on July 1850. She had it mounted in a honeysuckle brooch and a circlet. At the stage it was not part of the Crown Jewels at the time, allegedly because the queen was embarrassed about how she had come to own it.
After Queen Victoria’s death, the Koh-i-Noor was set in the crown of the new Queen consort, Alexandra, the wife of King Edward VII, and it was used at their coronation in 1902.
It was transferred to Queen Mary’s Crown in 1911, and to the Queen Mother’s Crown in 1937.
The St. Edward’s Crown, which will placed on the head of King Charles III during the coronation ceremony in Westminster Cathedral on May 6, 2023.