Queen Camilla's Coronation Crown Will Be a Modern Royal First — and Honor Queen Elizabeth II

Buckingham Palace has revealed which royal headpiece will be used to crown Queen Camilla at the May 6 coronation

The historic royal heirloom that will be placed on Queen Camilla's head when she is crowned alongside King Charles III on May 6 has been revealed.

The Queen Consort will wear the spectacular Queen Mary's Crown, Buckingham Palace announced on Tuesday. The crown, set with 2,200 diamonds, was worn by Queen Mary when she took part in the coronation alongside her husband, King George V, in 1911.

It will mark the first time in recent history that an existing crown will be used for the coronation of a Queen Consort instead of a new commission being made, the palace said, "in the interests of sustainability and efficiency." The last time a Queen Consort's crown was reused was in the 18th century, when Queen Caroline, consort of George II, wore Mary of Modena's crown.

The crown will be slightly altered to include a special touch honoring the late Queen Elizabeth II. Work is underway to reset the headpiece with the Cullinan III, IV and V diamonds that were part of the late monarch's personal jewelry collection. She often wore them as brooches.

Queen Mary's Crown
Queen Mary's Crown. Alamy Stock Photo

The Cullinan diamonds (which are part of the famous Cullinan diamond, the largest ever found) have been set into Queen Mary's Crown on previous occasions, including when the Cullinan III and IV were temporarily set in the crown for the 1911 coronation.

Camilla, Queen Consort during the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace on November 22, 2022 in London, England. This is the first state visit hosted by the UK with King Charles III as monarch, and the first state visit here by a South African leader since 2010
Queen Camilla. Chris Jackson/Getty

Another change will see four of the crown's eight detachable arches removed to create "a different impression to when the Crown was worn by Queen Mary at the 1911 Coronation," Buckingham Palace said in the announcement. Queen Mary wore the crown without the arches at the coronation of her son, King George VI, in 1937.

The announcement settles an ongoing discussion among royal watchers about what Queen Camilla will wear at Westminster Abbey on May 6. King Charles will wear the historic and traditional St. Edward's Crown.

Queen Mary's Crown — which was created by Garrard & Co. and commissioned for use at the June 1911 ceremony — originally contained the Koh-i-Nûr diamond, but the jewel was removed and placed in the crown used by Queen Elizabeth II's mother (also called Elizabeth), the Royal Collection says. Not using the Koh-i-Nûr diamond avoids controversy over the piece, which is periodically at the center of demands for it to be returned to India, from where it originated.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 18: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall arrives at The State Opening of Parliament on May 18, 2016 in London, England. The State Opening of Parliament is the formal start of the parliamentary year. This year's Queen's Speech, setting out the government's agenda for the coming session, is expected to outline policy on prison reform, tuition fee rises and reveal the potential site of a UK spaceport. (Photo by Eddie Mulholland - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Queen Camilla. Eddie Mulholland - WPA Pool/Getty

In October, a source from the Bharatiya Janata Party in India told The Telegraph, "The coronation of Camilla and the use of the crown jewel Koh-i-Nûr brings back painful memories of the colonial past."

"Most Indians have very little memory of the oppressive past. Five to six generations of Indians suffered under multiple foreign rules for over five centuries," the source said. "The coronation of the new Queen Camilla and the use of the Koh-i-Nûr do transport a few Indians back to the days of the British Empire in India."

King Charles and Queen Camilla Welcome Genocide Survivors to Buckingham Palace for Holocaust Memorial Day

Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

The St. Edward's Crown, which Charles will wear, was removed from the Tower of London late last year for adjustments to be made. It is now back on public display.

Related Articles