The coronation of King Charles III is quickly approaching, and we’ve learned a lot of details about the ceremony. We know the cost of the affair, Prince Harry’s travel plans, and now we know an important detail about Camilla’s crown.
The new queen will wear the same crown Queen Mary wore during her coronation in 1911, and has had it re-set with $50 million worth of diamonds from the late Queen Elizabeth’s personal collection. Notably, Camilla will be the first consort to reuse a crown for a coronation, rather than commissioning a new one, since the 18th century.
But what’s been removed from the royal headdress is just as important as what’s been added. According to reporting from The Independent, the crown will not feature the controversial Koh-i-Noor diamond that was present at the 1911 ceremony, nor a replica of it that was made in 1937. (At that point, the original stone was removed and used for the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother). The diamond—which is one of the largest cut stones in the world—was taken by the British East India Company following its victory in the Second Anglo-Sikh War of 1849. It was then given to Queen Victoria and has remained part of the Crown Jewels ever since.
When India gained independence in 1947, its government requested that the stone be returned, but it wasn’t successful, according to Time. When Queen Elizabeth II died last year, calls for the stone to be repatriated were renewed.
Before the decision was made not to use the diamond, a spokesman for India’s ruling party warned that using the jewel for the coronation could bring back “painful memories of the colonial past,” The Telegraph reported. “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,” he added.
The crown will have four of its eight detachable arches removed to create “a different impression,” Buckingham Palace previously stated. When commenting on modifications, the palace stated that it is “the longstanding tradition that the insertion of jewels is unique to the occasion, and reflects the Consort’s individual style.”
Although the palace has avoided negative press with the decision over the diamond, considering simmering tensions and ongoing disputes, it would be surprising if the event proceeds without any bumps.