It should come as no surprise that the jewelry worn by King Charles III, Queen Consort Camilla, and the Princess of Wales, among others, for the king’s coronation at Westminster Abbey in London on Saturday was, quite literally, the stuff of royal legend.
First things first: the crowns. During the ceremony, King Charles wore the St. Edward’s Crown, made in 1661 and set with rubies, amethysts, sapphires, garnet, topazes, and tourmalines.
After the coronation ceremony, as he prepared to appear before the public on the balcony of Buckingham Palace (just as his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, did at her coronation in 1953), he donned the Imperial State Crown, made by Garrard in 1937. (The firm was appointed the first official Crown Jeweler in 1843.)
The state crown, which weighs about 2 pounds (not counting its metaphorical weight), is set with 2,868 diamonds, 269 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, and four rubies—including the Black Prince’s Ruby, the Stuart Sapphire, and the Cullinan II diamond—and is part of the coronation regalia in the Crown Jewels, one of the world’s most spectacular collections.
Camilla, meanwhile, wore her own massive coronet, Queen Mary’s Crown, created by Garrard for Queen Mary’s coronation in 1911. Set with 2,200 mainly brilliant-cut diamonds, the crown features an openwork band set at the front with a detachable rock crystal replica of the Cullinan IV, a large cushion-shaped diamond. Saturday’s ceremony marked the first time in modern history that an existing crown was used for the coronation of a consort. But that wasn’t Camilla’s only statement piece. She also wore a diamond necklace originally made by Garrard for Queen Victoria in 1858. Known as the Coronation Necklace, the jewel features diamonds cobbled together from multiple sources, including a 22.48-ct. pear-shaped diamond pendant known as the Lahore Diamond, a vestige of Britain’s 19th-century colonial legacy. Queen Elizabeth wore the necklace and a matching pair of earrings on her own coronation day.
Catherine, Princess of Wales, paid tribute to the royal women who preceded her with her coronation jewels, including a pair of diamond and South Sea pearl earrings once owned by her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana, and a three-strand diamond necklace that belonged to Queen Elizabeth II, who died in September. (Known as the George VI Festoon Necklace, the statement piece was first commissioned by King George VI for his eldest daughter in 1950.)
Catherine’s most visible jewel was a floral crystal and silver headpiece by Jess Collett x Alexander McQueen, to complement her custom Alexander McQueen dress.