It has been announced that Camilla has chosen to wear Queen Mary’s Crown for the coronation, and that it has been removed from the Tower of London.
This marks the first time in recent history that an existing crown will be used for the crowning of a Consort, instead of a new piece being made. This is due to the The King and Queen’s interests in ‘sustainability and efficiency’, Buckingham Palace shared.
Queen Mary’s Crown was made by Garrard for the 1911 coronation of George V, and was commissioned by Mary herself. It took inspiration from Queen Alexandra’s Crown, worn in 1902 to Edward VII’s coronation, also with elegant arches.
It is made of a silver frame, lined with gold, and set with 2,200 diamonds; most of these are brilliant-cut stones but some are rose-cut.
Some minor changes and additions will be undertaken by the Crown Jeweller for Camilla, the palace has shared, which continues the tradition of reflecting The Queen’s ‘individual style’.
Four of the Crown’s eight detachable arches will be removed to create a different silhouette, the palace explained.
The changes will pay tribute to the late Queen, as the Crown will be reset with the Cullinan III, IV and V diamonds. These diamonds were part of Elizabeth II’s personal jewellery collection, inherited from her grandmother Queen Mary, and were often seen about her person as brooches. They are sometimes referred to as ‘Granny’s chips’ and were part of the world’s largest diamond at the turn of the 20th century.
Cullinan IV – a square stone – will sit in the front of the crown’s band, while Cullinan III (a pear drop stone) will be placed on top. The Cullinan I and II stones form part of the Imperial State Crown and the Sceptre, also used at the coronation.
These Cullinan diamonds have been set into Queen Mary’s Crown on previous occasions: III and IV were set temporarily in Mary’s Crown for the 1911 Coronation, and the Cullinan V was inserted when the Crown was worn as a regal circlet at King George VI’s Coronation in 1937. Rock crystal replicas of the stones have otherwise occupied these settings.
The Koh-i-nur is the other large stone in the front of the crown, which was then used in the Queen Mother’s crown in 1937.
St Edward’s Crown has now returned to public display at the Tower of London, after it was removed in order for changes to be made for The King to use it during the coronation.
This week, the coronation emblem was also unveiled.