Yes, it’s technically King Charles’ Coronation on May 6 at Westminster Abbey, but his wife, Camilla, will be crowned, too—and her crown sets a new historic precedence.
“For the first time, rather than have a new crown designed, Camilla will repurpose an old one,” says Christopher Andersen, author of The King: The Life of Charles III, speaking exclusively to Marie Claire. “Don’t feel sorry for her. It’s one of the most spectacular pieces of jewelry in the world—the Crown of Queen Mary, which was made for Charles’ great-grandmother Mary of Teck in 1911.”
Camilla has had the crown reset with the 94.4-carat Cullinan III diamond, the 63.6-carat Cullinan IV diamond, and the 18.8 heart-shaped Cullinan V diamond (!) as a tribute to her late mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth. (Cue tears.) “These three breathtaking diamonds were favorites of Elizabeth II, who used to wear them as brooches,” Andersen says.
As to Camilla’s choice to not have a new crown designed for the ceremony, Roberta Fiorito, cohost of Royally Obsessed, a Gallery Media Group podcast, says of the decision that “they are maybe being more sustainable,” and that the crown modifications will make it “still feel new to us. It feels like the smart choice.” Fiorito says no one could have predicted so many massive royal family events in less than a year—Her late Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in June, her funeral in September, and now, the Coronation. “Royals are so conscious that [the public] doesn’t feel another huge chunk of taxpayer money being spent,” she says. “To do it right, there’s so much pomp and magnificence, and there won’t be another [Coronation] for another 15 to 20 years, hopefully.” Fiorito’s cohost Rachel Bowie says she is “really curious to see what Camilla’s dress looks like. She has tapped designer Bruce Oldfield, who is one of her go to’s, so I have hopeful expectations of a glitter bomb or something sparkly for the occasion.”
People reports Camilla’s crown has 2,200 diamonds, and that the choice to wear an existing crown as a Queen Consort rather than a new commission hasn’t been done since the eighteenth century. Additionally, Buckingham Palace announced that four of the eight detachable arches will be removed from the crown to create “a different impression to when the crown was worn by Queen Mary at the 1911 Coronation.”
Royal expert Kinsey Schofield, host of “To Di for Daily” podcast, tells Marie Claire that she is “eager to see what [the crown] looks like. The design of the Queen Mary crown fits Camilla’s taste to a T. It’s going to look really beautiful on her.”
If you're currently outside the U.K., you can use a VPN like ExpressVPN—which has a 30-day free trial—to watch the coronation live on the BBC, which aired Queen Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953.
Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.
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