What jewels will Queen Consort Camilla wear to her coronation?
This May, we will see both a King and Queen Consort coronated together for the first time since Queen Elizabeth II’s parents (King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother) in 1937.
While much of the upcoming coronation ceremony on Saturday 6 May has been kept under wraps so far, the Palace has confirmed that “the ceremony will see His Majesty King Charles III crowned alongside The Queen Consort,” and that, although the service will be “rooted in longstanding traditions”, it will also “reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future.”
While we will have to wait until the day to see exactly what will happen, we can look to coronations of the past for clues.
What clothes will Camilla wear to her coronation?
Fashion has always meant more than just clothes to the Royal Family, from the symbolism of colours to the subtle nods behind carefully selected brooches and jewellery.
On Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation day (which took place on 2 June 1953), for example, she wore a specially made dress embroidered with shamrocks, roses and thistles to reference the national plants of different regions in the United Kingdom.
Traditional royal robes have been used at coronation events as early as King George II’s ceremony in 1727. They feature a train of rich velvet with ermine fur and often gold lace or other decorative touches.
A King and Queen Consort would normally both wear robes during the coronation. However, there have been reports that King Charles is planning a more modern outfit on the day, so it remains to be seen whether he or Camilla will don a robe at any point during the ceremony.
The Queen Consort’s Ring
Part of the official coronation involves placing a special ring on the fourth finger of the monarch, representing that the sovereign is ‘wedded’ to the people, and a ring is offered to the Queen Consort in the same way.
The Queen Consort’s ring was originally made in 1831 for Queen Adelaide, wife of William IV, and was worn by Mary of Moderna for her coronation as Queen Consort in 1685.
The ceremonial ring was used again for The Queen Mother’s coronation, so we could see the same for Camilla this May.
What crown will Camilla wear at her coronation?
Which crown Camilla will wear for the coronation had been much debated and Buckingham Palace officially confirmed which crown had been chosen for the Queen Consort back in February.
Queen Mary’s Crown
The crown worn by Camilla will be that of Queen Mary, who was also a Queen Consort and was coronated alongside King George V in 1911.
"The choice of Queen Mary’s Crown by Her Majesty is the first time in recent history that an existing crown will be used for the coronation of a Consort instead of a new commission," Buckingham Palace said in a statement, which it added was a decision made "in the interests of sustainability and efficiency."
The crown has been removed from display at the Tower of London so that it can be amended by the Crown Jeweller, with additional jewels to be added that pay homage to the late Queen Elizabeth II.
The Palace confirmed that these additions will include the Cullinan III, IV and V diamonds, which "were part of Queen Elizabeth II’s personal jewellery collection for many years and were often worn by Her late Majesty as brooches." The Koh-i-noor diamond will not be featured in the updated crown.
Further Cullinan diamonds (individual diamonds cut from the same original stone, the Cullinan Diamond) feature in other items of the Crown Jewels collection, including the Cullinan I that sits in the King's official Sceptre with Cross, which is traditionally used during the coronation service.
Camilla has worn poignant pieces belonging to Queen Mary before, including a special tiara (pictured above).
To mark their titles as Emperor and Empress of India following their coronation, King George V and Queen Mary wore their coronation robes for a ceremonial gathering. For the occasion, Queen Mary chose a tiara formed of an intricate lattice of diamonds, which was topped with her grandmother’s emeralds, although these were later removed.
Camilla wore the tiara for a banquet during a state visit to the King and Queen of Norway in 2005.
Which Crown Jewels will Camilla have at her coronation?
When a Queen Consort is crowned, she is usually passed ceremonial objects in the same way the King is. This was true for Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother at her coronation with King George VI, so it is likely the tradition could be continued for Camilla. Each item carries its own symbolic meaning.
Sceptre with the Cross
When Mary of Moderna was crowned in 1685 a Sceptre with Cross was created for her, which was modelled after her husband's. This was the same sceptre used by The Queen Mother at her coronation, so we anticipate it will make an appearance this May.
Sceptre with the Dove
Another royal sceptre used in coronation ceremonies, the Sceptre with the Dove is topped with a dove to symbolise peace and unity. The King’s version features a dove with outstretched wings, so another featuring a dove with closed wings was created for the Queen Consort.
Queen Mary II’s Orb
An orb is a decorative ball which symbolises the world through its spherical shape. It is handed to the monarch during the coronation. It is made from two hemispheres joined by an ‘equator’ of jewels and is topped with a cross. A smaller version was created for Mary of Moderna but it hasn’t been in use for some time, so we will have to see if it, or something similar, reappears for Camilla.
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