The Adventurine Posts The Crowns and Lack of Tiaras at the Coronation

The Princess of Wales wore a Jess Collett x Alexander McQueen headpiece for the coronations of King Charles III and Queen Camilla. Photo Getty


The Crowns and Lack of Tiaras at the Coronation

Royalty doesn’t exactly feel regal when you remove the historic headgear

by Marion Fasel

May 6, 2023—I appreciate King Charles’s desire to pare down the royal events in the face of a troubled economy and any number of other issues in the United Kingdom. I think the inclusive measures he made during the coronation were wonderful. I also agree reducing the number of people who appeared on the balcony at Buckingham Palace to a select group of “working” royals, a few children and pages was a great idea. But I am going to be a dissenting voice on the diamond tiara ban at Westminster Abbey.

Historically, so many women would have been in tiaras. Coronets—a smaller crown worn by “lesser” royals—would have been part of the ceremony too. At the moment the King is crowned all nobility in the royal box would have been holding coronets as they shouted “God save the King!” and put the jewels on their heads. (See the moment in Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation at about the 1 hour 30 minute mark.)

The symbolism of the pomp and circumstance of the jewels is a visual display of royal history. Today, those in the royal box simply shouted “God save the King!”

St Edward’s Crown being brought into the coronation ceremony of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey in London. Photo Getty

Without the court wearing jewels, it made Charles and Camilla seem even more elitist and totally alone in their roles wearing the crowns and touching all the Regalia that was brought in on fancy pillows from the Tower of London.

While royalty enthusiasts in the press seemed to be very much on board with the decisions, I know my jewelry loving audience was not. One Anglophile in my family emailed at the crack of dawn, “Lovely service and beautiful music—it’s too bad there wasn’t more jewelry. Kate and Charlotte’s twigs just didn’t do it.”

Read on to find out the details of the twigs and the real jewels worn by King Charles III and Queen Camilla.

King Charles III wearing the Imperial State Crown as he waves to the crowds from the balcony at Buckingham Palace. Photo Getty

During the coronation ceremony King Charles III touched a lot of the Regalia that dates back hundreds of years including swords, bracelets, spurs and a ring. All the items are reviewed on the official website of the royal family.

St. Edward’s Crown, a 13th century creation, is the jewel King Charles was officially “crowned” in. It is the only time he will ever wear the five-pound piece. The historic crown is replaced with the Imperial State Crown that is famous to all royal watchers and fans of Netflix’s The Crown where a replica is featured in the opening credits.

The Imperial State Crown features the Cullinan II and Black Prince’s Ruby among other historic gems. Photo Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III 2023

The Imperial State Crown weighs over 2-pounds and is set with several very important and historic gems. At the center is the 317.4-carat Cullinan II. The front cross is set with a giant red spinel known as the Black Prince’s Ruby. At the back is the oval shaped Stuart Sapphire. Elizabeth I’s pearls hang from the arches at the top interior.

Originally designed for the Coronation of King George VI in 1937 by Garrard, the Imperial State Crown was modeled after a crown created for Queen Victoria in 1838. Garrard reworked the piece for fit for Queen Elizabeth in 1953 and King Charles III.

Queen Camilla wearing Queen Mary’s crown set with Cullinan’s III, IV and V as wel as the Coronation Diamond Neckalce and Coronation Diamond Earrings. Photo Getty

Queen Camilla wore the Coronation Diamond Necklace originally made for Queen Victoria in 1858 and worn by every queen at coronations since Queen Alexandra in 1902. She also wore the Coronation Diamond Earrings created by Garrard in 1858 and worn by Queen Elizabeth II for her 1953 coronation.

Camilla was crowned in a modified version of Queen Mary’s Crown created by Garrard in 1911. A replica of the controversial Koh-i-Nor diamond—originally set in the center of the jewel before it was reset in the Crown of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother—was replaced with the Cullinan V diamond brooch.

The replicas of Cullinan III and IV diamonds (set in the crown some time ago) were replaced with the real deal from Queen Elizabeth II’s personal jewelry collection.

The Cullinan V Diamond at the center of this platinum brooch was mounted in Camilla’s Crown. Photo Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III 2023

I have to admit, I was initially taken aback at Queen Elizabeth II’s important jewels being used in Camilla’s crown.

Cullinan V was set in one of Queen Elizabeth II’s absolute favorite signature brooches.

Elizabeth wore the brooch with Cullinan’s III and IV on special occasions and called them “Granny’s Chips.” The piece originally belonged to her jewelry-loving grandmother, Queen Mary.

Catherine, the Princess of Wales and her daughter Princess Charlotte in matching head pieces by Jess Collett for Alexander McQueen. Photo Getty

Catherine, the Princess of Wales, (who is still commonly known in the United States as Kate Middleton) apparently wore a diamond necklace that belonged to Queen Elizabeth II, but I cannot see it through her coronation robes. On her lobes she sported a pair of Princess Diana’s diamond and pearl pendant earrings backwards.

Since there seemed to be a ban on tiaras, Princess Catherine had a headpiece created. Designed by Jess Collett for Alexander McQueen, the jewel was composed of silver bullion, crystal and silver thread work applied to the leaves. Princess Charlotte sported a similar headpiece.

As my family member said “they didn’t exactly cut it” in the regal jewelry department. Yet they did provide an adorable mommy and me moment.

Related Stories:

What It’s Actually Like to Wear The Crown

Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamonds Are in Camilla’s Crown

Kate Wore Diana’s Earrings Backwards