It continues to be absolutely bonkers to watch King Charles and Queen Camilla succeed at convincing everyone that they are doing this coronation on the cheap. Charles is buying two new thrones, for the love of God. He’s getting a fancy new gold carriage! He’s going to be decked out in all of the military medals, ribbons and sashes he can find. But the worst is all of the stuff about Camilla’s crown. This week, it was announced that Camilla would “recycle” the traditional queen consort’s crown, aka the Queen Mary crown or Mary Teck crown. Camilla will have the Koh-i-Noor replaced and she’ll have the Cullinan diamonds added to it. Royal reporters are falling all over themselves to lavish praise on Camilla for not demanding to have an entirely new crown made.
The Queen’s decision to use Queen Mary’s crown for the coronation on May 6 is further evidence of what has been apparent ever since the death of Queen Elizabeth last September: that the royal family is anxious to avoid controversy at all costs. By choosing a crown not believed to have been worn in public since 1937, the Queen is solving two problems at once.
The first is that it avoids any accusation of senseless extravagance. All three queen consorts of the 20th century — Queen Alexandra, wife of Edward VII; Queen Mary wife of George V; and Queen Elizabeth, wife of George VI — had crowns made for their coronations. It was a tradition that went back to the coronation of William IV in 1821, when Queen Adelaide had a crown made instead of using the one queen consorts had been using since 1685.
To go to such an expense during a cost of living crisis would be seen as wilfully insensitive. As Hugo Vickers, the royal historian, said: “There would be no possible reason for making a crown, because they have got so many crowns waiting to be used. We would all say, ‘Aren’t there enough crowns waiting in the Tower of London already?’. ”
The Queen’s choice of crown — believed to be her own personal preference, rather than advice from palace aides — also helps to avoid controversy over the Koh-i-noor diamond, which was the subject of inflamed debate last October after Buckingham Palace announced the date of the coronation. The suggestion that she might wear the crown made for the Queen Mother — then Queen Elizabeth — at her coronation, including the Koh-i-noor diamond, provoked an angry response from India, where the diamond’s history is inextricably linked with memories of British colonial rule. Anita Anand, co-author with William Dalrymple of Koh-i-Noor: The History of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond, told Times Radio at the time: “For Indians it is not just a gem, it is a diplomatic grenade. It is a symbol of the humiliation of colonisation.”
The crown, which is being modified by the crown jeweller, Mark Appleby of Mappin & Webb, will be mounted with three of the smaller Cullinan diamonds: III, which is known as the Lesser Star of Africa, IV and V….However, the Cullinan diamonds are not entirely free of controversy. Before the state visit by Cyril Ramaphosa, the South African president, last November activists urged the Queen not to wear the diamond. Zwelinzima Vavi, a South African trade unionist whose father worked in the mines at the height of apartheid, said that if the diamond was worn by either the Queen or the Princess of Wales it would “be like spitting in the face of South Africans”.
[From The Times]
I actually forgot that South Africa doesn’t want the Cullinan diamonds to be worn either. QEII loved wearing the Cullinan pieces – she often wore them mounted in giant f–king brooches. So… yeah, Camilla “side-stepped” the Koh-i-Noor controversy but y’all know that South African activists will have sh-t to say about the Cullinan diamonds being used. Plus, I don’t even think India will be placated, long-term, with this solution of “just temporarily remove the Koh-i-Noor and have a replica made.” That’s idiotic. As for the praise Camilla is getting for “recycling” an old crown… Jesus H. They literally have hundreds of tiaras and crowns and stolen jewels. It surely would have been easier and more cost-efficient for Camilla to simply reuse one of the less controversial pieces in general??
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images.
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