The Coronation of King Charles III. (74) and King’s wife Camilla (75) should both pay homage to tradition and show the new modern era of the monarchy. A piece of the puzzle could be the crown Camilla will wear at the ceremony on May 6th at Westminster Abbey. King Charles’ wife will break with a long tradition and not commission a crown herself. Instead, she recycles a piece of jewelry from a king’s consort in front of her.

The royal wives have had exclusive pieces of jewelry made for their coronation ceremonies since the 18th century. Spending a hefty sum to have a diamond-studded headdress made that can only be worn once hardly fits into a 21st-century monarchy.

Camilla therefore relies on recycling. The headdress from 1937, which her predecessor as king consort, Queen Mum (1900-2002), wore, is eliminated. The reason: The diamond Koh-i-Noor is used in Charles’ grandmother’s crown. It is considered a symbol of British colonial history. The controversial gem was given to Queen Victoria (1819-1901) as spoils of war in 1850 and is the subject of disputes over ownership.

The famous diamond was previously set in the crown worn by Queen Mary (1867-1953) at the coronation in 1911, but was later removed. Camilla will now wear this headdress from Queen Mary on May 6th. Designed by royal jeweler Garrard for the coronation of King George V (1865-1936) and his wife Mary (1867-1953), the crown – inspired by Queen Alexandra’s (1844-1925) crown of 1902 – is set with 2,200 diamonds. These are said to produce such a brilliant effect that the Daily Telegraph once wrote of them: “…the diamonds cluster together as if they had no support but their own light.” The crown is decorated with lily and cross motifs, among other things.

Some crown changes are made for Camilla. The previous eight arches are reduced to four and two famous gemstones are returned to their original places: a 94.4-carat pear-shaped diamond and a 63.6-carat square diamond, which Mary had removed after the coronation for use elsewhere . Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022) later wore it as a brooch. The gems are now reinserted into the crown. The diamonds will be on display for the first time since the Queen’s death in September 2022. This is to commemorate Charles’ mother at the coronation.

In February 2023, the royal family announced that Queen Mary’s crown had been removed from the Tower’s Crown Jewels exhibition to be fitted for Camilla.