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The Story Behind Camilla's Crown at King Charles' Coronation

King George V and Queen Mary of Teck after their coronation at Buckingham Palace, London, UK, from L’Illustrazione Italiana, XXXVIII, No 27, July 2, 1849. DEA / BIBLIOTECA AMBROSIANA

Queen Mary’s Crown used to feature the controversial Koh-i-Noor Diamond before being reset by Cullinan V. The origin of the diamond is dubious: according to Encyclopaedia Britannica, it was likely looted by Nader Shah of Iran when 1911 sacked Delhi. After his death, it became the property of an Afghan general. His descendants then surrendered to Sikh ruler Ranjit Singh. When the British Empire annexed Punjab at 1849, they took the Koh-i-Noor and gave it to Queen Victoria. (By then, the stone was considered a curse: “A strange superstition is associated with this stone, which is said to always bring misfortune when worn by men, but harmless when worn by women,” writes Observer 1947 in 1947.)

When India gained independence from British rule in 1947 they claimed legal title to the Koh-i-Noor and demanded its return. The governments of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan have repeatedly said that Kooh-i-Noor belongs to them. This gem is still housed in the Tower of London today.

When Queen Mary wore her tiara for the first time down the aisle of Westminster Abbey, it wowed the British press: “It is an elegant design structure, the diamond arches taper gracefully until they meet to support the small diamond spheres and crosses,” The Times of London reported

at the time. The Daily Telegraph 1947 flatteringly put it: “To the Crown is what Spring is to Summer, or Dawn to Bright sunny noon. It has no jewels, only diamonds, clustered together as if without any support but its own radiance. It is all delicacy and grace. Its splendor dazzles the eye.” (Under that story? An article about the launching of an exciting new ship, the Titanic, in Belfast.)194719471947



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