December 9, 2023

One of the British monarchy’s most historic tiaras made its first public appearance in four years at the State Opening of Parliament in London on Thursday, the first since the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

The historic ceremony, which opens the new parliamentary session and lays out the government’s policy aims for the coming term, took place on November 7, with King Charles III reading his first government-issued speech as sovereign to both the houses of Lords and Commons.

Charles and Queen Camilla are the first king and queen consort to attend a State Opening of Parliament in Britain since Charles’ grandparents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother) in 1950.

For the occasion, Camilla appeared wearing the Bruce Oldfield embroidered gown made for her coronation and accessorized with a glittering diamond headdress last worn by Queen Elizabeth II in 2019.

Queen Elizabeth and Camilla Wearing Diamond Diadem
Queen Camilla wearing the Diamond Diadem to the State Opening of Parliament in London on November 7, 2023. (Inset) Queen Elizabeth II wearing the diadem to open parliament in 2019. The jewel was crafted in 1820 for King George IV.
LEON NEAL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images/Paul Edwards – WPA Pool/Getty Images

The diamond encrusted silver and gold circlet was designed and made in 1820 to be used by King George IV at his coronation. It was used by the king in the procession to Westminster Abbey and worn as a band around his hat.

When Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837, she inherited the tiara which is now known officially as the “Diamond Diadem” and it has been worn by every queen and queen consort thereafter.

The diadem contains 1,333 diamonds including a four-carat yellow stone forming the central point at the front of the design.

Four diamond floral sprays containing roses, shamrocks and thistles make up the design, alongside four diamond crosses on a base of pearl bands between further diamonds.

The diadem has traditionally been worn by queen consorts during the State Opening of Parliament and in official portraits. During her reign, Queen Elizabeth II wore the jewel on her way to parliament where she changed into the Imperial State Crown before reading her speech.

In 2019, the monarch opted to wear the Diamond Diadem throughout the ceremony with the larger crown placed on a cushion nearby, as its five-pound weight made it too uncomfortable to wear.

With the diadem on Thursday, Camilla wore what is known as the “Coronation Necklace,” which was made for Queen Victoria in 1858 and has been worn by every queen and queen consort since then at their coronations.

Camilla wore the necklace at her own crowning ceremony alongside Charles on May 6.

Since becoming queen consort on September 8, 2022, with the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Camilla has worn a number of important heirloom jewels which she inherited access to in her new position.

In November 2022, Camilla wore for the first time Queen Elizabeth’s sapphire and diamond tiara and in October 2023 wore the late queen’s most famous diamond headdress, known as the “Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara.”

These jewels, including the Diamond Diadem are not considered part of the Crown Jewels, which belong to the state, and are instead considered part of the monarch’s personal property.

James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek‘s royal reporter, based in London. You can find him on X (formerly Twitter) at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek‘s The Royals Facebook page.

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