In theory, they have plenty of crowns and jewels to choose from.
But as Buckingham Palace works to avoid international row over the Koh-i-Noor diamond, aides have had to look back 200 years to find suitable headwear for the Queen Consort’s coronation.
Little-known crowns including one worn by Queen Adelaide in 1831 are understood to be in contention for next year’s event, as the use of Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother’s crown is all but ruled out over a dispute with India.
The crown of Queen Adelaide, used at the famously frugal coronation of William IV, is part of the Royal Collection, but its whereabouts are currently a mystery after it was carefully removed from display at the Tower of London this year.
Other leading options are thought to include the 1820 Diamond Diadem, altered and worn by Queens Regnant and Consorts from Adelaide onwards.
Crowns created for the coronation of Queen Mary and Queen Alexandra, both of which temporarily held the Koh-i-Noor, could be used.
Experts have told The Telegraph that Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s crown could still be used as initially planned, with the controversial diamond replaced by another of similar size.
But, they warned, the change would make a significant public statement about the legitimacy of the Koh-i-Noor that the palace would wish to avoid.
The diadem would be visually more in keeping with the modern Royal family, said one source – but has previously only been used for the journey to coronations, rather than for a “crowning” itself.
This week, India’s ruling party said the choice for the Queen Consort to wear a crown containing the Koh-i-Noor diamond would bring back “painful memories of the colonial past” for generations of Indians.
Buckingham Palace said no details of the coronation had yet been decided.
Sources indicated that the King, the Queen Consort and their teams would be “acutely sensitive” to the public mood, with no wish to incite debate or controversy with their choices.
While an entirely new crown could be made, the drive for the 2023 event to reflect the economic challenges facing the British population makes it an unappealing option, according to sources.
Carol Woolton, a jewelery historian, author and podcaster, said: “I can’t imagine how the Queen Consort could wear the Koh-i-Noor diamond without it detracting from the coronation.”
She predicted that other diamonds in the royals’ collection, such as Cullinan III and IV which are currently in a brooch, could replace the Koh-i-Noor in Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s crown – or the crystal replicas currently in the coronation crowns of Queens Mary and Alexandra.
“Taking the Koh-i-Noor out would be completely in line with what they [the Royal family] has always done,” she said. “The crowns have never stayed with jewels in them. Prior to Queen Victoria, stones were always swapped around to fill empty spaces.”
She pointed out that Buckingham Palace had confirmed the Queen Consort would be “crowned”, meaning she should by definition wear a crown rather than a tiara or diadem.
“I think they will cast around to find a crown that relates to the Queen Consort in some way, making a link [to the previous wearer],” she said.
Christopher Joll, a royal and military historian, predicted that Queen Adelaide’s crown – the last Queen Consort’s crown not to feature the Koh-i-Noor – would be a frontrunner, and more likely than a new one being made.
Fittingly, the crown was created for the coronation of William IV and Adelaide, described at the time as the “Half Crown-nation” for the King’s insistence on stripping back as many expensive ceremonial elements as possible.
Queen Adelaide put an end to the common practice of hiring gems for coronations, opting instead to use her own collection.
The jewels were removed from the crown afterwards, with the skeleton remaining.
It is currently part of the Royal Collection and was on display at the Tower of London until May this year when it was moved to an unknown location.
The 1820 Diamond Diadem, a far simpler option that could be used intact without expensive modifications or additions, was originally created for George IV’s coronation.
It is well-known to the public for being worn by Queen Elizabeth II for the State Opening of Parliament, on the way to her own coronation, and for images on coins, bank notes and stamps.
On Thursday, the debate about the Koh-i-Noor continued.
Anita Anand, who has recently co-hosted four episodes of the Empire podcast about the diamond, said it was the single most controversial jewel in the Royal family’s collection for India – seen from the “grassroots up” as a “symbol of dominion”.
Kapil Dudekia, a socio-political commentator and writer for Asian Voice, said: “If I was His Majesty, I would step up to the mark and start my reign by saying this: not just the whole Koh-i-Noor, but the whole crown, I’m handing it back to India as a sign of us coming together.
“The Koh-i-Noor represents a very, very deep wound and one would not wish His Majesty to start his reign with something that projects such a negative image of Britain and of the Royal family.”
Underlining the multiple claims to the stone, which have also seen campaigners in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran argue it should be returned to them, a spokesman for the Sikh Federation said: “The Koh-i-Noor diamond belongs to the Sikh Nation and was taken from the Maharaja of the Sikh Kingdom following the Anglo-Sikh wars.
“As far as we are concerned, Indian leaders can stay away from the coronation. If anyone should be upset at seeing the diamond being worn in the coronation, it is Sikhs across the globe.”