The unusual item hidden inside of Prince Charles’s coronet

By Zach Harper

The Royal Family has countless treasures and jewels, including crowns, tiaras and coronets that have been worn by everyone from Queen Victoria to Duchess Kate. But one of the most unique headpieces of all was created for Prince Charles to don for his investiture as Prince of Wales 50 years ago this week, on July 1, 1969. A slightly bizarre secret about the coronet has just been revealed: It has a ping pong ball hidden inside of it!

When designer Louis Osman created it for Charles to wear for the big ceremony, he wanted to come up with “something that is modern,” according to Town & Country magazine.

Louis, who the publication says was described at a panel by jewellery scholar Mahnaz Ipsahani Bartos as a “highly unusual person” and by one of his friends as “the most creative man,” fittingly opted to create something the likes of which had never been seen on a royal head before, the magazine says.

Charles kneeling before the Queen, placing the coronet on his head during the July 1, 1969 ceremony in Wales. Photo: © Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

Looking to adorn the prince with something that “would provide drama without too much weight, and meaning, but with modernity,” Louis included diamonds in the shape of Charles’s Zodiac sign, Scorpio, and added four crosses and four fleurs de lys in Welsh gold among other diamonds and emeralds, Town & Country says. The publication also reports each diamond represents the seven deadly sins and seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

But there was a big problem when it came time to hammer the crown all together: It broke. Luckily, a clever technician saved the day, Mahnaz said at the panel, when it was suggested they “electro plate a ping pong ball” inside of it.

MORE: The history of the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara, worn by Kate and loved by Princess Diana

As for whether Charles knew he was wearing a ping pong ball encased in gold, that wasn’t revealed. But Town & Country reports Mahnaz pointed out the coronet has always been “controversial,” going on to say, “Some love it, others hate it. I wonder how Prince Charles feels about it?”

Of course, the British public – and the world – have long been fascinated with royal jewellery. Earlier this month, a coronet worn by Queen Victoria went on display for the first time at London’s Victoria & Albert design museum. Its beauty has reportedly been making people cry!

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