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Floral headpieces replace tiaras at Charles's dress-down coronation



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Prince William, Princess Catherine, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis arrive at the coronation of King Charles III. (Photo by PHIL NOBLE / POOL / AFP)

Prince William's wife Catherine on Saturday chose a floral headpiece instead of a tiara for the coronation of Charles III, in line with the "green" tone set for the coronation by the king.

Charles, a long-time environmental advocate with a passion for nature, made his wishes clear when he sent out coronation invitations featuring the Green Man, an ancient figure from British folklore symbolising the arrival of spring and rebirth.

The break with tradition was also in keeping with Charles's reported desire that the coronation be "meritocratic not aristocratic", which saw the aristocracy largely replaced with "community heroes" who had earned their place.

At the last coronation in 1953, almost all senior royal women and female aristocrats wore tiaras featuring precious stones and pearls.

Catherine, whose formal title is Princess of Wales, instead wore a silver Jess Collett x Alexander McQueen headpiece with three-dimensional leaf embroidery, Buckingham Palace said.

Her dress, also by Alexander McQueen, was in ivory silk crepe with embroidery featuring rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock motifs to signify the four nations of the United Kingdom.

It was worn with a ceremonial cape.

She also wore a set of pearl and diamond earrings that belonged to Prince William's late mother Princess Diana.

Floral motifs

Catherine's daughter Princess Charlotte, a granddaughter of King Charles, wore a headpiece that matched her mother's while her dress was also by Alexander McQueen and featured similar floral motifs.

Queen Camilla meanwhile turned to British couturier Bruce Oldfield, a favourite of the king's former wife Diana, for her coronation dress.

Her ivory silk dress with silver and gold embroidery featured "garlands of abstract wildflowers from fields and hedgerows: daisy chains, forget-me-nots, celandine and scarlet pimpernel", the palace said in a statement.

Oldfield designed dozens of evening gowns -- several of them iconic -- for Diana before her death in a Paris car crash in 1997.

Oldfield has since become one of Camilla's favourite fashion creators.

He designed the elegant black evening gown Camilla wore on the royal couple's state visit to Germany in March.

Charles, a biodiversity enthusiast, had a four-acre (1.6-hectare) wildflower meadow at his former Highgrove home in Gloucestershire, western England.

To mark his coronation, 200,000 packets of wildflower seeds have been sent to primary schools for children to scatter in their green spaces and encourage them to develop a love of nature.(AFP)

King Charles