Drama erupted at the “Mrs Sri Lanka” beauty pageant on Sunday, when a former titleholder took the crown off the winner’s head and handed it to the runner up.
In a surprising turn of event, the pageant’s 2019 winner and Mrs World 2020, Caroline Jurie, took to the stage and picked up the microphone.
“I have a small request,” she said. “As for the Mrs World Inc., there’s a rule that you’ll have to be married, and not divorced. So, I’m taking my first step saying that the crown goes to the first runner-up.”
Jurie then turned to a stunned De Silva, forcefully took the crown off her head and placed it on the first runner-up, who broke into tears and thanked the judges as De Silva walked away.
De Silva, in a Facebook post, said she suffered “injuries to my skull” when Jurie “snatched” her crown.
“As I write this, I responsibly say that I am not a divorced woman,”she wrote in a statement translated from Sinhala. “If I am divorced, I challenge them to submit my divorce papers.”
“So, even though that symbolic crown has been snatched from my head, I would like to inform you that I have already taken the necessary legal action for the injustice and insult that has taken place,” De Silva continued, adding that “a real queen is not a woman who snatches another woman’s crown, but a woman who secretly sets the other woman’s crown!!”
The organisers of the event have apologised to Mrs De Silva, who says she is separated, but not divorced. The national director of Mrs Sri Lanka World, Chandimal Jayasinghe, told the BBC that the crown would be returned to Mrs De Silva on Tuesday.
“We are disappointed,” he said, adding: “It was a disgrace how Caroline Jurie behaved on the stage and the Mrs World organisation has already begun an investigation on the matter.”
The Mrs World series is an international beauty pageant for married women, founded in 1984. The winners of each country’s title advance to the Mrs World competition to face off against each other. Under the rules of the pageant, contestants must be “married as of the date of entry.”