It played out like a scene from ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’, with the only difference being that adults were standing on the stage where the newly crowned Mrs Sri Lanka had her crown “snatched” off her head by the outgoing Mrs World.
Pushpika De Silva, the pageant queen who won the title of Mrs Sri Lanka on Sunday, was left speechless mere moments after winning when her crown was pulled off her head during the televised ceremony.
Caroline Jurie, who won the pageant in 2019 and is currently the reigning Mrs World, spoke out on stage claiming that De Silva had been wrongfully crowned as she was a divorcee and the title rightfully belonged to the first runner-up.
“There is a rule that you have to be married and not divorced, so I am taking my first steps in saying that the crown goes to the first runner-up,” Jurie is seen telling the audience in the now viral video clip.
Moments later, the video shows Jurie walk up to De Silva and start to pull at the crown that has been pinned in place on her head. In the video footage, a visibly distressed De Silva is seen standing in shock as her hair is being pulled in the frantic process of removing the crown.
Jurie then takes the crown from the winner’s head and places it on runner-up, prompting De Silva to walk offstage in distress.
De Silva broke her silence a day after the ceremony in a Facebook post where she revealed she sustained injuries during the incident, while setting the record straight.
“As I write this, I responsibly say that I am not a divorced woman. If I am divorced, I challenge them to submit my divorce papers,” she wrote in a statement translated from Sinhala. “Even though the 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.”
She further added: “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 Mrs World organisation has also issued a statement, stating they were “deeply disturbed” by the behaviour.
“We are deeply disturbed and sincerely regret the behaviour of our current title holder, Mrs Caroline Jurie, Mrs World 2020, at the crowning. Her actions goes against the Mrs Sri Lanka code of conduct and the predetermined regulations she is obliged to follow during her reign,” the statement reads.
“We will review the aforementioned incident and we’ll be taking steps, as deemed appropriate, based on the outcome of our assessment.”
Chandimal Jayasinghe, the national director of Mrs Sri Lanka World, also told the BBC that De Silva’s crown will be returned to her.