The winner of the Mrs. Sri Lanka pageant is allegedly recovering from a head injury after a last-minute struggle over her new crown on Sunday, when another beauty queen ran up on stage and tried to strip her of her victory.
The bizarre beauty-pageant bust-up broke out at the end of a ceremony on national TV in Colombo, just moments after Pushpika De Silva was crowned Mrs. Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s Caroline Jurie, the reigning Mrs. World, abruptly rushed the stage and took the crown off De Silva’s head so she could hand it to the runner-up, video shows. Jurie claimed that De Silva was actually divorced, and so she took it upon herself to award the crown to someone else.
“There is a rule that we all have to be married and not divorced, so I’m taking the first step saying that the crown goes to the first runner up,” Jurie told the audience, in an unexpected moment at the pageant.
Jurie then went over to De Silva and spent several moments struggling to remove the crown from her head. She eventually succeeded and gave the crown to the runner-up, who proceeded to give a victory speech to the audience. De Silva could be seen rushing off the stage in tears.
De Silva later claimed on Facebook that she suffered a head injury and had to be treated in hospital for the incident.
She also denied being divorced, although she did acknowledge that she is living apart from her partner for “personal reasons.”
Pageant organizers later confirmed De Silva’s win and re-crowned her as Mrs. Sri Lanka.
“We are disappointed,” Chandimal Jayasinghe, head of Mrs. Sri Lanka World, told the BBC. “It was a disgrace how Caroline Jurie behaved on the stage and the Mrs. World organization has already begun an investigation on the matter.”
Jurie previously won the Mrs. Sri Lanka title and later won the international Mrs. World pageant.
De Silva did not mention Jurie by name in her statement, but did take a veiled shot at her.
“A true queen is not a woman who snatches another woman’s crown,” she wrote. “She is a woman who secretly sets another woman’s crown.”
She added in a later statement that she has “forgiven those who did that to me.”
Jayasinghe told Sri Lanka’s News First that Jurie will be asked to issue a personal apology for her conduct.
The official Mrs. World Instagram account acknowledged De Silva’s victory in a brief Instagram post with her photo on Tuesday.
Jurie and Jayasinghe have been questioned by police about the incident, BBC News reports.
The pageant is a major event in Sri Lanka. It aired on national TV and the prime minister’s wife was in the audience for the final ceremony.
De Silva will go on to compete in the Mrs. World pageant against candidates from other countries later this year.