New Mrs World 2020 replaces Caroline Jurie after Sri Lanka beauty pageant fracas

Ireland’s Kate Schneider finished as runner-up in the competition

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Kate Schneider has been named the new Mrs World 2020.

Schneider, from Ireland, finished the competition as the first runner-up but has now been crowned the new Mrs World after the reigning title-holder, Caroline Jurie, resigned.

Jurie decided to step away after her involvement and subsequent arrest in an onstage melee during the Mrs Sri Lanka 2020 beauty pageant.

In a video that has gone viral, Jurie is seen snatching the crown off the head of Pushpika De Silva, who had been named the winner of the competition at Colombo's Nelum Pokuna Theatre.

Jurie claimed that De Silva was ineligible for the prize as she was divorced and that the rules stipulate that all contestants must be married. However, while De Silva is estranged from her husband, the pair are still legally married.

Jurie, who is also Sri Lankan, was accused of injuring De Silva in the televised pageant and afterwards was arrested on charges of “simple hurt and criminal force”, though she was later released on bail.

Mrs World Inc said in a statement Tuesday that Jurie’s “voluntary resignation decision was made solely by Caroline herself".

Caroline Jurie gives up the crown

In a video posted to Instagram on April 9, Jurie explained her decision to step away from the pageant, claiming it had been “tainted” by the crowning ceremony.

"I will always stand for what I believe is right," the former title-holder said in a video while wearing her crown and sash. "Every beauty pageant has a set of rules and regulations. What I was pushing for from the beginning was a fair stage. The rules and regulations are equal to all. Rules aren't there so that we can find loopholes so that we can win at any cost. I believe rules and regulations are there for a reason."

Reigning Mrs World Caroline Jurie, forcibly removes the Mrs Sri Lanka winner Pushpika De Silva's crown as Jurie declared that the winner was ineligible because she was divorced, during the Mrs Sri Lanka pageant, in Colombo, Sri Lanka April 4, 2021. Picture taken April 4, 2021. REUTERS/Gimhana Pathirana NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

She continued, "The Mrs World pageant was not created to discriminate [against] divorced or separated women but to celebrate the dreams of the married women."

Jurie also implied that there were other pageants De Silva could have applied to as a separated woman.

"I know I burst a few bubbles, created conversation and even a discussion about class and values that a queen wearing a crown should stand for," Jurie said.

The former Mrs World stressed the importance of standing up for "values even if it means to stand alone in the front of disaster".

"My only intention was to stand up for the injustice caused to the competitors throughout this competition which was tainted with heavy politicisation," she said.

At the end of the clip, Jurie said, "I am now ready to hand over the crown", before removing the crown from her head.

Even though Jurie has given up her title, Mrs World 2021 will still take place in Sri Lanka.

What is Mrs World?

Mrs World is the first beauty pageant for married women and was started in 1984. The concept for the Mrs World competition has its roots in the long-running Mrs America event. Coincidentally, the first winner of the Mrs World event was Rosy Senanayake, also from Sri Lanka. In its 36-year history, the US has produced the most winners, with seven women taking the title.

Additional reporting by AFP