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Miss World is the oldest surviving major international Beauty pageant. It was created in the United Kingdom by Eric Morley in 1951. Since his death in 2000, Morley,s widow, Julia Morley, has co-chaired the pageant. Alongside with its rival, the Miss Universe and Miss Earth contests, Miss World pageant is one of the three most publicised beauty contests in the world.
In 1951, Eric Morley organised a bikini contest as part of the Festival of Britain celebrations that he called the Festival Bikini Contest. The event was popular with the press, and was dubbed "Miss World" by the media. The swimsuit competition was intended as a promotion for the bikini which had only recently been introduced onto the market, and which was still widely regarded as immodest. When the 1951 Miss World pageant winner, Kerstin "Kiki" Hakansson from Sweden, was crowned in a bikini, it added to the controversy.
The pageant was originally planned as a Pageant for the Festival of Britain, but Eric Morley decided to make the Miss World pageant an annual event. Morley registered the "Miss World" name as a trademark, and all future pageants were held under that name. However, because of the controversy arising from Håkansson,s crowning in a bikini, countries with religious traditions threatened not to send delegates to future events, and the bikini was condemned by the Pope. Objection to the bikini led to its replacement in all future pageants with what was accepted as more modest swimwear, and from 1976 swimsuits were replaced by evening gowns for the crowning. Håkansson remains the only Miss World crowned in a bikini. In Miss World 2013 all participants wore a one-piece swimsuit plus a traditional sarong below the waist as a compromise with local culture.