A beauty queen suffered "head injuries" after a rival ripped the crown from her head during the Mrs Sri Lanka ceremony on Sunday.
Pushpika De Silva, 31, was handed the 2020/2021 title at the major event held in Colombo, which airs on national TV.
But moments later, footage showed the 2019 winner dramatically pull the crown from De Silva's head, claiming she could not be awarded the honour because she was divorced.
Caroline Jurie could then be seen telling the crowd contestants must be married, before citing a pageant rule.
"There is a rule that prevents women who have already been married and are divorced, so I am taking steps to make the crown go to second place," she says.
The 28-year-old former titleholder could then be seen marching over to De Silva to snatch the golden crown from her head, but struggling as it gets caught in her hair.
After finally pulling it free, Jurie walks over to the runner-up and places the crown on her head, before De Silva walks off stage in tears.
The crown has since been returned to De Silva, after pageant organisers confirmed she is not a divorcee, but is separated.
De Silva has since said she had to be treated for "head injuries" and will be taking legal action against the way she was treated, describing it as "unreasonable and insulting".
"I say a true queen is not a woman who snatches another woman's crown, but a woman who secretly sets another woman's crown," De Silva said in a lengthy Facebook post.
She also believes it is the first time in pageant history a crown has been snatched off a title winner's head.
"I'm still an un-divorced woman," De Silva said. "I've already passed the necessary legal action for that injustice and insult."
At a media conference, the pageant winner said the crown is dedicated to "those women, those single mums who are suffering to raise their kids alone".
"There are a lot of single mums like me today who are suffering in Sri Lanka," De Silva said.
Event organisers have branded the incident a "disgrace" and have officially apologised to De Silva.
"We are disappointed," Chandimal Jayasinghe, the national director of the Mrs Sri Lanka World competition, told the BBC.
"It was a disgrace how Caroline Jurie behaved on the stage and the Mrs World organisation has already begun an investigation."
Jurie – who holds the Mrs World title – has been questioned by police, as has Jayasinghe.