With the announcement this week that King Charles III’s coronation will take place in May, controversy is growing over what his wife, Camilla, will be wearing.
Camilla, who will become Queen Camilla during the ceremony, will have a crown placed on her head. The crown that is being considered is the one last worn by the mother of Queen Elizabeth II. Her name was also Elizabeth.
Where did it Come from and How did the Royal Family get it?
According to William Dalrymple, co-author of “Koh-i-Noor: The History of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond,” the diamond is thought to have originated in South India. The book describes the Koh-i-Noor diamond as “arguably the single most valuable object in not just the Punjab but the entire subcontinent.”
While exactly when the diamond was mined is unclear, it is believed to have existed as early as the 1300s, but possibly before then.
The diamond is thought to have been owned by various Asian kingdoms, so Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan have all claimed ownership and asked the United Kingdom to return the jewel.
According to the Royal Collection Trust, the diamond was a gift from Sultan Abdul Medjid to Queen Victoria in 1856 a gesture of gratitude for British support during the Crimean War.
Others say Koh-i-Noor was surrendered to the British East India Company in 1849 by Maharaja Duleep Singh in 1849 under the Treaty of Lahore. The diamond and “vast lands” were signed over by the 11-year-old maharaja.
“It was seen as a gift from India in the colonial discourse, despite having a chequered history of being owned by different kingdoms across South Asia and West Asia,” Jyoti Atwal, associate professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, told The Telegraph.
“It was one of the biggest signifiers of victory for Britain over the subcontinent and since India’s independence in 1947, there have been demands of bringing it back.
“It has always been at the forefront of political restoration, restoring Indian pride, and eradicating this blot on history.”
On 3 July 1850, Queen Victoria was formally presented with the Koh-i-Noor at Buckingham Palace. Garrard & Co cut it and turned it into a brooch for Victoria.
The diamond was mounted on a crown for Queen Alexandra (wife of King Edward VII) in 1902, and then transferred to a crown worn by Queen Mary (wife of King George V) in 1911, according to the Royal Collection Trust.
The diamond was later placed in the crown that Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (wife of King George VI) wore.
Has India Asked for it Back?
India has repeatedly demanded that the U.K. return the diamond, including last month after Queen Elizabeth died.
Rakesh Sinha, a member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, told The Washington Post that the Koh-i-Noor represented the monarchy’s “unapologetic” link to a “barbaric and exploitative” past, and that the jewel must be returned to India as restitution.
Could Camilla Just Wear Another Crown?
According to The Telegraph, Lauren Kiehna, a royal jewellery expert who writes a blog called The Court Jeweller, believes a new crown will not be made for the coronation.
Camilla could wear the Queen Mother’s crown after it has been modified to replace the Koh-i-Noor with another jewel.
“I would imagine that Charles and Camilla would be keen to avoid additional criticism when possible,” Kiehna wrote on her blog.
The British government on Thursday, responding to news articles that are saying Camilla may not wear the crown so as not to upset India, said that it was up to the palace to decide how the queen consort’s crown should be decorated.
⚡️The controversial jewel is set in a crown thought to be a front runner among options for Queen Camilla to wear for next year’s Coronation https://t.co/Mv0rJCq9vv
— Telegraph Royal Family (@TelegraphRoyals) October 13, 2022
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