Plans for Queen Consort Camilla to wear a crown containing the Kohinoor diamond at the coronation next year may be abandoned due to “political sensitivities”.
The crown was specially made in 1937 for the Queen Mother, the wife of George VI who died in 1952 making Queen Elizabeth II the British monarch at just 25 years old.
Previously mounted in the crowns of Queen Alexandra, wife of Edward VII, and Queen Mary, wife of George V – the crown has amassed a spike of controversy following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Buckingham Palace has remained tight-lipped about its inclusion in the coronation after reports of “nervousness” surrounding the diamond.
“The original plan was for the Queen Consort to be crowned with the late Queen Mother’s crown when her husband acceded to the throne,” a source told the Daily Mail.
“That was certainly the agreement a few years ago when the whole idea of the Duchess of Cornwall becoming Queen Consort was first mooted.
“But times have changed, and His Majesty the King is acutely sensitive to these issues, as are his advisers.
“There are serious political sensitivities and significant nervousness around them, particularly regarding India.”
It’s a jewel in the royal crown – but many claims it’s “stolen” and should be returned.
The word “Kohinoor” blew up on Twitter soon after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, reigniting a centuries-old campaign to correct the course of British colonialism.
Kohinoor is one of the world’s biggest and most expensive cut diamonds and the centrepiece of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.
Weighing 105.6 carats, the diamond is said to be worth $A591 million.
But how it came to be in the royal family’s possession is a sore point for some, with the Queen’s death sparking calls for it to be returned to those who claim to be its rightful owners – claims King Charles III will now need to deal with.
The Kohinoor’s exact origins are unclear. The British are said to have acquired the stone in the late 1840s after convincing 10-year-old Maharajah Duleep Singh to surrender Punjab to Britain’s East India Company, with the diamond reaching Queen Victoria around 1850.
The diamond has changed hands more than once throughout its long history, opening debate as to whether Indians are even the rightful owners.
The diamond, which was discovered “thousands” of years ago, spent time in possession of Mughals, Afghans and Persians before the young Punjab Maharajah held it, and later the British, according to the Smithsonian Magazine.
“The fact that India have the audacity to say that the Kohinoor belongs to them. I’m pretty sure it was originally found in Lahore therefore belongs to Pakistan,” one Twitter user contested.
“Please return stolen Kohinoor diamond back to Afghanistan so #QueenElizabeth can see heaven,” one wrote.
“Ironically, some say the Kohinoor should be returned to #Iran because the Persian king Nadir had it as the spoil of war. He stole it. The Brits re-stole it. If the diamond came from a mine in #India, worn by Indian monarchs, it should be returned to #India,” another argued.
A return to India?
Indians wasted little time ramping up calls to have the jewel returned after word of the Queen’s passing.
Just eight minutes after news broke of the Queen’s passing, one Indian Twitter user wrote: “On behalf of Indians, we want our Kohinoor back”.
A flurry of commentary followed in support of the diamond’s return to India.
“Let’s not forget the Queen refused to return the Kohinoor diamond back to India after the British stole it,” another claimed.
“Now can we get our #Kohinoor back? Reminder that Queen Elizabeth is not a remnant of colonial times. She was an active participant in colonialism,” wrote another.
Jyoti Atwal, a historian at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, told the ABC that King Charles III will now have to confront the past and apologise for Britain’s role in historical events.
“King Charles will have to look at this new phase of anti-colonialism because anti-colonialism has changed its face now,” Professor Atwal said.
However, the campaign for the diamond’s return is not new.
In 2000, Indian politicians penned a letter to the UK asking for the Kohinoor to be returned.
“Britain owes us,” Indian MP Shashi Tharoor wrote.
“But, instead of returning the evidence of their rapacity to their rightful owners, the British are flaunting the Kohinoor on the Queen Mother’s crown in the Tower of London.
“It is a stark reminder of what colonialism truly was: shameless subjugation, coercion, and misappropriation.”
In 2013, former British prime minister David Cameron ruled out giving the diamond back during a visit to India, saying, “I certainly don’t believe in ‘returnism’, as it were – I don’t think that’s sensible.”
“The right answer is for the British Museum and other cultural institutions to do exactly what they do, which is to link up with other institutions around the World to make sure that the things which we have and look after so well are properly shared with people around the world,” he said.
Will it be seen again?
Most recently, it featured in the crown of Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, and was worn by Queen Elizabeth II during her coronation in 1953.
If Queen Consort Camilla wears the crown at the coronation – it will be the first time it has been seen publicly since 2002, when it was resting a top of the Queen Mother’s coffin at her funeral.
Originally published at www.news.com.au