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Koh-i-Noor diamond on crown
Photograph: Getty Images

Will Queen Consort Camilla have to swap her controversial crown?

The Koh-i-Noor diamond was taken by the British empire during its colonial rule over India

Written by
Faima Bakar

The date for King Charles’s coronation has been confirmed as Saturday May 6 next year. But now talk has turned to a very specific question: will Camilla, the new Queen Consort, be donning a crown with a diamond robbed by colonial authorities two centuries ago?

There are a whopping 2,800 jewels on the crown, but pride of place at the front is a 105-carat Indian diamond known as the Koh-i-Noor – one of the largest in the world.

It was a symbol of power in India before it was taken by the British in 1849 during their colonial rule. In 1851, it was put on display at the Great Exhibition in London, before becoming a part of the Crown Jewels.

During the coronation, Camilla will be crowned with her new title as Queen Consort, but if she wears the Koh-i-Noor crown, it could ’bring painful memories of the colonial past’ said a spokesperson for India’s ruling political party, Bharatiya Janata.

They said the diamond could be a reminder of the British Empire in India and everything that was taken from its people. During the empire, billions were looted from India (one economist says this figure was trillions), so much so that the word ‘loot’ was introduced, taken from the Hindi word ‘lut’ meaning the spoils of war. 

The controversy surrounding it might cause the palace to think twice, but so far no statement has been made. The palace did confirm that the ceremony will be ‘rooted in long-standing traditions and pageantry’ but will also ‘reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future’.

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