There have been increasing calls for the return of some of the Queen’s crown jewels to India and Africa.
The Passing of Queen Elizabeth II
At Scotland’s Balmoral Castle, Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Thursday, September 8. Age-wise, she was 96. The monarch ruled over all of England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.
While many people have paid their respects on the streets of London near Buckingham Palace, in the vicinity of Windsor Castle, and on social media, others have spoken out about the colonial past of the nation that the Queen ruled for 70 years.
People have specifically demanded the return of the Great Star of Africa set in the Sovereign’s Sceptre, which is a part of the Crown Jewels, and the Koh-i-Noor diamond, which is currently placed in the Queen Mother’s crown and is a part of the Crown Jewels on display at the Tower of London.
One of the biggest cut diamonds in the world, the Koh-i-Noor weighs slightly over 105 carats. It is praised as priceless but is estimated to be worth between $140 and $400 million. It is often referred to as one of the most contentious diamonds in the world.
While the diamond was known as the Syamantaka and is thought to have been first described in a Sanskrit writing more than 5,000 years ago, it was only a matter of conjecture as to who truly owned it.
According to reports, Alauddin Khilji, the Emperor of Delhi, first owned it before the Rajas of Malwa till 1304.
Up until 1849, when British forces took control of Punjab and annexed it, the Koh-i-Noor was still in India. After that, it belonged to the British East India Company.
After that, it was transported back to Britain, where her Majesty, Queen Victoria received it in July 1850.
In the end, the diamond was cut and worn by the Queen, who specified in her will that it should only ever be worn by a female monarch or carried by the head of the state’s wife.
When Queen Victoria died, the diamond was added to the crown jewels.
The Return of Diamonds
Despite the monarchy claiming it was a “gift,” India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran have all challenged the British Royalty’s ownership of the Koh-i-Noor diamond, claiming it was stolen from them.
“The Crown Jewels, part of the Royal Collection, are the most potent emblems of the British Monarchy and possess significant religious and cultural significance in our nation’s history,” according to the website of the Tower of London.
Shashi Tharoor, a politician from India and a former international civil servant, has criticized Britain for “owing” its former colonies.
“The British are clinging to stolen artefacts like the Kohinoor diamond, which they embedded in the Queen Mother’s tiara and shamelessly flaunt at the Tower of London, rather than restoring loot to its rightful owners,” Tharoor claimed.
Queen Elizabeth II is the owner of the Great Star of Africa, the largest clear-cut diamond in the world. It is 530 carats in weight and was stolen from South Africa in 1905. It is estimated to be worth $400 million.
The British changed the name of “The Great Star of Africa” to “Chairman of Mine Thomas Cullinan” while still claiming that it was given to them as a sign of goodwill and peace during colonialism.