King Charles’ coronation will remind world of Britain’s looted treasures

The coronation of Charles III, to be held on Might 6 subsequent yr, is already mired in controversies – particularly over the jewel in Queen Camilla’s crown. It’s the fabulous Koh-i-Noor diamond, forcibly snatched in 1848 by the rapacious East India Firm from the 10-year-old Maharaja of Lahore for presentation to Queen Victoria. It now sits among the many crown jewels within the Tower of London and has been worn within the crowns of all queens consort during the last century, and by the Queen Mom at Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953.

The Koh-i-Noor diamond, seen here set in a Maltese cross on a crown made for the late Queen Mother, was taken from India during the 19th century. The British claim it was “gifted”.

The Koh-i-Noor diamond, seen right here set in a Maltese cross on a crown made for the late Queen Mom, was taken from India throughout the nineteenth century. The British declare it was “gifted”.Credit score:AP

However for a lot of Indian residents, it symbolises the brutality and oppression of colonialism underneath the British raj, they usually need the diamond again. The palace and the federal government are reportedly hesitant to point out it off for worry of demonstrations at a time when Britain wants a commerce take care of India.

The coronation is constitutionally pointless – Charles is already King, routinely upon the Queen’s loss of life. This ecclesiastical occasion merely declares him “Defender of the Religion” – the religion being that of the Anglican Church, to which, on the current census, solely 9.8 per cent of Australians say they adhere. However as a spectacle, with gold coach, trumpeting and drumming by males sporting unique finery, the ceremony might be watched all through the world – particularly in India, the place the story of the colonial heist of the Koh-i-Noor will seem disgraceful to fashionable ears.

This diamond, the so-called “mountain of sunshine”, was as soon as the biggest on the earth. It was mined in southern India within the thirteenth century however seized by Nader Shah throughout his sack of Delhi in 1739 and positioned within the eye of the peacock atop his throne. After seize by Afghan warlords, it was retrieved by Sikh rulers of the Punjab and worn on the arm of Ranjit Singh as a logo of his puissance. The wealth of the Punjab attracted the grasping consideration of the East India Firm, the industrial surrogate of the British authorities, which brutally invaded and compelled Ranjit’s successor – the kid maharaja – to signal the Treaty of Lahore, surrendering land and, by Clause III (dressed up as “reparations”), the Koh-i-Noor diamond, which “shall be surrendered to the queen of England”.

Rodney Kelly, a descendant of the Gweagal warrior Cooman whose shield was seized by the British in Botany Bay in 1770, and now sits in the British Museum.

Rodney Kelly, a descendant of the Gweagal warrior Cooman whose protect was seized by the British in Botany Bay in 1770, and now sits within the British Museum.Credit score:Martin Al-Ashouti

The palace nonetheless says that the diadem was a “reward”, however that is false. The boy was separated from his mom, who was thrown into jail lest she suggested him to maintain the jewel, and he was brainwashed into changing into a Christian (which appalled his Sikh topics). For his “ending faculty” he was transported to Windsor Citadel, the place Queen Victoria had already been introduced with the diamond as a present – not from the Maharaja, however from the East India Firm, which had pressured him to half with it as a spoil of battle.


Even worse was to return. The Queen, understandably, had scruples about sporting it. So the boy needed to be manipulated and pressured to “reward” it to her at a sham ceremony staged at Buckingham Palace in 1854. At age 15, after he had been satisfactorily rehearsed, the diamond was positioned in his hand and he was made to current it to the Queen, who then had no compunction about sporting it.

However the circumstances, each of its taking as a spoil of an unjust battle, and of its pressured “reward” by an adolescent disadvantaged of his mom, have been unconscionable. If repeated as we speak, any first rate fairness court docket would set it apart.

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