Queen Consort Camilla dodges diamond controversy with coronation crown pick – National

Queen Consort Camilla has selected her coronation crown, and she’s making sure to steer clear of one very controversial crown jewel.

Camilla has chosen to wear Queen Mary’s crown, Buckingham Palace confirmed this week. It was made by Garrard for the 1911 coronation of King George V.

Queen Mary's Crown.

Queen Mary’s Crown.

Royal Collection Trust

Perhaps more important about her choice, however, is what it is not.

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By choosing to wear the Queen Mary crown, Camilla is choosing not to wear a crown that features the 105-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond, a disputed gem that is seen by many as a symbol of the British Royal Family’s imperialist history.

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Originally mined in India thousands of years ago, the Koh-i-Noor was seized by the East India Company in 1849 and presented to Queen Victoria.

It is set in a crown last worn by Charles’s grandmother during his coronation in 1937, but was previously used in other settings, as well.

Queen Elizabeth’s crown, made by Garrard, was the first to be mounted in platinum. It includes a circlet used by Queen Victoria and is emblazoned by the Koh-I-Noor diamond. Crown of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, also known as The Queen Mother’s Crown, is the crown made for Queen Elizabeth, the wife of King George VI, to wear at their coronation in 1937 and State Openings of Parliament during her husband’s reign.

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According to the BBC, the palace was concerned about a diplomatic clash with India if the diamond had been used.

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India has made several claims to be the rightful owner of the diamond, with governments lobbying for its return.

Pakistan, formerly part of British-ruled India, and Afghanistan have also claimed ownership of it since Indian independence in 1947.

Buckingham Palace, however, did not specifically mention the diamond when announcing Camilla’s choice of crown. Rather, they framed the decision in economic terms.

“The choice of Queen Mary’s crown by her majesty is the first time in recent history that an existing crown will be used for the coronation of a consort instead of a new commission being made, in the interests of sustainability and efficiency.”

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Queen Mary’s crown will undergo a few adjustments, however, to meet Camilla’s personal taste. It has been removed from the Tower of London — home of the Royal Family’s jewel collection — and will be reset with other recycled jewels and have several of its arches removed.

The crown will be reset with the Cullinan III, IV and V diamonds, in tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth, the palace said. The diamonds were part of her personal collection and were often worn by her as brooches.

The nine numbered stones cut from the Cullinan Diamond.

The nine numbered stones cut from the Cullinan Diamond. The two largest gems, Cullinan I and II, were formally presented to King Edward VII at Windsor Castle on 21 November 1909. Clockwise from top left: II, I, III, IX, VII, V, IV, VI, VIII.

Royal Collection Trust

However, the Cullinan diamond collection is not without its own problematic backstory. The British Royal Family is in possession of nine diamonds that were cut from a larger gem mined in South Africa in 1905. The diamonds, including the Great Star of Africa sparkler, were given to the Royal Family by South Africa’s colonial authorities.

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Demands for the return of the Great Star of Africa and other diamonds — along with calls for repatriations — have intensified since the queen’s death.

Close to 8,000 people have signed a petition asking for the Great Star of Africa to be returned and displayed in a South African museum.

The Crown has never made any declaration or shared an intention to return the diamonds, nor any of its Crown Jewels.

Shortly after the queen’s death, Vuyolwethu Zungula, a South African member of Parliament, said the country must “demand reparations for all the harm done by Britain” and also “demand the return of all the gold, diamonds stolen by Britain.”

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Charles automatically became king of 15 realms, including Canada, New Zealand and Australia, on the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth in September, but his and Queen Consort Camilla’s official coronation will take place on May 6 at London’s Westminster Abbey.

— Wit a file from Global News’ Sarah Do Couto and Reuters

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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