I’m about to have to school you with yet another history lesson about the British Empire. I’m cool, so I don’t like having to do this either. But this particular learning session is at least sparkly as hell (kinda tacky even!), because it’s about the Koh-i-Noor diamond, one of the Crown jewels that is the 105-carat centerpiece of a coronation crown that may or may not be worn by Queen Consort Camilla upon King Charles’s king bar mitzvah, according to The Times.
The origins of the gem are largely unknown but it is believed to have been mined in India. According to historian William Dalrymple, who wrote a book on the Koh-i-Noor, the it officially appeared in written record in 1628, when the Mughal ruler Shah Jahan included the stone as the head of a sparkle peacock on a gem-encrusted throne that cost four times the price of the Taj Mahal to construct. Persian ruler Nader Shah invaded Delhi for the diamond in 1739, and he took it to modern-day Afghanistan for 70 years. Somehow, the Koh-i-Noor ended up with the Sikh ruler of Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, in the early-to-mid 19th century, and when he died, a 10-year-old boy king named Duleep Singh “gave” it to Queen Victoria after the British Empire defeated the Sikhs. She put it on the crown, which was later reconstructed for the Queen Mother, the last person to wear it.
But the amicable post-war gift exchange between the fifth-grader and the Queen of the British Empire was written by an amateur geologist, and is most certainly wrong. It was plunder.
“If you ask anybody what should happen to Jewish art stolen by the Nazis, everyone would say of course they’ve got to be given back to their owners,” Dalrymple said. “And yet we’ve come to not say the same thing about Indian loot taken hundreds of years earlier, also at the point of a gun. What is the moral distinction between stuff taken by force in colonial times?”
And because of the way it was acquired, it’s cursed! Many think the diamond is too symbolically loaded with atrocities committed by the British Empire for it to be displayed at the 2023 coronation. In 2010, former British PM was asked about returning the Koh-i-Noor to India. He said, “If you say ‘yes’ to one request, you suddenly find the British Museum would be empty.”
To add insult to injury, Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan also feel they have a right to the diamond.
Bets are that Camilla is going to cave to the woke mob and wear something else on coronation day — maybe a clever rhinestone fascinator, or a bedazzled trucker hat? As British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly told Sky News, “The palace is really very good at assessing the public, and indeed the international, mood.”
I think that the Queen Consort should pull a Cady Heron at the Spring Fling in Mean Girls and divvy the crown up to nations laying claim to the Koh-i-Noor. Cubic zirconia dupes are getting really good these days, plus Camilla’s used to sharing.