Last Updated: February 15, 2023, 07:40 IST
Ranjit Singh’s minor heir Dalip Singh allegedly presented the Kohinoor to Queen Victoria (File Image)
Kohinoor, which means mountain of light in Persian, came into Queen Victoria’s possession from the treasury of Maharaja Ranjit Singh a few years before she was to be crowned Empress of India
Britain’s Queen Consort, Camilla, has chosen a crown without the controversial colonial era Kohinoor diamond for her coronation ceremony with husband King Charles III at Westminster Abbey in May, Buckingham Palace said on Tuesday.
Camilla’s choice of the Queen Mary Crown for coronation means it may only have a replica of one of the world’s largest cut diamonds, as the original now adorns the crown of Queen Elizabeth II’s mother – Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
The palace said the Queen Mary Crown was removed from display at the Tower of London to be repurposed for the ceremony on May 6 with jewels paying tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II.
While the current version of Queen Mary’s crown has a front cross set with a detachable rock crystal replica of the Kohinoor diamond, it isn’t known yet if that would be retained after the changes are made for the coronation.
“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,” Buckingham Palace said.
There had been speculation over the crown to be chosen by Camilla, with reports suggesting that the one worn by Charles’ grandmother, the Queen Mother, which bears the Kohinoor was a likely choice.
However, it is believed that diplomatic sensitivity may have been considered in the final choice, even though the Queen Mary Crown also has a history of once being adorned with the controversial diamond.
Kohinoor, which means mountain of light in Persian, came into Queen Victoria’s possession from the treasury of Maharaja Ranjit Singh a few years before she was to be crowned Empress of India, and has played a starring role in British coronations of the past.
“Some minor changes and additions will be undertaken by the Crown Jeweller, in keeping with the longstanding tradition that the insertion of jewels is unique to the occasion, and reflects the Consort’s individual style. These changes will in particular pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as the crown will be reset with the Cullinan III, IV and V diamonds,” the palace said.
The Cullinan diamonds were part of Queen Elizabeth II’s personal jewellery collection for many years and were often worn as brooches by the late monarch, who passed away aged 96 in September last year.
The diamonds have been set into Queen Mary’s Crown on previous occasions as well, when Cullinan III and IV were set temporarily in the crown for the 1911 Coronation, and the Cullinan V was inserted when the crown was worn as a regal circlet at King George VI’s coronation in 1937, the palace said.
In addition, four of the Queen Mary Crown’s eight detachable arches will be removed to create a “different impression” to when it was worn by Queen Mary at the 1911 coronation.
Meanwhile, the palace also confirmed that St. Edward’s Crown, which will be used for the Coronation of King Charles, has now returned to public display at the Tower of London, following the completion of its modification work for the grand Westminster Abbey ceremony.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)