The Koh-i-Noor diamond (also known as the Kohinoor diamond and the Koh-i-Nur diamond) is a 105.6 carat diamond that was put in the crown of Queen Elizabeth II's mother, dubbed the Queen Mother, in 1937. The name means "mountain of light" in Persian, and the diamond was discovered in India's Golconda mines. It was captured in 1849 under Britain's colonial control and "surrendered" to Queen Victoria by Duleep Singh, a young heir, after the British imprisoned his mother, Rani Jindan. According to Smithsonian Magazine, "After imprisoning Jindan in 1849, the British forced Duleep to sign a formal document modifying the Treaty of Lahore, which obliged Duleep to relinquish the Koh-i-Noor and any claims to sovereignty. He was only ten years old."
According to the website Historical Royal Palaces, "As part of the Treaty of Lahore, the East India Company stole the gem from ousted Maharaja Duleep Singh in 1849. The contract required the gem to be returned to Queen Victoria." To "conform to modern European sensibilities," the diamond was removed from its original setting and recut into an oval. For nearly 150 years, it has been a contentious portion of England's Crown Jewels.
Following the death of the Queen, there have been fresh calls for the repatriation of the Koh-i-Noor diamond, while both India and Pakistan have been requesting its return for some time. "The government of India further reiterates its resolve to make all possible efforts to bring back the Koh-i-Noor diamond in an amicable manner," India's ministry of culture said in 2016, adding that it is a "valued piece of art with strong roots in our nation's history." The following year, lawyer Javed Iqbal Jaffry filed a petition for the return of the diamond to Pakistan, telling The Telegraph, "I want to establish the Koh-i-Noor's status as a cultural object of Pakistan." I also ask the court to order the Pakistani government to raise the issue with the British government."
Obviously, Queen Camilla will not look good if she arrives to the coronation with a stolen diamond on her head, but the issue is tricky. "At this moment, it's absolutely feasible that the Koh-i-Noor will be in or out," a source told The Telegraph. To put it bluntly, people will be wondering if they really want a fight over a diamond right now." According to royal expert Angela Levin, "King Charles wants Queen Camilla to wear it at the coronation, to follow his grandmother." Meanwhile, according to The Telegraph, India's ruling party stated that Queen Camilla wearing the diamond would bring back "painful memories of the colonial past." That appears to be a clear request for her not to do so.
Because of the controversy, it appears unlikely that Queen Camilla will wear the Koh-i-Noor diamond, which begs the question, "What will she wear?" And what will happen to the diamond in the end? The royals certainly don't lack for crowns, and The Telegraph reports that Camilla has several options, including the 1820 Diamond Diadem—worn by Queen Elizabeth II for the State Opening of Parliament: Not to mention the Coronation Crown of Queen Mary: It's also conceivable that the Koh-i-Noor will be removed and changed from the Queen Mother's crown before Camilla wears it, although this will almost certainly spark just as much debate. In any case, the royals have yet to reply, so keep tuned....