The Koh-i-noor will be exhibited at the Tower of London during the coronation

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The Indian government made it perfectly clear to King Charles that they will have a huge problem if the Koh-i-noor diamond is worn by Queen Camilla (or anyone else) during the coronation. The Koh-i-noor’s history is one of bloodshed, kidnapping, theft and colonialism, and India has made it abundantly clear that the diamond should be returned to them. It took months for Buckingham Palace to work out a solution to the dilemma of which crown Camilla would wear during the coronation, and they eventually decided that Camilla would wear the traditional queen’s consort crown, but would simply remove the Koh-i-noor and replace it with a replica or another diamond. So what will happen to the Koh-i-noor? Will it be sent to India? Of course not. The Tower of London is going to display the blood-soaked diamond in a special coronation exhibition.

The Tower of London will display the controversial Koh-i-Noor diamond in greater historical context for the first time ever in a new coronation exhibition. Through a reworked presentation of the Crown Jewels, Historic Royal Palaces aims to explain the diamond’s complex history by referencing it as a “symbol of conquest” which has passed through the hands of many empires.

The diamond, which usually sits on display with the rest of the Crown Jewels, has been mired in controversy after it was slated for the crowning of the Queen Consort at the King’s Coronation on May 6. Growing upset threatened to come to a head after there were renewed calls for its return, with India as the most diplomatically-critical country that made a claim to it.

However, it was announced last month that the diamond would not be used in the ceremony, as Camilla opted to wear Queen Mary’s crown instead, meaning it has remained on display in the Tower of London.

The new exhibition, beginning on May 26, has been the result of a four-year project for Historic Royal Palaces to delve deeper into the history of the collection in the Jewel House. The Telegraph understands that the origins of the Koh-i-Noor diamond have never been explored in this level of detail in an exhibition, and that its history before it passed to the British monarchy will be explained.

It was said to have been “given” to Britain in 1849, and is currently set in the crown worn by the Queen Mother in her 1937 coronation, but before that it was owned by Mughal Emperors, Shahs of Iran, Emirs of Afghanistan, and Sikh Maharajas. The historical context of the Koh-i-Noor and its many previous owners will be explained through a combination of objects and visual projections. Meanwhile, the origins of the Cullinan diamond, the largest ever found, and the medieval Coronation Regalia will also be explored in the exhibition for the first time.

[From The Telegraph]

You can’t make this stuff up. India has made their position perfectly clear, and I would imagine that they’ve been even more direct in private, through official and unofficial channels: do not exhibit the Koh-i-noor in any way, we consider it stolen property, don’t flaunt your stolen, colonialist treasure, return the f–king diamond. And Britain’s entire response is to wait around for months, declare the problem solved by announcing that Camilla wouldn’t wear the diamond, and then put the diamond in an exhibition to drive tourism. Completely asinine.

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