The Kohinoor Diamond's History — Plus, Why You Won't See It at King Charles III's Coronation

Melissa Willets - Author
By

May 2 2023, Published 2:29 p.m. ET

Camilla, Queen Consort and King Charles III during the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace on November 22, 2022 in London, England.
Source: Getty Images

The history of the Kohinoor diamond dates back as far as the 1500s, and in fact, probably much further back than that.

But the Islamic Mughal dynasty in India is the first time a recorded history of the controversial diamond existed, according to Smithsonian Magazine. That the British would eventually claim ownership of the rare stone is what still has people talking about it today.

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After the Kohinoor, which may be the most expensive diamond on the planet, passed through Persian and Afghan control, the exquisite stone was gifted to Britain's Queen Victoria under questionable circumstances.

The diamond now sits in the Queen Mother's crown and was used during her coronation in 1937. This is not the crown that Queen Consort Camilla will wear on May 6, 2023 — here's why.

The Kohinoor diamond's history is so controversial, it will be absent from the coronation.

King George and Queen Elizabeth's coronation on May 12, 1937 in London, England.
Source: Getty Images

At the historic coronation of King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla, one of the British crown jewels will be missing — the 105-carat Kohinoor diamond. The diamond, which is a center stone on the Queen Mother's crown, is considered too controversial considering its history of being acquired due to colonialism.

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While the Queen Mother wore the crown at both her coronation and that of her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, Camilla will don the crown Queen Mary wore, a controversial move itself, since this headpiece is considered recycled. According to a statement from Buckingham Palace, employing this crown aligns with the "interests of sustainability and efficiency."

But it's thought that if the Kohinoor were to be employed in the coronation, the British could potentially enrage India and endanger relations — which is perhaps the real reason we won't see the diamond on May 6.

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The Kohinoor diamond is also said to be cursed.

In addition to the Kohinoor diamond's controversial history, the priceless stone is also said to be cursed.

Indeed, many examples in history point to the belief that anyone who possesses the diamond will experience misfortune.

Some people believe that only women, and God, can sport the Kohinoor — the name of which translates to "mountain of light" in Persian — without dying.

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Calls for the diamond to be returned to India started when the Queen died in 2022.

According to NPR, the general feeling continues to be that the British should apologize for essentially stealing the stone, and it should be returned to India.

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It's worth noting that the Kohinoor is not the only object that has courted controversy in the lead-up to the coronation.

The Stone of Destiny, which is currently housed in Westminster Abbey for the ceremony, made the trip from Edinburgh Castle in Scotland, its home.

Much debate still exists over whether the stone should stay in Scotland permanently, with one person tweeting the sentiments of many: "Wondering why the Stone of Destiny had to be taken to London for the Coronation. Might have been more appropriate for the King to come to Scotland for part of the kingmaking process."

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