Scandal behind $591 million royal diamond: 'Stolen'

A diamond believed to be worth $591 million and worn by the Queen Mother during her coronation is at the centre of a royal scandal.

The famed Koh-i-Noor is a diamond Britain reportedly forced India to hand over in colonial times.

It is one of the largest known diamonds in the world with the 105-carat rock part of the Crown Jewels.

It is set in the crown worn by the late mother of Queen Elizabeth II during her coronation in 1937.

In 2015 a Pakistani attorney filed a court petition to seek the return of the diamond, asking Queen Elizabeth II to hand it back.

The Queen mother at her coronation wearing the crown with the Koh-i-noor diamond. Source: Getty
The Queen mother at her coronation wearing the crown with the Koh-i-noor diamond. Source: Getty

India has also made regular requests for the jewel's return, saying the diamond is an integral part of the country's history and culture.

Britain's then colonial governor-general of India arranged for the huge diamond to be presented to Queen Victoria in 1850, during British colonial rule. Majority-Hindu India and majority-Muslim Pakistan became two different countries in 1947 when they became independent of Britain.

According to the ABC, the British have long claimed the diamond was surrendered while Indians believe it was 'stolen'.


Attorey Jawaid Iqbal Jaffree told Reuters that the Koh-i-Noor rightly belonged to Pakistan's Punjab province and was "forcibly and under duress" taken by the British from the local ruler at the time.

He said Koh-i-Noor was not legitimately acquired. Grabbing and snatching it was a private, illegal act which is justified by no law.

"I requested Pakistan government to request British Queen to return this diamond back to us when her reign ends. It was taken away from Lahore, from the king of Lahore. Obviously, the king did not give it to them in good relations," Jaffree said.

King Charles with a stern expression.
There are calls for the royal family to give the diamond back. Source: Getty

Just hours after her death, Indian social media lit up with renewed calls for the return of the famous Koh-i-Noor.

It is now an issue King Charles faces, with a historian at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jyoti Atwal, telling the ABC he should apologise for his nation's role in the historical events.

“King Charles will have to look at this new phase of anti-colonialism because anti-colonialism has changed its face now,” Professor Atwal said.

With Reuters

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