What is the Koh-i-Noor diamond and will Camilla wear it at the coronation?

Camilla Parker-Bowles will be crowned Queen Consort during a regal and impressive coronation for King Charles next year.

Buckingham Palace announced that the Westminster Abbey ceremony, which will see Charles III and his wife anointed and blessed, will take place on Saturday May 6, 2023.

The placing of a diamond-laden crown on the head of the Queen Consort is happening due to a change of mind by the late Queen Elizabeth at the Platinum Jubilee earlier this year.

Camilla was expected to have the more low-key term of Princess Consort when Charles acceded to the throne.

But upon the 70th anniversary of her own coronation in February, the late monarch released a statement saying it was her “sincere wish” for Camilla to “be known as Queen Consort”.

While the hurdle was overcome with the Queen’s blessing, the coronation is proving not to be without controversy.

A diamond used in a crown possibly set to be placed upon Camilla harks back to the Empire, and some in India are unhappy that it could be used during a ceremony that will be broadcast across the globe.

What is the Koh-i-Noor diamond?
The Koh-i-Noor diamond is mounted into a crown that was specially made for the Queen Mother to wear when she was crowned alongside her husband, King George VI.

According to reports, that same crown is one of the top picks for Camilla to wear at her husband’s coronation next year.

The crown is made up of 2,800 diamonds, with the front cross holding the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond, one of the largest cut diamonds in the world.

It is not known exactly how much the 105-carat gem is worth, but estimates put it at around £120m.

It was made in 1937 for the then Queen Elizabeth, consort of King George VI, using stones already in the royal collection.

The Koh-i-Noor diamond was mounted in the crowns of Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII, and Queen Mary, wife of King George V, and was once again reset for the Queen Mother.

The jewel dates back to the Mughal ruler in 1628 and served as a symbol of power.

It was acquired by Britain after the Anglo-Sikh wars and “gifted” to Queen Victoria in 1850 by 10-year-old Duleep Singh, the last emperor of the Sikhs.

However, it was reportedly given only after the mother of the young heir to the Punjabi throne was held prisoner and he was forced to sign it away.

A campaign has sprung up in India urging Britain to return the stone, although it is also claimed by Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Will Camilla wear the Koh-i-Noor diamond at the coronation?
There is a suggestion that Buckingham Palace could decide not to use the diamond in order to avoid inflaming tensions with India.

Held in a detachable platinum mount on the crown, it may be removed before the coronation in favour of something simpler, such as Queen Victoria’s coronet.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party in India has said the use of the jewel brings to mind an “oppressive past” when the country was ruled by Britain.

A party spokesman told The Daily Telegraph: “The coronation of Camilla and the use of the crown jewel Koh-i-Noor brings back painful memories of the colonial past.

“Most Indians have very little memory of the oppressive past. Five to six generations of Indians suffered under multiple foreign rules for over five centuries.

“Recent occasions, like Queen Elizabeth II’s death, the coronation of the new Queen Camilla and the use of the Koh-i-Noor do transport a few Indians back to the days of the British Empire in India.”

The Telegraph said a UK source had described use of the jewel in the coronation as “problematic”.

Buckingham Palace, however, has declined to comment on whether the crown could be used or not.