Plans for the Queen Consort to be crowned using regalia containing the controversial Koh-i-Noor diamond may be axed because of ‘political sensitivities’, it has been reported.
When the King first raised the issue of his wife taking her place by his side at his coronation several years ago it was provisionally agreed that she would be proclaimed Queen Consort using the late Queen Mother‘s crown, according to Mail+.
The priceless piece features 2,800 diamonds with the front cross holding the famous 105-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond, one of the largest cut diamonds in the world.
But the Mail has learnt that there is ‘significant nervousness’ about this now given continuing controversy over ownership of the diamond, which originated in India and is claimed not only by the republic but also several other countries in the region.
Plans for the Queen Consort to be crowned using regalia (pictured: The Queen Mother’s Crown on her coffin while she lie in state in 2002) containing the controversial Koh-i-Noor diamond may be axed because of ‘political sensitivities’, it has been reported
When the King (pictured here with Camilla during the State Opening of Parliament in 2015) first raised the issue of his wife taking her place by his side at his coronation several years ago it was provisionally agreed that she would be proclaimed Queen Consort using the late Queen Mother’s crown, according to Mail+
The gem, which is held in a detachable platinum mount, may now be taken out of the crown before use – or the crown not even used at all in favour of something simpler, such as Queen Victoria’s coronet.
A source said: ‘The original plan was for the Queen Consort to be crowned with the late Queen Mother’s crown when her husband acceded to the throne.
The gem (pictured), which is held in a detachable platinum mount, may now be taken out of the crown before use – or the crown not even used at all in favour of something simpler, such as Queen Victoria’s coronet
That was certainly the agreement a few years ago when the whole idea of the Duchess of Cornwall becoming Queen Consort was first mooted.
‘But times have changed and His Majesty The King is acutely sensitive to these issues, as are his advisors. There are serious political sensitivities and significant nervousness around them, particularly regarding India.’
Buckingham Palace declined to comment today.
Announcing the dating of next year’s coronation as May 6, palace officials said yesterday that further details about the coronation – which will incorporate a mix of the traditional and the modern – would be announced in due course.
But the issue of regalia – particularly the Queen Consort’s crown – is likely to prove a sticking point.
It was made in 1937 for Queen Elizabeth, consort of King George VI, using many stones already in the royal collection. Most of the diamonds were removed from Queen Victoria’s Regal Circlet.
The Koh-i-noor diamond had been successively mounted in the crowns of Queen Alexandra and Queen Mary, and was once again reset for this crown.
Queen Elizabeth wore the crown without its arches at the State Openings of Parliament during the reign of King George VI, and again at the coronation of her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, in 1953.
Queen Elizabeth (pictured here with the late Queen, her sister Margaret and King George VI) wore the crown without its arches at the State Openings of Parliament during the reign of King George VI, and again at the coronation of her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, in 1953
It is impossible to know exactly where the diamond came from, although there is no doubt that it was panned in India. The earliest reference appears to relate to a powerful Mughal ruler in 1628.
It returned to India in 1813 and become a potent symbol of power until it was acquired by Britain in 1849.
The diamond was given to Queen Victoria in 1855 by 10 year-old Duleep Singh, last emperor of the Sikhs.
Although much has been made of the fact that it was ‘given’ to this country, critics point out that this was only after the mother of the ten-year old heir to the Punjabi throne was held prisoner and he was forced to sign it away.
It then became a special possession of Queen Victoria and displayed at the 1851 Great Exhibition in London.
Since then it has become part of the Crown Jewels, and point of dispute between the UK, India – as well as several other nations – ever since.
William Dalrymple, who co-wrote Koh-i-Noor: The History of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond with colleague Anita Anand said: ‘It is not a small sensitive issue in the eyes of India.
‘It is a massive diplomatic grenade.’
‘One of the reasons we wrote our book was that we don’t believe anyone in this country has the slightest conception of how much it matters in India.
‘For people here it is the name of an Indian restaurant or a brand of pencils or maybe something they have seen on a school trip to the Tower of London.
‘But it is actually part of a wider disconnect of a number of things that Indians get very upset about to do with the colonial period.
‘The diamond has been claimed by Pakistani, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and also the Taliban. It is a hugely sensitive and much claimed stone.
‘It matters to a huge number of people and has continued to be very controversial since the Queen died.
‘There is an expectation that this is an issue that will come back. Colonialism is over, Britain wants to make friends with India, it is a major new rising power.
‘In a sense the British have brought this on themselves because they turned the stone into a symbol of their empire by putting it on display in the Great Exhbition of 1851.
‘It has [since] become, rightly or wrongly, a symbol for many colonised people of all they think that we took from them. Whatever your position on it, that is how it’s viewed.
‘This tiny stone, which is actually not that big – in fact, and it’s not even in the top 100 of the worlds diamonds any more – has come to take the whole weight of colonisation on its shoulder. It it has become this very, very sensitive object and is a major issue now between the two countries. ‘
Saurav Dutt, author and political commentator, told the Mail that any decision to include the diamond in next year’s coronation ceremony would ‘fly in the face’ of any attempt by the Royal Family ‘to draw a line under imperialism’.
He claimed: ‘Ensuring the Koh-i-Noor remains front and centre in the public eye in this way flies in the face of any attempt by the Royal Family and political orthodoxies to draw a line under the dispossession, prejudice, plunder and exploitation that imperialism revelled in.
The diamond was given to Queen Victoria in 1855 by 10 year-old Duleep Singh, last emperor of the Sikhs. It is now in the Crown of the Queen Mother and rests in
It then became a special possession of Queen Victoria and displayed at the 1851 Great Exhibition in London. Since then it has become part of the Crown Jewels, and point of dispute between the UK, India – as well as several other nations – ever since
‘Such a position is at odds with the modern, egalitarian stance the Royals seek to present themselves within a world that seeks to move on from the ugliest chapters of history that they benefited from.’
He added: ‘In a pluralistic modern British society, the exhibitionism of this diamond in this way can only serve to outrage and remind society of the usurious relationship between India and Britain.
‘Such a position is untenable as both parties strive to cut lucrative trade deals post-Brexit.
‘From a public relations point of view, the unsavoury optics of cavorting around with this looted artifact must be outweighed by fostering improved relations between the ruler and the ruled.’
It comes as Downing Street says it is considering ‘all options’ to mark King Charles III’s Coronation with a bank holiday amid growing calls for Britons to be given a special long weekend to mark next May’s event.
The new monarch and his wife Camilla, the Queen Consort, will be crowned at an historic ceremony at Westminster Abbey on Saturday May 6 next year.
MPs have suggested the occasion could be marked by moving the early May bank holiday one week later to Monday May 8.
Some have even called for an extra bank holiday on top of the eight that are already scheduled for next year – those being January 2, April 7, April 10, May 1, May 29, August 28, December 25 and December 28.
Labour today said moving the early May day off would be a ‘good idea’, while Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said a bank holiday would be ‘appropriate’ to mark the ‘splendid historic’ event.
No10 said the Government was ‘carefully considering’ the issue amid the clamour for a three-day weekend to celebrate the Coronation.
Prime Minister Liz Truss’s official spokesman said: ‘Obviously this will be a historic event. We are carefully considering our plans. All options remain on the table.’
Labour backed moving the May bank holiday to coincide with the Westminster Abbey event.
‘That would certainly be a good way for the country to be able to celebrate the Coronation,’ said a spokesman for party leader Sir Keir Starmer.
‘Moving the May bank holiday that there is for that weekend would be a good idea.’
Earlier, Mr Rees-Mogg had said a bank holiday would be ‘appropriate’ to mark the ‘splendid historic’ occasion.
He told the BBC: ‘I think that having a bank holiday for a coronation seems to me to be an eminently suitable thing to do. But there is a process that has to be gone through and it has to be approved ultimately by the Privy Council.
‘When I was Lord President of the Council we had to approve bank holidays even when Christmas Day fell on a Saturday, to move it to the Monday.
‘So bank holidays go through a splendid historic process, which I suppose is only appropriate for a splendid historic occasion like the Coronation.’
King Charles’s coronation will be at Westminster Abbey on Saturday May 6: Monarch and Queen Consort Camilla will both be crowned in ceremony lasting just ONE hour on Harry and Meghan’s son Archie’s fourth birthday – but there’s NO promise of a Bank Holiday
By Inderdeep Bains, Deputy Chief Reporter for the Daily Mail and Matthew Lodge for MailOnline
The new monarch will be officially crowned in what is expected to be a scaled back version of the ancient ceremony lasting just one hour and conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury at Westminster Abbey.
The event, which will see the eyes of the world once more turn onto the Britain, is set to take place on a Saturday scuppering the hopes of many who might have wished for a bank holiday to mark the occasion, as insiders claim it is ‘unlikely’ extra time off will be given.
It will also take place on the fourth birthday of Harry and Meghan’s son, Archie, potentially causing a clash in the Sussex household if the King’s second son is invited to the ceremony as is expected.
King Charles, 73, is said to want a more modest affair than is tradition with the event being cut down to less than an hour, the guest list slashed by a three quarters and a less formal dress code.
‘The Coronation will reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry,’ the Palace confirmed as it revealed the date.
The announcement comes amid much speculation that the momentous occasion is being slimmed down amid the cost of living crisis and to make way for a more streamlined, modern monarchy.
Palace insiders said that while the Coronation will include the same core elements of the traditional ceremony which has retained a similar structure for more than 1,000 years, it would recognise the ‘spirit of our times’.
It is expected to be much ‘smaller and simpler’ than the three-hour spectacle of the late Queen’s momentous Coronation in 1953.
Charles, then Prince of Wales, at the ceremonial state opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster on May 10, 2022
Palace insiders said that while the Coronation will include the same core elements of the traditional ceremony which has retained a similar structure for more than 1,000 years, it would recognise the ‘spirit of our times’. It is expected to be much ‘smaller and simpler’ than the three-hour spectacle of the late Queen’s momentous Coronation in 1953 (Pictured: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in her coronation dress and Robe of Estate holding the spectre and orb and and wearing the Imperial State Crown)
The Gold State Coach is seen on The Mall during the Platinum Jubilee Pageant in front of Buckingham Palace on June 5, 2022
Queen Elizabeth II receives the homage of her husband Prince Philip at her coronation in Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh wave from Buckingham Palace on June 2, 1953 after her coronation in London
Royal fans wait on The Mall in London in the rain on June 1, 1953 for an all-night vigil ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation
Prince Charles looks solemn as he stands chin on hand between the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret in the Royal Box at Westminster Abbey, from where he saw Queen Elizabeth II crowned on June 2, 1953
Queen Elizabeth II wears St Edward’s Crown during her coronation in June 1953. This was the view as seen by television viewers immediately after the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Geoffrey Fisher, had placed the crown upon the Queen’s head
Plans for the major event are known by the codename Operation Golden Orb, which sets out the blueprint for the service and the pageantry surrounding it.
They are expected to see the guestlist slashed from 8,000 to just 2,000 with a more relaxed dress code with peers possibly allowed to wear lounge suits rather than ceremonial robes.
Ancient and time-consuming rituals – including presenting the monarch with gold ingots – are also set to be axed to save time.
However, the Prince of Wales is expected to play a prominent role in the occasion – the first time an heir will participate in the proceedings in three generations.
Charles was just four when his mother was crowned and the late Queen was 11 at the time of her father’s coronation – as children neither played a formal role.
In contrast Prince William – aged 40 and a full-fledged working royal – is expected to be an eminent figure at the event.
The Coronation is being held slightly earlier than was anticipated – it was first rumoured to be taking place on the 70th anniversary of the late Queen’s coronation in June.
It is also taking place on a Saturday – Coronations have not traditionally been held on a weekend with the late Queen’s held on a Tuesday.
It is believed to be unlikely there will be a bank holiday to allow the nation to celebrate, with the royal household and the government said to be mindful of the potential cost to the economy amid the cost-of-living crisis.
Guest lists have yet to be confirmed for the spectacle, including whether or not the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be invited or be able to travel from California to attend.
The date clashes with the birthday of their son Archie – Charles’s grandson – who will be turning four on the day.
The date was also the wedding anniversary of the late Queen’s sister Princess Margaret, while the King’s grandfather George VI held his coronation in the month of May.
Charles is expected to sign a proclamation formally declaring the date of the coronation at a meeting of the Privy Council later this year.
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams says the date itself will have been chosen after consultation with ‘the Government, the Church of England and the Royal Household’.
He said: ‘May 6th is also the birthday of Archie, the son of Harry and Meghan, who will be four on that date. King Charles was four when he attended the coronation in 1953, which was very young, but he was the future king and it was important for him to attend.
‘It is a fact that since their departure Harry and Meghan have never taken any notice if their events clashed with the activities of other members of the royal family. Also, titles, which should automatically be given to both Archie and Lili under the 1917 Protocols have still to be confirmed. The fact that the date is also Archie’s birthday means a good deal of attention will be given to all this by the press.
‘The event, the first coronation for over 70 years in the last major country in Europe to have one, will undoubtedly be magnificent. Obviously it will be very different from its predecessor in 1953 and it will be exciting to read how in the coming months. This is a pivotal event in the world’s most high profile monarchy and hopefully the Sussexes will be happy to attend as Harry’s father, the longest serving Prince of Wales in history, is finally crowned king.’
The King acceded to the throne on September 8, immediately on the death of his mother, Elizabeth II – the nation’s longest reigning monarch.
The late Queen’s coronation was a carnival of celebration and a morale boost for a nation starved of pageantry in the wake of the Second World War.
Royal watchers had hoped for a similar display of pomp which would draw in viewers and visitors from around the globe.
But King Charles is said to favour a simpler ceremony to reflect his wish for a slimmed-down, modern monarchy, while retaining some of the drama and dignity that accompanied the Queen’s funeral.
But Palace insiders have insisted that the smaller ceremony will not be devoid or pageantry.
During the ancient Ceremony, the Sovereign is ‘anointed, blessed and consecrated’ by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Many will witness for the first time a new monarch take thee oath to ‘maintain and preserve inviolably the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine worship, discipline, and government thereof, as the law established in England’.
Having been sanctified, the sovereign will then be presented with a jewelled sword and the golden spurs – the symbol of chivalry – and the armills – golden bracelets of sincerity and wisdom.
He will put on the Robe Royal of gold cloth and will be presented with the orb, the coronation ring on the fourth finger of his right hand, the sceptre and the rod.
Then Charles, sitting in King Edward’s Chair which was made in 1300 and has been used by every monarch since 1626, will be crowned by the Archbishop with St Edward’s Crown, with the congregation shouting out ‘God Save the King’.
After a blessing, the King will go to his throne and be ‘lifted up into it by the archbishops and bishops, and other peers of the kingdom’.
The archbishop, royal blood princes – likely to include the Prince of Wales – and senior peers will then pay homage to the monarch by placing their hands between the King’s and swearing allegiance, touching the crown and kissing the King’s right hand.
The Queen Consort will also be crowned in similar and simpler ceremony and take her place on a throne.
The Duke of Norfolk, who organised the Queen’s funeral, will have the role of staging the King’s coronation.
While there are concerns the King’s wishes for a stripped back ceremony would not do the Royal Family justice or would be a missed opportunity to showcase Britain on the world stage, there are others who would be unhappy at the sight of such pomp and circumstance in the current economic climate.
Royal author Robert Lacey told BBC News: ‘Will Britain, at a time of homelessness and restricted benefits and energy prices going up, really cheer to the rafters the sight of a head of state riding in a golden coach? ‘There are others who will say, ‘That’s just what we want’.’
Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Princess Anne and the Duke of Edinburgh after the coronation on June 2, 1953
Queen Elizabeth II riding with the Duke of Edinburgh in the State Coach through Trafalgar Square on the way from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey for her coronation on June 2, 1953
Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Coronation dress in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace after her coronation in June 1953
Queen Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother), Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II), Princess Margaret and King George VI after his coronation on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London on May 12, 1937
The then Duke and Duchess of York in a carriage on The Mall leaving for Westminster Abbey, for the Coronation ceremony, after which they became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on May 12, 1937
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth with their daughters Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret Rose after the coronation of The Duke of York as King George VI on May 12, 1937
Soldiers from various infantry and cavalry regiments of the Indian Army seated with members of the British public on the Queen Victoria Memorial on The Mall on the afternoon of the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in May 1937
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth after the coronation of the Duke of York as King George VI on May 12, 1937
When Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1953 there was a carnival of celebration as millions rejoiced in the display which provided a morale boost to a nation on its knees after the war.
For a day, street parties banished the hardship of post-war rationing and shortages, and even atrocious, unseasonal weather could not dampen the enthusiasm.
People began to bed down in the streets of London as early as 48 hours before Tuesday June 2 1953, just to make sure they had a standing place to watch the Queen pass by.
By Monday evening, in pouring rain and driving wind, half a million people were already lining the procession route.
The public were not the only ones making preparations.
In a tribute, Charles – now King – paid to his mother on her 80th birthday, he recalled the night before the big day when he was four years old.
‘I have vivid memories of the coronation; of my mother coming to say goodnight to my sister and me while wearing the crown so that she could get used to its weight on her head before the coronation ceremony; of thousands of people gathered in The Mall outside Buckingham Palace chanting ‘We want the Queen’ and keeping me awake at night,’ he said.
Despite initial reservations, the Queen eventually agreed to the TV cameras being present in Westminster Abbey to capture the event.
Licence holders doubled from one and a half million to three million in anticipation and many people rented a set for the day.
An estimated 27 million people in Britain alone watched the coronation live on their black and white televisions and the images were beamed around the world.
At Buckingham Palace after the ceremony, the Queen, wearing her crown, and Philip appeared on the balcony with the other members of the royal family.
Their children, Charles and Anne, were greeted with great excitement by the crowds.
In her broadcast address to the nation the same evening, the young Queen thanked the public for their support.
All of you, near or far, have been united in one purpose. It is hard for me to find words in which to tell you of the strength which this knowledge has given me,’ she said.
She added: ‘I have in sincerity pledged myself to your service, as so many of you are pledged to mine.
‘Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.’
The night came to an end as hundreds of thousands on Victoria Embankment watched a spectacular coronation fireworks display.
Organisers and royals will be hoping for a similarly effusive display of affection from the public in less than seven months when the King is crowned.