Broadcaster Narinder Kaur and GB News journalist Emma Webb got into a heated discussion about the diamond, which made headlines this week after it was revealed that the Queen Consort will reuse Queen Mary’s crown, which once held the precious stone, for her and King Charles’ coronation.
Camilla is set to avoid having the Koh-i-noor diamond, nor any replicas of it, set into the crown that she will wear at the ceremony this spring. Instead, it will include diamonds from the late Queen Elizabeth’s personal collection.
On Thursday morning (16 February), Webb argued that the diamond “absolutely should not be returned” to India. The Indian government has repeatedly called for the royal family to return the diamond, which was seized by the East India Company after the Second Anglo-Sikh War of 1849.
Webb said: “Obviously every artefact has its own distinct history. And as the historian Robert Tombs said, this is actually, if anything, it’s symbolic of how complex history is.
“Because this is an object that has passed through the hands of multiple peoples, multiple empires throughout history with conquest and so on.”
But former Big Brother contestant Kaur, who is Sikh, called Webb’s argument “benign” and “weak”, adding that the Koh-i-noor diamond “represents a colonial past of pillaging, bloodshed of millions of Indians”.
“It’s hurtful to many Indians around the world and here in the UK that, actually, it was stolen. It was taken from Duleep Singh who was a 10-year-old boy king during colonisation,” she explained.
“Why the British insist on keeping it… and I think it was a very diplomatic decision by the British government to not use it in the coronation. Why? Because it sidesteps the argument that actually, this diamond does not belond in this country, and why are museums still benefiting from colonisation?”
Kaur also accused Webb of not knowing her history, while the latter became visibly frustrated and said: “Let me finish my point, please.”
After the show, Kaur retweeted a clip of the debate posted on Good Morning Britain’s Twitter account and added: “The Koh-i-noor diamond was founded in Indian soil. It represents to the British their dark brutal colonial history.
“They have NO BUSINESS in continuing to benefit from colonisation. The UN recognises the right of a country to reclaim its treasures.”
Queen Mary’s crown has been removed from display at the Tower of London to undergo modification work.
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