The controversial colonial-era Kohinoor diamond claimed by India is to be cast as a “symbol of conquest” as part of a new display of Britain’s Crown Jewels at the Tower of London set to open to the public in May.
Historic Royal Palaces (HRP), the charity that manages Britain’s palaces, said this week that the new Jewel House exhibition will explore the history of the Kohinoor – also known as Koh-i-Noor – through a combination of objects and visual projections.
The infamous diamond, which is set within the Crown of the mother of the late Queen Elizabeth II, remains within the Tower after Camilla – in a diplomatic move – chose not to use this traditional crown for her coronation with King Charles II on May 6.
“The history of the Koh-i-Noor, which is set within the Crown of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, will be explored,” HRP said, with reference to the new planned display.
“A combination of objects and visual projections will explain the stone’s story as a symbol of conquest, with many previous owners, including Mughal Emperors, Shahs of Iran, Emirs of Afghanistan, and Sikh Maharajas,” it said.
Kohinoor, which means mountain of light in Persian, came into Queen Victoria’s possession from the treasury of Maharaja Ranjit Singh a few years before she was to be crowned empress of India and has played a starring role in British coronations of the past.
It will now take centre stage at the new post-Coronation exhibition at the Tower of London.
“We look forward to expanding the stories we are telling about the Crown Jewels, and to showcasing this remarkable collection for millions of visitors from around the world to enjoy,” said Andrew Jackson, Resident Governor of the Tower of London and Keeper of the Jewel House.
“We are delighted to unveil our brand-new Jewel House display from May 26, offering visitors a richer understanding of this magnificent collection. As the home of the Crown Jewels, we are delighted that the Tower of London will continue to play its part during this historic Coronation year,” he said.
The new exhibition will open just weeks after the Coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla, who will be crowned with the Queen Mary Crown. It marks the first major change to the Jewel House at the Tower of London for over a decade, which has been home to Britain’s Crown Jewels for nearly 400 years.