Crown Jewel Was Not Stolen After All

India could be set to abandon its claim to “the most famous diamond in the Crown Jewels” after its government said the huge gem was given as a gift to Britain rather than stolen. Campaigners have for decades been calling for the 105-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond to be given back to India as partial reparation for Britain’s colonial past. The diamond forms part of the crown worn by the late Queen Mother, and is described on the website of the royal palaces as “the spoils of Empire” with “a long and bloody history”. In a Supreme Court hearing on Monday over the latest case demanding the jewel be returned to India, the government of prime minister Narendra Modi said the claim should be relinquished because it was given voluntarily as a gift for Queen Victoria by an Indian king, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, in 1851. “It was neither stolen nor forcibly taken away,” solicitor general Ranjit Kumar said. The declaration comes less than a week after the Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge visited Mr Modi as part of a stay in India. Hmm. The royals have a long history of having secret meetings with powerful people (the Duchess of Windsor for one) when jewels are at stake. Did Wills have a word with Modi?

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