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South Africans call for 'world's largest diamond' to be returned from King's crown jewels ahead of coronation

Katherine Sidnell

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South Africans call for 'world's largest diamond' to be returned from King's crown jewels ahead of coronation

Featured Image Credit: The Print Collector / Alamy Stock Photo/Ian Shaw / Alamy Stock Photo

Ahead of the King’s coronation, many South Africans have called for the return of the ‘world’s largest diamond’.

The dazzling stone sits in the Sovereign’s Sceptre, which will be featured during this weekend’s ceremony as King Charles III is crowned.

While the rest of the world may be enjoying the spectacle, many feel that it is time the jewel was returned to South Africa.

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The jewel was originally discovered near Pretoria,  South Africa, in 1905. Credit: The Print Collector / Alamy Stock Photo
The jewel was originally discovered near Pretoria, South Africa, in 1905. Credit: The Print Collector / Alamy Stock Photo

In fact, the incredible diamond is known as the 'Great Star of Africa' because of its connection to the nation - having been originally discovered near Pretoria, South Africa, in 1905.

At the time, the country was under British rule with the 530-carat stone being gifted to the Royal Family and becoming part of the Crown Jewels.

Now also known as the Cullinan I diamond, there have been many calls for the gem to be returned to South Africa and displayed in one of its many museums.

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After the death of Queen Elizabeth II, many called for the jewel to be returned to South Africa. Credit: Sueddeutsche Zeitung Photo / Alamy Stock Photo
After the death of Queen Elizabeth II, many called for the jewel to be returned to South Africa. Credit: Sueddeutsche Zeitung Photo / Alamy Stock Photo

After the passing of the Queen Elizabeth II last year, a petition demanding the Royal Family return the diamond gained over 6,000 signatures.

There were also calls for South Africa to leave the Commonwealth, with one MP saying that Britain had ‘harmed’ the country.

Vuyo Zungula told The Times: “SA should now leave the Commonwealth, demand reparations for all the harm done by Britain, draft a new constitution based on the will of the people of SA not the British Magna Carta, and demand the return of all the gold, diamonds stolen by Britain.”

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As King Charles now prepares to take the throne, there have been fresh calls for the precious stone to leave the UK.

Ahead of the King’s coronation, many South Africans have again called for the return of the ‘world’s largest diamond’. Credit: Ian Shaw / Alamy Stock Photo
Ahead of the King’s coronation, many South Africans have again called for the return of the ‘world’s largest diamond’. Credit: Ian Shaw / Alamy Stock Photo

In the run-up to the coronation, a new petition has gained over 8,000 signatures from South Africans.

Originally created by lawyer and activist Mothusi Kamanga, the petition has gained a lot of attention as a replica of the Cullinan diamond went on display at Cape Town’s Diamond Museum.

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The copy shows the gem before it was cut into two parts with the large stone sitting in the sceptre.

The smaller diamond, known as Cullinan II, is also owned by the Royal Family and is set in the Imperial State Crown.

Speaking about potential reparation of the jewels, Kamanga told the Khaleej Times: "The diamond needs to come to South Africa. It needs to be a sign of our pride, our heritage and our culture.

"I think generally the African people are starting to realise that to decolonise is not just to let people have certain freedoms, but it’s also to take back what has been expropriated from us."

Topics: News, Royal Family, King Charles III, World News, The Queen

Katherine Sidnell
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