The coronation of King Charles III has rekindled calls for Britain to return to South Africa the world’s largest diamond — the centrepiece of the sceptre he will hold at Saturday’s ceremony.
The 530-carat First Star of Africa was unearthed in 1905, when South Africa was under British rule, and donated two years later by the colonial government to King Edward VII for his 66th birthday.
“All the mineral wealth in South Africa belongs to the people of South Africa, not the British palace,” lawmaker Vuyolwethu Zungula, who heads the African Transformation Movement, a small opposition party, told AFP on Thursday.
“People had to die, blood had to be spilt for those diamonds to find their way to Britain,” he added.
The First Star of Africa was cut from the 3,126-carat Cullinan Diamond, the biggest diamond ever mined, weighing 621 grammes in its raw state.
It was sent to Amsterdam where it was cut into two major stones, seven gems and 96 brilliants.
Many were set in the crown jewels – the second-largest stone adorns the front of the Imperial State Crown — and the rest were given to other members of the Royal family.