The majestic Imperial State Crown sits atop the queen’s flag-draped coffin as the queen lies in state in Westminster Hall, along with her scepter and orb.

The crown, the same one the young Queen Elizabeth II wore for her coronation in 1953, is adorned with stones including the 317-carat Cullinan II diamond, one of several stones cut from the more than 3,000 carat Cullinan Diamond, mined in South Africa in 1905, when the nation was a British colony. The main stone – the 530.2-carat Cullinan I diamond also called the Star of Africa – rests at the top of the monarch’s scepter.

Inside Westminster Hall:The somber scene as mourners pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II

As the royal jewels are in the news, so are repeated calls to return the diamonds to their country of origin. The queen’s death at 96 on Sept. 8, has also renewed the conversation of the royal family’s ties to colonialism and the queen’s lack of apology or atonement.

Royal jewels:What did Queen Elizabeth leave behind in the House of Windsor’s estate

Calls for reparation from former colonial powers are not new, but have resurged in recent years. Barbados in November 2021 removed the queen as its head of state, becoming the region’s newest republic. Six other Caribbean countries have signaled their intent to follow suit.

“The minerals of our country and other countries continue to benefit Britain at the expense of our people,” Thanduxolo Sabelo, a former provincial secretary for the ANC, South Africa’s ruling party, told local media following the queen’s death. “The Cullinan Diamond must be returned to SA with immediate effect.”

A petition demanding the return of the diamonds has so far attracted more than 6,000 signatures.

“As South Africans, we would like our diamonds returned and displayed in a South African museum,” the petition says.

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