You have of course heard of the Koh-i-Noor, the famous Mountain of Light. It is said this diamond was carried through history on a torrent of men’s blood, and that any male who possesses it will add his own to the river.
Legend tells us the stone was mined from Galconda by King Alauddin Khalji. Babur the Mughal received it as a spoil and was assassinated by a rival. His great grandson presented the stone to the Afghan Shah Durrani, who wore it as a bracelet while losing his life in battle. Son to son it passed, each new owner meeting a grisly fate.
The defeated Maharaja of Lahore presented the Koh-i-Noor to Queen Victoria as a peace offering. She commanded it be set as the centerpiece of the Royal Crown of Great Britain.
Is it mere coinicidence that the only two long-reigning British monarchs since this event have been women?
This story is inspired by a novel I am reading, George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman and the Mountain of Light. In this book, the narrator recounts how Britain barely retained possession of its chief colonly during the 1849 Anglo-Sikh war. The Koh-i-Noor serves as a touchstone for his recollection and is glimpsed throughout the story.