King Charles’ coronation invokes mixed feelings among South Asians

Photo courtesy NBC News / Tim Graham Photo Library

Sapan News As Britain welcomed its 40th monarch on Saturday in an event that was supposedly scaled back but nonetheless with a lot of pomp and fare, Southasians viewed it with mixed feelings. People in the diaspora believe that the institution oppressed their parents, grandparents and ancestors and that the coronation is a relic of that colonial legacy.

“The Commonwealth wouldn’t exist without the empire,” says Priyamvada Gopal, a professor of postcolonial studies at the University of Cambridge. “There is a lot of wealth in the royal family, both the monarchy’s wealth and the private wealth of the family, which is completely tied up to the imperial project unfolding over several hundred years.”

While Charles was born a year after the subcontinent gained independence, he is still inextricably linked to the exploits of colonialism, most notoriously the Koh-i-Noor diamond which Queen Consort Camilla chose not to wear given its murky past. She did, however, wear the coronation necklace which includes a giant 22.48-carat centrepiece pendant called the Lahore diamond. According to details, the Lahore diamond was a part of the Lahore Treasure, which the British seized in 1849 when they took hold of the Lahore Fort.

It also doesn’t help that no member of the royal family has ever formally apologised for its institution’s role in Britain’s controversial past.

Read more at South Asians grapple with generational impacts of colonialism as King Charles ascends the throne by Sakshi Venkatraman, NBC News, 5 May 2023, and British Asians reflect on Empire before King Charles’s coronation by Alasdair Soussi, Al Jazeera, 3 May 2023