Arcot Diamonds - The Nawab of Arcot, India to avoid upsetting situation gifted them to Queen Charlette of England

Born into the  wealthy royal family of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, a duchy in northern Germany in 1760, she married George III on 8 September 1761 at the Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace, London.  The marriage lasted 57 years and  she bore him 15 children, 13 of whom survived to adulthood. She was known to have introduced the tradition of displaying  decorated Christmas tree at Windsor in 1800. After the split of Ireland, she was the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until her death in 1818. 

Quite upset over her husband's illness, as she had  vast real estate holdings and jewelry collection, she had a will written. with respect to jewels, in her will, regarding the latter, she divided them into three groups  01. Gift from  King George III purchased for her at the time of their marriage,  02.  Dazzling  collection of Indian diamonds, gifted to her by  the Nawab of Arcot. 03. Jewels  which she had either purchased herself  or had been gifted to her over the years. Queen Charlotte inserted a clause in her will. it said, her husband will get back the jewels which he;s  purchased for her if he recovers from illness. if not recovered from illness those jewelry  must automatically become the property of her husband’s German family, the House of Hanover.

Arcot diamonds.

Above image:  The original Arcot Diamonds suspended from a bar brooch after dismounting from the Westminster Tiara

The two Arcot diamonds in the photograph above, the original diamonds before recutting, appear to match each other in size and shape, despite their differences in weight, the larger one being 33.70 carats and smaller one 23.65 carats.The Arcot diamond pair was separated by Harry Winston after 182 years, set on two different ring and sold them to two Americans, Arcot diamond once were part of the coronation crown of Queen Adelaide, consort of  king William (brother of George IV who inherited the throne as George IV (died  in 1830) had no legitimate issues...........................

 Marie Antoinette of France, was under strain because  the French Revolution was on. As  the King's illness became a serious issue, her eldest son, George, was appointed as Prince Regent in 1811. Charlotte died in November 1818.  As per her will  other jewels, including some gifted to the Queen by the Nawab of Arcot, were to be evenly distributed among her surviving daughter including  the Arcot diamonds. Lord Arden  and  her husband's secretary, Sir Herbert Taylor were  executors of the will. ; 

King George

Queen Charlotte/

Above image:  The American city Charlette is named after her and the bronze statue in NC is described as Britain's only black royal member...........................

.King George IV who possessed arcot diamonds

The jewels mentioned in the second category of Queen Charlotte’''will'', known as the Arcot Diamonds, had a rather interesting history. 

The Arcot diamonds (17th century)  were a group of flawless, pure white diamonds mined at Kollur (now in AP, India) which was one part of   the Golconda region in southern India, The five large diamonds were significant with excellent luster , each one is large - either oval or pear-shaped, weighing  between 38 to 23 carats. The diamonds got the name from a small town of Arcot, now in Tamil Nadu which was then the capital of the Nawab of Arcot.  Muhammad Ali Khan Wallajah, who was the ruler  of Arcot, a city near Madras presented the diamonds in 1777  as a token of his gratitude to the British king George III  and EIC for their military  alliance and for supporting him for his claim to the throne. 

The story  of the Arcot diamonds  of India and how  the Queen  Charlotte came into their possession and how the Nawab the Arcot avoided an embarrassing situation  is an interesting one with twist. The queen did not get it personally, rather  the diamond landed on her hands unexpectedly on a circuitous route. 

Gov. of Madras Presidency Sir Thomas Rumbold

Above image: Sir Thomas Rumbold ( 1736 –  1791)  was a British administrator in India and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1770 and 1790. He served as Governor of Madras from 1777 to 1780....................... 

Sir Thomas Rumbold,the then Governor of Madras Presidency invited the Nawab of Arcot to a birth day part of his son. Everybody at the party was curious  and admired  the  dazzling diamond ring,  its large size, its cut  and its peculiar  luster. Greedy and grasping as he was,  Gov. Rumbold wanted to possess the diamond ring for good. Noticing his curiosity Nawab  Ali Khan Wallajah  allowed him to wear the ring. Upon placing it on the finger, Gov. Rumhold thanked the ruler for his generosity.  Taken back, Nawab said his family had been in possession of the diamond for generation  and it was not his gift to him. Rumbold refused to part with the ring. As for the Nawab, he did not want to antagonize the governor and he needed the help from the English company.  One Colonel Sir Alexander Crosby,  a coworker with the governor did not like his dishonest way of acquiring the ring.   Being aware of his dishonesty and susceptible to corruption, he convinced the Nawab to write   a letter to Queen Charlotte, accept the gift of Arcot diamonds a symbol of his affection and gratitude to her and her husband. He also informed her that  Governor Thomas Rumbold, who was returning to Britain, would be carrying the ring in his strong box. The letter  reached the queen before Rumbold ' arrival in London. Back in England when  Thomas Rumbold, met the king and the  queen  as part of customary protocol, he realized that queen Charlotte had been eagerly awaiting her "gift" from the Nawab of Arcot. Rumbold, having come to know the Arcot diamond was for the queen , he had no choice except to hand it over and forgot  about it for good.  Being shrewd as he was, Nawab Wallajah using his discretion  and  taking into account the future of his kingdom  avoided an awkward and discomforting situation created by Madras Presidency Governor Thomas Rumbold. Nawab Muhammad Ali Khan Wala-Jah, was totally indebted to the British, for restoration of his throne and maintenance of his kingdom and  he had many threats from rulers like Tipu Sultan ,besides internal squabbles over the throne.  

Queen Charlotte  instructed the jewels in the second and third categories, the Arcot diamonds, and the jewels which she had purchased or had received as gifts, had to be sold and the proceeds were then to be divided equally among  her four daughters. However,  Prince Regent  wanted to possess  his mother’s jewels and had not taken  the welfare of his sisters  into account

arcot kingdom youtube.c

After the death of George III, the new king, George IV, claimed all of his father’s property, as well as his mother’s jewels, as his private and personal property, not the property of the Crown. He paid no attention to the the Queen’s  Wil. By virtue of being the king  he argued that those jewels actually belonged to him. 

George IV went ahead and had most of the larger Arcot diamonds removed from their settings and placed in a new crown which he had made for himself. He also kept the majority of the Queen’s other jewels, though  he did not use them occasionally.  As for the queen's four daughters the king went against the wishes of Queen Charlotte, none of her four daughters ever received any of the proceeds of the sale of her jewels. The king became so selfish queen's eldest  son without any scruples, made use of them as his personal property for the rest of his life,  thus openly failing to honor her mothers wish. His dishonest act was driven by greed.