A lawyer in Pakistan has filed a court petition seeking the return of a diamond he says Britain forced India to hand over in colonial times.
Once the largest cut diamond in the world, the 105-carat Koh-i-Noor is one of the crown jewels.
It is set in a crown last worn by the Queen’s late mother during her coronation.
Lawyer Jawaid Iqbal Jafree filed the petition at the high court in Lahore on Wednesday naming Queen Elizabeth II as a respondent.
The application asks that Britain hand back the diamond, now on display in the Tower of London.
India also has made regular requests for the jewel’s return, saying the Koh-i-noor is an integral part of the country’s history and culture.
In 1850, Britain’s then colonial governor-general of India arranged for the huge diamond to be presented to Queen Victoria.
Jafree told Reuters on Thursday that the diamond belonged to Pakistan’s Punjab province and was “forcibly and under duress” taken by the British from the local ruler at the time.
“Now it should be returned to Pakistan,” he said.
In his petition, Jafree said: “The Queen will rise in the highest public interest with facilitating honest disposal and transferring the possession of the Koh-i-noor diamond which was illegally taken. Koh-i-noor was not legitimately acquired. Grabbing and snatching it was a private, illegal act which is justified by no law.”
The court in Lahore has yet to admit the petition for a hearing.
The Duchess of Cambridge will wear the crown holding the Koh-i-noor on official occasions when she becomes queen consort.
In the last half century, Jafree has written more than 780 letters to the Queen and various Pakistani officials asking for the diamond’s return.
His latest court petition notes that his letters have never been acknowledged, except once by the Queen through her principal private secretary.
During a visit to India in 2013, the British prime minister, David Cameron, said in an interview on Indian television that the diamond would stay in London.
“What tends to happen with these questions is that if you say yes to one, then you would suddenly find the British Museum empty,” he said.