Robert Aldrich
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The return of the throne
The repatriation of the Kandyan regalia to Ceylon
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When the British conquered the kingdom of Kandy in 1815, deposing and exiling the last king in Ceylon, they also took possession of the throne, crown and other items of the Kandyan regalia. Some of the articles were eventually auctioned off in London, but the most important pieces were presented to the British monarch and placed in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. In 1934, with the accord of King George V, the throne and crown were returned to Ceylon during a royal tour by the Duke of Gloucester. They then figured prominently in the independence ceremonies of Ceylon in 1948. This chapter explores the history of the Kandyan regalia – from their presentation by the Dutch to the Kandyan sovereign in the 1700s to their current significance in the National Museum of Sri Lanka – arguing that the capture of the regalia and their subsequent history provides insight into the relationship between colonial and indigenous monarchies, colonialism and nationalism, and the role of regalia as trophies of conquest and as symbols of ethnic and national identity.

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Crowns and colonies

European monarchies and overseas empires


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