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An external cavity diamond Raman laser with 1.2 kW output power is demonstrated for durations 7 times longer than the thermal lens time constant. An 83% slope efficiency and a 53% optical-to-optical efficiency were obtained for conversion from a 1.06 μm pump to the 1.24 μm first Stokes. The pump had an M2 of 15, demonstrating that efficiency is maintained at the highest levels even when using exceptionally poor quality pumps. We show that a measured decrease in the output beam quality factor from M2 2.95 to M2 1.25 as power increased is evidence for thermal lens development in the diamond. The results foreshadow development of continuous-wave kilowatt-class lasers or amplifiers based on single diamond elements and pumped efficiently by lasers having poor spatial coherence such as line-narrowed diode laser arrays.