It was with interest that I read an article in the Sunday Telegraph, in which various loud-mouths, morons and keyboard warriors are making a fuss about the potential wearing of the Cullinan Diamonds[i] by the Queen Consort on an upcoming State Visit to South Africa.
Needless to say, the usual ill-educated fools were out in force, with one leading trade unionist, the spectacularly ignorant Mr Zwelinzima Vavi[ii], saying that if the diamonds were worn on the visit it would “be like spitting in the face of South Africans”. Building up a head of steam, he unthinkingly added: “It would be most unfortunate and would be flaunting the history of Cecil John Rhodes in our faces and, of course, the colonial era’s mining industry – a period where the minerals and the land were taken from us which we then had to fight for.”[iii]
Another 8,000 South Africans also gleefully confirmed their utter stupidity, by signing an online petition calling for the diamonds be ‘returned to South Africa’.
In reality, the Cullinan Diamond was only discovered in 1905, a few years after Cecil Rhodes had died – so quite why he gets dragged into this manufactured hissy-fit is anyone’s guess. No doubt these buffoons know that, by spewing out the name of their bogeyman, that will automatically enrage the brainless ranks of the hoi polloi.
Not only that, but the diamond did not belong to ‘South Africa’. It was discovered on the Premier No.2 Mine – a privately owned enterprise[iv] – and was, in 1907, bought from them by the Government of the Transvaal – which was, by then, a Self-Governing Colony[v]. The idea of buying the diamond (for which no buyer had been found in the two years since it had been discovered), and presenting it to King Edward VII, came from Louis Botha[vi]: the former Boer General who was the Prime Minister of the Transvaal at the time.
A vote was taken, the resolution was passed, and the diamond[vii] was purchased from the mine for the sum of £150,000 (or, about £16m in today’s money). The profit on the sale was subject to tax at 60%, so a good chunk of that money came straight back to the government of the Transvaal. There was some hesitation over whether or not the King should accept the gift, with the British Prime Minister, Henry Campbell-Bannerman, initially advising against it. On the recommendation of none other than Sir Winston Churchill, however, His Majesty decided to accept, and the enormous, uncut diamond was duly presented to the King in November 1907, on the occasion of his 66th birthday.
The stone was then sent for cutting in Amsterdam in 1908, with the diamond cutter – one Joseph Asscher – retaining all but the two largest pieces (Cullinan I and Cullinan II) as payment for his work[viii]. One of the smaller (a relative term) pieces, Cullinan IV, was subsequently bought from Asscher by Edward VII and given to his wife Queen Alexandra. The other smaller pieces were all later bought from Asscher by the South African Government (South Africa by then having unified and, as a Dominion of the British Empire, become, essentially, an independent nation[ix]), and presented to Queen Mary[x].
So quite what dastardly, nefarious deed the wicked British are meant to have done is beyond me. The diamond was not ‘stolen’ by the British, or looted from ‘South Africa’ – which did not even exist as a nation at the time it was gifted to the King. The enormous diamond was, quite legally, bought by the Transvaal’s government of the day from a private mining company, and later gifted to their then Head-of-State. One might as well claim that the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree, which is given by the Government of Norway to Britain each year, is similarly ‘stolen’.[xi]
Of course, historical facts are but troublesome irrelevances to the ANC, their fanatical supporters, and the online ‘woke’ brigade. Perhaps, given the parlous state of the South African economy after quarter of a century of ANC mis-rule, corruption and incompetence, the plan is to demand that Buckingham Palace return the gift, and then attempt to sell it back to Britain so as to bring in a bit of much-needed Forex?
And then, in another 20 years, the same morons will no doubt scream that they want the diamonds back again, after they were ‘stolen’ by King Charles III.
[i] The original stone was cut into several smaller pieces
[ii] Vavi was the secretary general of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, before being suspended over an allegation of rape
[iii] Sunday Telegraph, 20-Nov-2022
[iv] The stone was named after the owner of the mine, Thomas Cullinan
[v] The Transvaal was granted Self-Rule in 1906
[vi] Louis Botha had been elected Prime Minister in the elections held in February 1907
[vii] Which weighed about a pound, and was about the size of a human heart
[viii] splitting and cutting the diamond took an incredible eight months, with three people working 14 hours per day
[ix] The Union of South Africa came into existence on 31 May 1910
[x] George V become King Emperor after the death of his father, Edward VII, in May 1910. His wife, Queen Mary, had previously been engaged to his elder brother, Albert, but he died of pneumonia six weeks after their engagement. Somewhat remarkably, George then proposed to her a year later.
For those who still (willfully?) struggle to understand that, at the time, deaths from disease and horrific levels of infant mortality were the norm, even when people weren’t in Concentration Camps, it is worth noting that King Edward and Queen Alexandra lost not only 28-year-old Albert to pneumonia, but also their son Alexander, who died within 24 hours of being born
[xi] Every year since 1947, the Norwegian Government has gifted a huge Christmas Tree to the British people, in recognition of British support for Norway during WW2. After the trees are taken down at the end of the Festive Period, they are then chipped and composted to make mulch – so let’s hope some Norwegian trade unionists / communists don’t demand that HM Government return the one the wicked Brits ‘stole’ last year