Crowning Wisdom: Mountain of Blight

Another famous British crown is the Crown of Queen Elizabeth, better known to we Englishmen at the Queen Mother. This crown is not dissimilar to the Queen Mary’s, but for its containing of the Koh-i-Nûr diamond. This gem is one of the word’s most famous, not only for its beauty and size (106 carats), but because of the international disputes concerning its ownership. The governments of India, Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan all claim it as their own; the British government consistently and courteously rejects each one, citing the terms of the Treaty of Lahore in 1846, in which the diamond was handed over in partial payment for British military assistance. Koh-i-Nûr has inspired a number of novels and tales, such as Collins’ Moonstone, in which a large and fabulous diamond has been daringly sought after, or has brought much bad luck to its hapless owners.

It was not worn at the recent coronation for fear of offending the four claimant nations; if Britain sincerely believed its title to the stone to be genuine, one wonders why last week’s event would not have been the perfect platform upon which to communicate this. In truth, HM government was acting with a wisdom and tact for which it might not otherwise be famous. Indians, Afghans, Pakistanis and Iranians (either migrants or diplomats) would have been distracted by the gemstone instead of the head of she who wore it (only Queens have ever worn the stone in Britain). Sometimes, it is worth avoiding a quarrel by subtly skirting an issue than bringing it to the fore. Discussing controversial issues in carelessly selected environments often creates tension or harm; always preaching about, or against, the day’s provocative or contentious matters will sometimes divert attention from the most important thing ever- the gospel of Jesus Christ, its acceptance or rejection.

The diamond is British; it was not stolen or defrauded, for it was given under the terms of a treaty. Nevertheless, brandishing it in disgruntled faces only causes a resentment and ill-feeling that the coronation needed to rise above; and so it did.