Amid ongoing calls for the return of a “kidnapped” Ethiopian prince’s remains, the British royal family is refusing to comply.
Descendants Want To Bring Prince Dejatch Alemayehu Home
BBC News reports that the situation is centered around the remains of Prince Dejatch Alemayehu. He was born in Abyssinia—now the countries of Ethiopia and Eritrea—and taken to the UK as a young child after British forces laid siege against the area.
As his father died during the siege and his mother passed away en route to England, Alemayehu was an orphan upon reaching Great Britain in 1868. Queen Victoria agreed to support him financially, and he passed away in 1879 at 18.
Ultimately, Alemayehu was buried at Windsor Castle. However, nearly 150 years after his passing, Fasil Minas—an Ethiopian royal descendant—demands that his remains be returned.
“We want his remains back as a family and as Ethiopians because that is not the country he was born in.”
Minas also shared that it “was not right” for Alemayehu to be buried in England. Abebech Kasa, another Ethiopian royal descendant, shares this sentiment.
“I feel for him as if I knew him. He was dislocated from Ethiopia, from Africa, from the land of Black people and remained there as if he had no home.”
She added, “If they agree to return his remains, I would think of it as if he came home alive.”
“We want him back. We don’t want him to remain in a foreign country. He had a sad life. When I think of him, I cry. If they agree to return his remains, I would think of it as if he came home alive.”
Buckingham Palace Shuts The Matter Down As People Say The Ethiopian Prince Was “Looted”
Despite these pleas, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson says it’s “very unlikely” that the prince’s remains will be returned. Specifically, it’s noted that the exhumation would end up “disturbing the resting place” of other buried bodies.
“It is very unlikely that it would be possible to exhume the remains without disturbing the resting place of a substantial number of others in the vicinity.”
After declaring the British royals have a “responsibility to preserve the dignity of the departed,” the spokesperson pointed out that the family had “accommodated requests from Ethiopian delegations to visit” the site.
However, University College Dublin professor Jeremiah Garsha tells NBC News that, despite this gesture, the fact remains that Alemayehu was “kidnapped.”
“He was kidnapped. You have a minor coming to another country as an orphan after his mother dies, and then he himself dies at 18—something should feel wrong about that.”
Garsha added, “He’s looted as well, like all the other curios and treasures that were taken.”