Buckingham Palace Rejects Repatriation Calls For Remains of ‘Stolen’ Ethiopian Prince

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Buckingham Palace has rejected calls to repatriate the remains of Prince Dejatch Alemayehu of Abyssinia, who was taken from Ethiopia by British troops in 1868 at the age of six.

The teenage prince died over a decade later in England and was buried at Windsor Castle. Ethiopia has been requesting the return of his remains and other treasures for the past 150 years.

Fasil Minas, a descendant of the Abyssinian royal family and a relative of Alemayehu, expressed the family’s desire to have his remains returned, stating, “We want his remains back as a family and as Ethiopians because that is not the country he was born in.” However, Buckingham Palace stated that exhuming the remains would likely disturb other human remains buried nearby.

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While the palace acknowledged the need to honor the memory of Prince Alemayehu, historians and experts have called on the royal family to take more responsibility for their colonial past.

Andrew Heavens, author of “The Prince and the Plunder,” a book about Alemayehu and the British raid on Abyssinia, emphasized the emotional significance of the issue and the prince’s desire to return home before his death.

Prince Alemayehu’s story is intertwined with Britain’s colonial history. After British forces defeated his father and looted the imperial capital, the prince was brought to England under the care of Queen Victoria. Despite the palace’s decision, the Ethiopian Embassy in London will continue to visit Alemayehu’s grave to pay respects.

The ongoing dispute over the repatriation of stolen artifacts and human remains highlights the need for a deeper examination of historical injustices and a reassessment of how nations confront their colonial legacies.

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