Buckingham Palace refuses to return remains of Ethiopia’s Prince Alemayehu
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Buckingham Palace has rejected a request to return Prince Alemayehu’s remains to Ethiopia. The Ethiopian prince was brought to England after his father, Emperor Tewodros II, committed suicide as British forces stormed his mountain-top palace in northern Ethiopia in 1868.
When he arrived in the UK, he was declared an orphan as his mother had died on the journey. He then met Queen Victoria who made education arrangements for him. The monarch also made the arrangements for his burial at Windsor Castle when he died at the age of 18 from pneumonia in 1879.
However, his family have now requested his remains to be sent back to Ethiopia.
"We want his remains back as a family and as Ethiopians because that is not the country he was born in," one of the royal descendants Fasil Minas told the BBC.
"It was not right" for him to be buried in the UK, he added.
In a statement sent to the BBC, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said removing Prince Alemayehu’s remains could affect others who are buried in the catacombs of St George’s Chapel. The palace said: "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.”
The statement added authorities at the chapel were sensitive to the need to honour Prince Alemayehu’s memory, but that they also had "the responsibility to preserve the dignity of the departed". It also said over the years, the Royal Household had "accommodated requests from Ethiopian delegations to visit" the chapel.