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Royal Family Declines Request to Repatriate Remains of 19th Century Ethiopian Prince, Sparking Controversy and Disappointment

In a poignant and contested matter, the Royal Family has reportedly turned down a heartfelt plea from the family of Prince Alemayehu, a 19th-century Ethiopian prince, to repatriate his remains. The young prince, who was only seven years old at the time, was allegedly taken into custody by the British Army in 1868, arriving in Britain as an orphan after his mother tragically passed away during their journey. Spending nearly a decade in Britain, Prince Alemayehu succumbed to pneumonia at the tender age of 18 in 1879.

Ethiopian leaders and the descendants of Prince Alemayehu have fervently appealed to the Palace for the repatriation of his remains, longing for him to find his final resting place in his homeland. Fasil Minas, one of his family members, expressed their desire, stating, “We want his remains back as a family and as Ethiopians because that is not the country he was born in,” emphasizing that it feels inherently wrong for the prince to remain buried in the UK.

However, in response to the heartfelt request, the Royal Family released a statement expressing regret that they could not fulfill the wish due to the necessity of “preserving the dignity” of others buried at the chapel. They conveyed that the Dean and Canons of Windsor, responsible for the chapel, were deeply aware of the importance of honoring Prince Alemayehu’s memory. Nonetheless, they were advised that exhuming the remains would likely disturb the resting place of numerous other individuals nearby, making it an unfeasible proposition.

“The Dean and Canons of Windsor are very sensitive to the need to honor the memory of Prince Alemayehu,” the statement affirmed. “However, they have been advised that 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.” It further noted that Ethiopian delegations have been granted access to St George’s in recent years, and such visits will continue to be facilitated by the officials.

The decision by the Royal Family to decline the repatriation request has sparked a wave of controversy and disappointment. Advocates for the return of Prince Alemayehu’s remains argue that it represents an opportunity to rectify historical injustices and provide closure to his family and the Ethiopian people. They assert that honoring his wish to be laid to rest in his homeland is not only a matter of familial significance but also a gesture of reconciliation and acknowledgment of the troubled colonial past.

While the Royal Family’s decision stands firm, the plea for repatriation continues to resonate, prompting discussions about historical responsibility and the importance of cultural heritage. As the debate unfolds, it remains to be seen whether there will be any reconsideration or alternative resolution that could provide solace to Prince Alemayehu’s family and grant him the final peace they yearn for.

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