Queen Elizabeth in Ethiopia, 1965

Family history and world history converge. My dad served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia between 1963 and 1965. He just scanned all his old slides. Among the images are these photos of Queen Elizabeth’s state visit to the capital, Addis Abiba, to say ‘hi’ to Haile Sellassie. My dad got pretty close to her, as evidenced by this photo he took:

There isn’t much info online about this visit. But I did find a wee clue about it that dovetails with another issue discussed on this blog—LOOT, or the repatriation of cultural objects to their homelands/peoples. The Queen was in Ethiopia from February 1–8, 1965. This article posted just a few months ago, explains the history behind the visit. The article discusses “The Looting of Maqdala” in 1867 by the British. Ethiopian Emperor Tewodros detained some British and Europeans, leading to a British invasion at the mountain fortress of Maqdala. The British prevailed and plundered the fortress, taking manuscripts and objects from the church, much of which ended up in the British Museum, at Cambridge, in the Queen’s collection, and the V&A. The case for restitution has been fought ever since, as the article details. Queen Elizabeth recognized the problem herself on this trip—at least one purpose of the trip was to present Emperor Haile Sellassie with Tewodros’s cap and imperial seal. There was a commemorative stamp printed for the occasion:

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6 responses to “Queen Elizabeth in Ethiopia, 1965

  1. In a few hours I will upload an old film at You Tube. My channel is sofialusi. It is a film made by my father-in-law, a Greek expatriate who lived in Addis by that time. He had come to Ethiopia with the English army from Sudan, when England was helping Ethiopia against Italy.

  2. Apart from Prince Philip and the Queen, with Haile Selassie in uniform on her left, I recognize two people in this picture. The balding man on the Emperor’s left is John Russell, the Ambassador to Ethiopia, and the man in glasses on the left of the photograph is Ian Reeman who was Information Officer at the British Embassy and largely responsible for the local organisation of the Royal visit. At the end of the visit the Ambassador was knighted KCVO and Ian Reeman became the youngest person appointed MVO. I was there as a young Foreign Service officer on my first posting.

  3. Alexander – thank you so much for this info! I will make sure my dad sees this. Perhaps you ran across him in Ethiopia? John Edwards – he was teaching physics at the university as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

  4. Hello Jolifanta (a nom de plume, I guess?),
    I don’t recall your dad’s name but then it was a long time ago and I’m in my seventies now with hazy memories. However, we had very many Peace Corps friends who mixed regularly with the British community and we shared various activities includiong riding in the countryside and amateur dramatics at the English School. Our embassy was what was then (but probably not now) outside Addis Ababa beneath the mountain called Entoto. My posting there lasted five years and we had three children born there in the Princess Tsehi Hospital.
    As memories recall other things of note, I’ll email again if you wish but until then …………. Awrabest, Alexander…..I’m Scottish!

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