I watched the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle this past weekend. I wasn’t able to see the live broadcast. However, thanks to modern technology, I did find an online site that had the ceremony available for view.
I thought everything about the ceremony was wonderful. I love the way she came down the aisle by herself and was momentarily escorted by Prince Charles. That action sent a message to the world that she was being accepted by the family as a new member of the royal household.
As many people know by now, Meghan’s mother is black and her father is white. An interesting side note is that Meghan is being called “biracial” because her appearance is more that of a white woman with a tan, whereas former president Obama, who had the exact same situation with a white mother and a black father, was labeled “black.”
As I watched the wedding, I wasn’t focusing on the clothing. And though the ceremony was refreshing, with contributions by a black pastor, choir, and cellist, none of that fascinated me.
What did? My attention was drawn to the location more than anything else. I decided to do a bit of research about it. St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle was built in the 14th century. It still functions as a chapel to this day, hosting services every Sunday and tours throughout the week. It is also a burial ground. Of all the British royalty entombed there, King Henry VIII is the most recognizable! As I read further down the list of other notables for whom the chapel served as final resting place, one named stuck out for me:
Dejazmatch Alemayehu Tewodros, better known as His Imperial Highness Prince Alemayehu of Ethiopia (23 April 1861 – 14 November 1879).
How did a member of the royal Ethiopian family end up being entombed there? In 1868, the young Prince’s father lost a battle with England and as his castle was being invaded, he committed suicide. The young prince was brought to England by a British sea captain, Tristram Speedy. Once in England, the young prince was introduced to Queen Victoria who took an interest in him and his subsequent education. He attended a number of British schools, including an officer training school at the Royal Military College.
Being one of the few blacks in Britain, he was constantly the recipient of attention because of his skin color. In 1879, he contracted pleurisy. Six weeks later, even though he had been attended to by some of the best physicians in England, he died. Queen Victoria arranged that he be buried at Windsor Castle.
I hadn’t known anything about the Ethiopian prince until I began to look into the history of the chapel where Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding took place. It is an interesting side note to a very wonderful occasion.