The Prince and the Plunder

A book on how Britain took one boy and piles of treasures from Ethiopia

The emperor’s great seal

Published / by Andrew Heavens / Leave a Comment

What: The seal that Emperor Tewodros used to sign his orders and correspondence

Where: Returned by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II during her state visit to Ethiopia in February, 1965. Checking current whereabouts.

Detail of a picture spread of “relics from Abyssinia” in the Illustrated London News 20 June 1868

The Birmingham Daily Post had a report on the return of the seal and a crown in its edition of Feb. 8, 1965:

The Queen returns Ethiopian crown
The Birmingham Daily Post
Monday, Feb. 8, 1965
ASMARA, Sunday

THE QUEEN tonight returned to Ethiopia the crown and seal of the Emperor Theodore, taken by British troops during the Abyssinian campaign of 1868.
At a farewell banquet in her honour, she told her host, Emperor Halle Selassie, that the gesture was “a token of our gratitude and esteem for your throne and person.”
Tremendous applause greeted her statement. The Queen added: For my husband and myself these last seven days have been unforgettable.”
Earlier today. the Queen attended service at a newly built cathedral in Axum, 100 miles from here, the ancient Christian capital of Ethiopia where the Queen of Sheba is reputed to have lived.
For the first time in hundreds of years women in Axum were allowed to worship in church. Ten centuries ago a Jewess named Judith led the last of a aeries of invasions on Axum. It may have been because of her role in the sacking of the city that the fourth-century shrine of St. Mary was banned to women.
Today, by decree of Emperor Haile Selassie, 600 women were admitted to the cathedral.

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