After 150 years Emperor Tewodros II‘s hair is being sent back to Ethiopia by London’s National Army Museum.
It was taken at the Battle of Maqdala in 1868, when British troops finally captured the fortress in which the British consul and his staff were being held captive by the Emperor.
The Emperor committed suicide and a lock of his hair was cut off.
His son was taken back to England, as were many treasures from the palace.
Press release: Ethiopian Embassy, London
The Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in London welcomes and commends the unanimous decision by the Trustees of the National Army Museum to return locks of hair belonging to Ethiopia’s Emperor Tewodros II, which were removed by a member of the British Expeditionary Force led by Field Marshal Robert Cornelius Napier after the Emperor chose to commit suicide rather than surrender at the battle of Maqdala in 1868.
The Ethiopian Embassy in London will hold discussions with the National Army Museum on Thursday 7th March on the repatriation of the hair.
This exemplary gesture of goodwill by the National Army Museum – coming as it does at the end of a year-long commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Maqdala – signifies the dawn of a new level of shared understanding in our complex history. It is also a reflection of the longstanding ties between Ethiopia and the UK, based on a spirit of partnership and the principle of mutual benefit.
For Ethiopians everywhere, as the locks of hair represent the remains of one of the country’s most revered and beloved leaders, a display of jubilant euphoria is to be expected when it is returned to its rightful home in Ethiopia.
Once again, the Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in London renews its thanks and appreciation to the National Army Museum for this commendable deed.