victoria davies queen victoria

One of her fellow pupils was Abigail Crowther, daughter of the famous first African Anglican Bishop of Nigeria, Samuel Ajayi Crowther. In its Christmas Special for December 2017 the ITV series Victoria featured the story of Sarah Forbes Bonetta, a captive African princess who was brought to the court of Queen Victoria.

Reblogged this on and commented: Thanks, Ope, for this wonderful retrieval of an interedting archival story. In November 1860 she had already rejected the proposal of a former navy officer and wealthy Yoruba businessman, Mr James Davies, a widower 15 years her elder. Her rescuer was a British naval officer, Commander Frederick Forbes, who had been sent as British envoy to King Guezo of the West African kingdom of Dahomey, during a bout of British gunboat diplomacy designed to induce the king to abandon the slave trade, something that Guezo was reluctant to do, for slavery accounted for his principal revenue. Sarah Bonetta continued to have a close relationship with Queen Victoria.

It is a bittersweet tale of extremes and one that uncovers the complex, colonial narrative around race, class and gender in Victorian England. It is Victorian England and a rather unusual sight – black people were present but rarely seen in this way. More about this nomination is at It’s my pleasure, Mr. Rotimi. Don't miss this twin swap romance. Have a wonderful evening. A chieftain’s daughter from the Egbado Omoba tribe of what is now Ogun State in Nigeria, she was captured in a raid by a rival tribe from the nearby West African kingdom of Dahomey – today’s Benin. The wedding took place in August 1862 at the St. Nicholas Church in Brighton, England.

We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future. During this first year in England Sarah visited the queen and royal children at Windsor on several occasions, becoming particularly attached to the queen’s second daughter, Princess Alice.

Guezo, said to have 18,000 wives as well as a personal bodyguard of 8,000 Amazons – who were also used in hunting for slaves – was notorious for his penchant for ceremonial human sacrifice, which he often laid on for visiting foreigners. Aina was captured and imprisoned for two years before being dramatically rescued by Royal Navy Commander Fredrick Forbes in negotiations with the formidable King Ghezo whose army had been responsible for the death of Aina’s family. Queen Victoria met with Bonetta, whom she described as "sharp and intelligent" several times over the next few years, including at Osborne, her seaside home on the Isle of Wight. They are really encouraging. Thanks for sharing. Given the socio-historical context and the cultural expectations of the time, Sarah could have hoped to have received only a basic standard of living. Agba yin a d’ale. Many of the villagers captured during the raid were made slaves and sacrificed to the gods of Dahomey but fortunately for Sarah, she was saved by the quick intervention of Captain Frederick E. Forbes, a British naval officer who was on a visit to Dahomey kingdom to persuade King Gezo to abolish slave trade.

In August 1862 Sarah married Captain James Pinson Labulo Davies, a successful, wealthy Victorian Lagosian philanthropist and merchant from West Africa. Frederick Forbes published an account of his mission – Dahomey and the Dahomans that same year but he did not live long enough to see the girl he had rescued grow up into a cultured English ‘lady’. In Walter Dean Myers’ book, At Her Majesty’s Request: An African Princess in Royal England, there are letters documenting her visits, the preparation required, the assumed etiquette when in the Queen’s presence, such as what to say and how to behave, providing great insight into life in upper-class Victorian England.

I kept the H. Want more stories like this? Sarah was, however, now sick with tuberculosis and went to Madeira for her health, where she died in 1880 at the age of about 37. Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death.

In January 1862, Sarah Forbes Bonetta, now 19 years old, attended the wedding of the Queen’s eldest child, Princess Royal Victoria, as a guest. Your email address will not be published. I have nominated your blog for the Real Neat Blog Award. Congratulations! But had she not acquiesced, her care, paid for by the Queen, would have been withdrawn. Sarah Forbes Bonetta died of tuberculosis on 15 August 1880.

Aina was renamed by Commander Forbes after the ship HMSBonetta (which transported her to British shores) and taking his surname. Later, upon Sarah’s death the Queen wrote in her diary: “Saw poor Victoria Davies, my black godchild, who learnt this morning of the death of her dear mother”.

Queen Victoria commissioned her favourite court photographer, Camille Silvy to take the couple’s engagement portraits for her own personal photograph albums. He was listed among the 100 most influential Nigerian youths in 2018 alongside Falz, Davido, Simi and others.

I’m honoured. I was also drawn to her because of the parallels with my own family and my children, who share Sarah's Nigerian heritage.". Queen Victoria later went on to arrange a marriage for her to wealthy businessman Captain James Davies (left) +9 Her story was brought to life in the ITV television series Victoria… Concerned by his wife’s persistent coughing, Captain Davies sent Sarah to Funchal, Madeira (a Portuguese Island) to recover.

Click here to mail us or click here to call us on 08061389617. She has frequently been described as the ‘Queen’s god daughter’ but this is not in fact true; nor, as has been suggested, did the queen ever bring her to live with the royal family at Windsor or any other royal residence.

You’re from a wonderful and iconic family. Want more coverage? I wish I can know him better. It was at Osborne where the painting of Bonetta, created by artist Hannah Uzor, was unveiled Wednesday. She readily took up the cause of the poor little ‘Dahoman captive’, affectionately calling her Sally, and becoming a loyal friend and protector until she was old enough to marry.

Victoria Matilda Davies was also a goddaughter of Queen Victoria. No big but full.

Sarah Forbes Bonetta was originally born ‘Aina’ in 1843 to Egbado parents of the Yoruba ethnic group. Sarah herself, never strong, developed a cough that wouldn’t go away. I can’t thank you enough for this great exposition and detail explanation with dates. She married the successful English Heritage announced the painting is part of a series of portraits of overlooked Black figures from history that will be displayed across several sites next spring. Thanks for visiting and reading, Mrs Tola. Kindly give us credit and backlink. British newspapers were full of deeply condescending accounts, describing the “grand field-day” as an edifying example of white benevolence and the “progress of civilisation caused by the influence of Christianity on the negro”. In 1850, she was given as a "diplomatic gift" to Capt. Victoria commissioned the photographer John Mayall to take her photograph (which is in the Royal Archives). Have a tip or story idea? View Books → Now Available! Become a subscriber and support the site! My own daydreams draw me there still…, Queen Victoria’s dress sense – or rather, lack of it – was a subject that regularly provoked the despair of her courtiers. Please do visit again. You can set your preferences and learn more below. He died, aged 34, at sea on board the HMS Tortoise on 4 June 1852, on his way to St Helena, ‘for the benefit of his health’ – which had been wrecked by fever and dysentery caught during his time in West Africa. Well done???? Queen Victoria wrote in her diary, “Saw poor Victoria Davies, my black godchild, who learnt this morning of the death of her dear mother”. In December 1867 during a visit to England, Sarah had seen the queen for the last time, at Windsor. She returned to England in 1855, when she was 12, and in January 1862 she was invited to and attended the wedding of Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Alice. Sarah excelled academically, much to the Queen’s pleasure. Sarah’s parents and siblings whose names are unknown were killed in the raid which turned Sarah, an Egbado princess, into a slave. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1851. Victoria again recorded the event: “Saw Sally, now Mrs. Davies & her dear little child, far blacker than herself, called Victoria & aged 4, a lively intelligent child, with big melancholy eyes.”. It is a worthy aim, but there is much of Sarah’s story still to be uncovered. Bonetta married James Davies, a merchant from Sierra Leone whose parents were liberated slaves and named her first daughter Victoria, who would also become goddaughter to the queen. Well done Akewi. As Sarah approached adulthood, she, like most young women her age, was expected to marry. True to her word, the Queen paid for her education at Cheltenham Ladies’ College before she returned to Africa. The cosy Dickensian Christmas referred to in Queen Victoria’s diary for Christmas Eve 1860, was in great part popularized by Victoria and Albert after their marriage in 1840. Two years later, Queen Victoria pressed her to accept.

Many of the couple’s descendants now live in England, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Ultimately, Sarah suffered the same fate as that of the Queen’s daughters.

She married in 1862 and later had a daughter, Victoria, to whom the Queen acted as godmother. Victoria remained in touch with the queen for many years after her marriage. It’s an honour to have you here, Mr. Davies Oluwaseun Harrison and its my pleasure doing this. Get notified about exclusive offers every week! She lived at first with Captain Forbes's family, then, on 9 November, she was taken to Windsor Castle and received by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. All rights reserved. Team Zutara forever. Sarah was, however, now sick with tuberculosis and went to Madeira for her health, where she died on August 24 1880 at the age of 37.

Shortly after her marriage, Sarah Forbes Davies had her first daughter and requested for permission from Queen Victoria to name her Victoria. While that was a gross piece of reverse psychology imperialism, it worked. Many of these victims were slaves or captives from the higher born of the rival tribes, chosen for their nobility or royal tribal lineage. Advert? New African Women of the Year! Soon afterward Sarah and her husband returned to Africa, settling in Freetown. Aina was saved and her name was changed to Sara Forbes Bonetta. Wow…. Happy Black History Month! Queen Victoria also commissioned her favourite court photographer Camille Silvy to take the couple’s portraits for her own photograph albums.

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