The Obas Offer

Is anyone watching the “The Spanish Princess”? 

Its on Starz….no? 

Anyway, there is this character, Catalina (“Lina”) de Cardonnes, a black lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon she served Catherine for almost 3 decades as her lady-in-waiting and companion.  

This reminded me of a certain “offer” made by the Oba of Benin, Oba Akenzua II in 1952.

Sooo… before Queen Elizabeths coronation in June 1953, Oba Akenzua, had suggested in a letter  for the special attachment of his daughter, Princess Egbe to the British Royal Household. 

He said he wanted his daughter “to be assigned some specific job as a Lady of Honour to H.M the Queen after the coronation”…… he also felt that “this should be given wide publicity when the appointment was made”

I think Oba Akenzua meant a lady-in-waiting this is a female personal assistant at a court,who attends to a royal woman ie the Queen.

I can’t seem to trace records of a black lady in waiting the only record I found was a departure log (attached) for an Elder Dempster ship. Princess Egbe’s name is listed as one of those leaving the UK back to Nigeria in December 1953 after Queen Elizabeth II was coronated – her address was that of Chesham Place SW1, though a 10 minute walk to Buckingham palace it was the address of the Victoria League.

The Wedding of a Benin Princess.

On the wedding day of Oba Akenzua II’s eldest daughter, Princess Egbe to Engr Elo Ogbeidi-Iheme In 1956.

The princess is seen here seated on her father’s lap, before he gives her in ‘native law and customs’ to his future son-in-law.

The Oba broke the tradition by allowing his daughters to choose their husbands for themselves.

Traditionally the eldest princess marries the Iyase, and the second-born marries the Esogban.

Photo: S.O. Alonge, 1956 (copyright Flora Edouwaye S. Kaplan)

source: Benin Kings and Rituals

Court Arts from Nigeria