Happy 96th Birthday today, 10 June, to the indefatigable Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh – the longest-serving, oldest-ever spouse of a reigning British monarch, and the oldest-ever man in the British Royal Family.
The entire royal household staff has been called into an emergency meeting at Buckingham Palace today, it has been reported.
most senior aides reportedly ordered all staff from royal residences
across the country to London, sparking frenzied speculation as to the
reason behind the sudden request.
According to the Daily Mail , the employees will be addressed this morning by the Lord Chamberlain, the most senior officer of the Royal Household, and Her Majesty’s right-hand man, Private Secretary Sir Christopher Geidt.
involving the entire household staff are occasionally called, but one
such as this at the eleventh hour is “highly unusual” a source told the
The timeline of Sarah Forbes Bonetta’s life is both saddening and extraordinary. Born in 1843 in what is now known as southwest Nigeria, the young woman pictured above was taken captive at aged 4 after her parents and siblings were brutally killed by invading slave traders. Until 1949, she remained in the company of King Gezo, a ruthless African monarch who was a prominent advocate for the capturing and keeping of slaves.
After this point, her life took a turn for the better when she was taken away by British Commander Frederick Forbes after he landed the HMS Bonetta on African shores to convince sovereigns to abolish slavery. On a visit to King Gezo, he noticed the unhappy little girl and persuaded Gezo to hand her over to Queen Victoria as “a present from the King of the Blacks to the Queen of the Whites.” Gezo agreed and the little girl went on to remain with Forbes on his journey through Africa, during which time she was baptised as Sarah Forbes Bonetta. In 1850, she was taken back to England where she met Queen Victoria for the first time. The Queen was apparently so impressed with Sarah’s etiquette and intellect that she named the young girl her goddaughter and paid for her tutoring fees. She was warmly welcomed into the British Royal Family and made frequent visits to Windsor Castle, even attending the wedding of the Queen’s eldest daughter.
In August 1862, Sarah herself married after being granted permission to wed Captain James Davies, a wealthy businessman from Sierra Leone. A luxurious ceremony was arranged and not long afterwards Sarah gave birth to a girl and named her Victoria with the Queen’s blessing. Although the family had moved away to Sierra Leone, where Sarah taught at a school in Freetown, she returned in 1867 with her daughter to visit the Royal Family. However, this would be her last visit. Sarah had developed a cough which began to deteriorate, and soon after she was diagnosed with tuberculosis. After having two more children, she died in 1880 at the age of 37 due to complications.However, Queen Victoria ensured that Sarah’s children were provided for indefinitely, as they were granted lifelong annuities and freedom to visit the royal household for the rest of their lives.