The National Army Museum (UK) agreed to hand over locks of hair belonging to Ethiopian Emperor Tewodros II.


Upon hearing this news Alula Pankhurst stated:  “This is welcome news that should encourage others to follow suit and one further step in the rightful restitution journey”.


Alula who along with his father Richard Pankhurst before his death, have been long time advocates of returning stolen artifacts and personal items back to Ethiopia.


Accordingly, both sides agreed that The National Army Museum and the Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in London would jointly oversee the hand-over and farewell ceremony at the museum, in an inclusive manner that reflected the great love and affection in which Emperor Tewodros II is held by Ethiopia’s sizeable community around the world.


The hair was accessioned into the Museum’s collection in 1959, given to the Museum by the family of an artist, who had painted the Emperor on his deathbed. Two locks of hair were accessioned at the time, one of which was framed with a letter and the Emperor’s seal.


At the time the objects were considered significant to the Museum’s collection for their historical connection to a major campaign fought by the British Army in 1868.


The Director of the National Army Museum, Justin Maciejewski said: ‘We very much look forward to handing over these symbolic humans remains to the people of Ethiopia.’ On behalf of the people and Government of Ethiopia, Her Excellency Dr. Hirut Kassaw, Minister of Culture and Tourism, was present to receive the human remains from the museum’s Director on the occasion.


The Ethiopian government requested that the hair be returned so that it can be interred with Emperor Tewodros at the Trinity Monastery in the northern part of Ethiopia.