Her Imperial Highness Princess Seble Desta

HIH Princess Seble Desta

HIH Princess Seble Desta

RIP

September 1, 1931 – January 3, 2023

It is with deep sadness that His Imperial Highness (HIH) Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie Haile Selassie, on behalf of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, expresses his sincere condolences to all members of the Imperial Family, dear relatives and friends regarding the passing of the late Princess Seble Desta.

Princess Seble Desta was the last surviving child of Princess Tenagne Worq Haile Selassie, Emperor Haile Selassie and Empress Menen Asfaw’s first child, and venerated war hero, His Excellency Ras Desta Damtew, who courageously fought in the resistance against the then Fascist Italy during the Second World War.

Princess Seble was an enlightened and compassionate person. She was a true survivor, in every sense of the word, with great fortitude, perseverance, and a strong personality. Princess Seble is someone who will be missed.  

HIH Princess Seble Desta

Princess Seble lost her father during the Italian war at a very young age. She subsequently lived in-exile in Bath, England with the rest of her family during the years of Ethiopia’s occupation by Italy from 1936-1941. During the Communist revolution in Ethiopia, Princess Seble lost her grandfather Emperor Haile Selassie, her brother, Commodore Eskinder Desta as well as her husband Dejazmatch Kassa Woldemariam whilst imprisoned. They were all murdered by the military junta that deposed Ethiopia’s Solomonic Dynasty, one of the longest lasting dynasties in the world, sixty of the Emperor’s top officials including Princess Seble’s brother Commodore Eskinder and the then Patriarch of Ethiopia Abune Tewoflos prior to unleashing a campaign of Red Terror on the whole nation killing millions of other Ethiopians thereafter.

After returning to Ethiopia from exile in England, Princess Seble worked as a personal secretary to His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie and accompanied him on many State Visits around the world. Princess Seble, however, is known for her extensive humanitarian contributions, and the way in which she served her country and its citizens with the tenderness of heart and humbleness of spirit.

History will remember Princess Seble for following in both her mother, Princess Tenange Worq Haile Selassie and grandmother, Empress Menen’s, footsteps. Her humanitarian contributions and service as President of the Ethiopian Women’s Welfare Association, as documented by the New York Times on September 6, 1970 in an article entitled “Ethiopian Women Offered New Life” serves as such testament. It should also be noted that during Princess Seble’s tenure as President, the Ethiopian Women’s Association built a state-of-the-art facility to house young women safely.

Princess Seble’s kind deeds were a manifestation of her faith and strong belief in God. It is because of her unwavering faith in Christianity and the continued advocacy and support of the Imperial Family during times of need by European royal families, sympathetic foreign officials and human rights groups among others that she was able to ultimately cope and survive 14 years of imprisonment during the Derg era prior to being released in 1988. Princess Seble persevered through all of this, and while the pain and sorrow of losing her will always remain with those of us still living, the fact that she has now finally reunited with our beloved family in heaven gives us comfort.

Princess Seble reunited with her children and family members in the United States in 1989 after completing her education in England, first at the Clarendon School for Girls and then at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford. She spent the last decades of her life caring for her family, helping raise her grandchildren, staying active in the community, including volunteering to teach English as a second language to immigrant community members in her neighborhood’s local library.

Princess Seble Desta passed away in her home on January 3, 2023. She was buried on Thursday, in the family crypt at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on January 12, 2023.

We will cherish your memories and always remember your name and kind deeds.

May the God Almighty rest Princess Seble’s soul in peace.

Crown Council Holy Trinity Cathedral Renovation Appeal

Holy Trinity Cathedral - Addis Ababa

An Urgent Appeal from Le’ul Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Ethiopian Crown Council

January 1, 2023 / Tahisas 23, 2015 EC – The Ethiopian Crown Council is organizing a fundraiser to benefit the International Society of the Order of the Star of Ethiopia to aid Menbere Tsebaot (“Altar of Victory”) Cathedral – more commonly known as Holy Trinity Cathedral – in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, now eighty years old and in serious need of renovation.

Holy Trinity Cathedral - Addis Ababa
Holy Trinity Cathedral – Addis Ababa [Source: Wikimedia Commons]

Holy Trinity Cathedral is one of the crown jewels of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. It commemorates Ethiopia’s victory over the Italian occupation and is the final resting place of HIM Emperor Haile Selassie I; his wife, HIM Empress Menen; many members of the Ethiopian Imperial family; and the Ethiopian Patriarchs Abuna Takla Haymanot, Abune Merkorios, and Abuna Paulos. It is also the burial place of those who fought against the Fascist occupation, as well as prominent figures of Ethiopian society from various fields. It is where Patriarchs of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church are enthroned and its Bishops consecrated, and where many ceremonies of both national and religious significance are carried out.

Over the history of this magnificent house of worship, while it has been expanded twice under the direction of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I, other than minor repairs of inconsistent quality, the Cathedral has never received a proper total renovation. This has resulted in the building now being in a very poor state.

The Parish Council, under the leadership of Dean of the Cathedral, has launched a multi-million-dollar campaign to finance a complete and comprehensive renovation to the cathedral building. Structural damage due to a variety of factors will be addressed, along with secondary and tertiary effects, such as stains and fungus caused by water damage, damage to murals, updating the electrical systems, plumbing, damage to stained glass windows, a complete renovation of the crypt containing the tombs of HIM Emperor Amha Selassie and the other members of the Imperial family, and restoring the main and side altars of the Church. The work is being carried out with the assistance of experts on renovations of historic buildings, by one of the most prominent and reputable construction firms in the country.

On November 4, 2022 (Tiqimt 25, 2015 EC), Holy Trinity Cathedral held a special welcoming ceremony for Le’ul Ermias and other members of the Ethiopian Imperial family. After the ceremony, Cathedral officials invited Le’ul Ermias to serve as an official ambassador of the Cathedral’s fundraising efforts for its renovation. Le’ul Ermias has in turn pledged to use all of the resources at his disposal to raise a significant contribution towards the Cathedral’s total fundraising goal.

Now we have an opportunity to help Le’ul Ermias and Trinity Cathedral at the same time.

With the approval of Le’ul Ermias and the International Society for the Imperial Ethiopian Orders, we have launched a GoFundMe page for His Highness’s fundraising efforts for Trinity Cathedral at https://gofund.me/5553e593. We respectfully ask you to visit the page and contribute as soon as you are able. Donations of any size will make a difference, so feel free to circulate this information as widely as possible.

At the completion of the campaign, Le’ul Ermias hopes to present the Society’s total contributions to the Cathedral renovation in person at a special ceremony in Addis Ababa, and we anticipate inviting significant donors to participate in accompanying celebrations. This campaign is a vital step towards renewed recognition of the monarchy in Ethiopia, and a special symbol of the age-old relationship between Ethiopia’s church and crown.

We are grateful in advance for your help and participation.

Ethiopian Government Honours Crown Council President Prince Ermias

HIH Prince Ermias Accepts Pan-African Award from the Ethiopian Government for Late Emperor Haile Selassie’s Leading Role in Establishing African Unity

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, November 1, 2022 (ጥቅምት 22, 2015): His Imperial Highness (HIH) Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, on November 1, 2022, accepted a Pan-African prize from Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed on behalf of HIH’s late grandfather, His Imperial Majesty (HIM) Emperor Haile Selassie I, for his leading role in establishing the Organization of African Unity, now known as the African Union.

The Ethiopian Government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Abiy, extended a special invitation to HIH Prince Ermias and his delegation during their official State Visit to Jamaica to par-take in Africa’s first Youth Summit held from October 29 to November 1, 2022, in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. Prince Ermias was invited to accept an award along with other family members of the Founding Fathers of the Organization of African Unity and Pan-Africanism during the Youth Summit, and to engage with the next generation of African leaders.

The Ethiopian Government posthumously honored HIM Emperor Haile Selassie in a presentation before the Ethiopian Prime Minister, former African Heads of State, members of the Government, the diplomatic corps accredited in Addis Ababa, and notable personalities for his unwavering support in the quest for African freedom and independence as well as his leading role in establishing the OAU.

HIH Prince Ermias sincerely appreciated the Ethiopian Government taking the lead in honoring the legacy of Emperor Haile Selassie within Ethiopia after nearly a half-century of false propaganda and censorship by previous regimes. Prince Ermias also commended Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen for being positive agents-of-change, especially in light of Dr Abiy’s green legacy initiative and vision of creating a conducive environment to help advance, uplift, and bring prosperity to all Africans.

The four-day African Youth Summit brought young African leaders from across Africa to discuss the best ways of promoting and advancing Pan-Africanist ideals throughout the Continent.

Crown Council Announces Agreement with Jamaican Government

A Statement by the President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie

Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Horace Chang and Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, The Honourable Olivia Grange met with His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie at Jamaica House. – courtesy Nicholas Melillo

Wednesday, October 19th, 2022, Kingston, Jamaica: the Honorable Madame Olivia Grange, on behalf of the Jamaican Government, and myself, on behalf of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, in the presence of my delegation and the media, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), agreeing to erect a statue of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie in National Heroes Park in Kingston, Jamaica during the next fiscal year.

The Jamaican Minister of Culture invited His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias for an official visit for Heritage Week – the highlight of the first day was visiting Jamaican parliament. Upon arriving, leaders presented the book that Prince Ermias’s grandfather, HIM Emperor Haile Selassie I, signed 56 yrs ago upon his historical trip to the island. A very special moment.
courtesy Nicholas Melillo

The MOU also establishes that both Parties shall collaboratively work together to foster and build upon the relations that were established pursuant to the State Visit made by Emperor Haile Selassie in 1966 in the areas of Education, Sports, Culture, Tourism and Trade. The purpose of the MOU is to also promote prosperity, peace and intercultural exchange amongst the peoples of Ethiopia, Jamaica, Africa and the Diaspora at-large.

HIH Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, arrived in the island Thursday night as Jamaica’s special guest for National Heritage Week, being observed from October 9 to 17. He was accompanied to the Upper House by Minister of Culture Olivia Grange; Speaker of the House of Representatives Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert; and members of his delegation. Just before Government Senator Dr Saphire Longmore gave her contribution to the State of the Nation debate, the Senate’s sitting was suspended and HIH was invited to address the House. Prince Ermias said it is a special privilege for him to be in the room where his grandfather spoke several years ago.
courtesy Nicholas Melillo

I would like to take this very joyous moment to thank my delegation who accompanied me and Princess Saba, the Ethiopian Consul in Jamaica, the Jamaican Government for its support and hospitality as well as the Rastafarian Community.

Ethiopian Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie to be hosted as Special Guest in Jamaica

HIH Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie

A Statement by the President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie

(Kingston, Jamaica) – His Imperial Highness (HIH) Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, the grandson of His Imperial Majesty (HIM) Emperor Haile Selassie, the Prince’s wife Her Imperial Highness (HIH) Princess Saba Kebede and advisors to the Crown Council of Ethiopia will arrive in Kingston, Jamaica on Thursday, October 13, 2022.

HER Prince Ermias Sable Selassie will arrive upon invitation by the Government of Jamaica, as the Nation’s Special Guest for Heritage week. HIH Prince Ermias, along with his advisors, is scheduled to meet with various Government officials including the Honourable Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport, Honourable Dr. Horace Chang, Deputy Prime Minister, His Excellency Sir Patrick Allen, the Governor General, Honourable Thomas Tavares-Finson, President of the Senate, the Honourable Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert, Speaker of the House of Representatives and Mrs. Yodit Hylton, Honorary Consul of Ethiopia. HIH Prince Ermias and advisors are also slated to meet with political opposition and Rastafarian Community leaders in both Kingston and Montego Bay.

The Prince will also be presented with the Key to the City of Montego Bay by the Mayor, Leeroy Williams, and in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Horace Chang, and the Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, Homer Davis.

HIH Prince Ermias and Crown Council advisors will attend Communion Service at the Holy Trinity Ethiopian Orthodox Church in St Andrew and meet with members of the Orthodox Community. They will also tour the Trench Town Culture Yard in St Andrew and meet with members of the Rastafari community who have been invited to attend these special engagements with the Prince and his advisors.

HIH Prince Ermias is expected to issue a Statement and host a press briefing upon arrival.

On the Passing of Queen Elizabeth II and the Ascent of King Charles III

HM Queen Elizabeth II

A Statement by the President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie

ጳጉሜ 5, 2014

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II fulfilled her promise to God and her duty to her People and all of the People of the World on ጳጉሜ 3, 2014 (September 8, 2022), and was given rest. We mourn and exalt her, particularly for her abiding friendship and commitment to the People of Ethiopia and to our own late ግርማዊ ንጉሠ ነገሥት Haile Selassie I.

Queen Elizabeth swore to the Almighty that she would, as long as she lived, serve her People, and was anointed by God to do so. In that, and in the fulfillment of that promise, she was alike with our own beloved Emperor. They drew breath and were anointed of God only to serve, and to serve well with courage, wisdom, restraint, and kindness.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and Emperor Haile Selassie were greatly devoted to each other and to the welfare of each other’s societies. Queen Elizabeth visited Ethiopia to pay tribute to the Emperor, and it was her father, the King Emperor George VI, who gave refuge to our Emperor during the Second Italian invasion of Ethiopia, assisting him in preparing and waging the great battles to restore Ethiopia to its people after five years of brutal occupation. Little wonder that our Emperor saw in the manner of Queen Elizabeth’s reign over the end of the colonial period and the institution of stable constitutional monarchy a model for how Ethiopia could succeed in moving, itself, toward constitutional monarchy and democracy.

HM Queen Elizabeth II visiting HM Emperor Haile Selassie I in Ethiopia

Her Majesty bestowed upon our Emperor, my Grandfather, two great gifts unique to such an ally: he was created a Knight of the Garter, Britain’s highest honour; and he was made a Field Marshal of the British Army. ጃንሆይ Haile Selassie bestowed upon Her Majesty and her Consort, Prince Philip, the highest Orders within the Solomonic gift. In every sense, they bowed to each other, with the compassion of understanding of the great things which harnessed them together in the service of their People.

Queen Elizabeth continued to represent continuity with the Emperor and Ethiopia, in many respects, after the coup of መስከረም 1967 (1974) and regicide (ነሐሴ 21, 1967) against the Emperor, giving refuge and aid where possible to those of the Imperial Family who were exiled in the United Kingdom and unable to return to their homeland.

I was such a beneficiary of this kindness and understood intimately that the Queen and the British People were also the family and protectors of their Ethiopian Solomonic cousins.

Her Majesty retained her commitment to the People of Ethiopia even as her health declined. In 2021 she actively participated in the shaping the design of the Ethiopian Crown Council’s Victory of Gondar Medal, which, with its issue on November 21, 2021 (ኅዳር 12, 2014), celebrated the 80th anniversary of the joint Ethiopian-British (and Commonwealth) efforts to defeat the Italian occupation in ኅዳር 1934 (November 1941). The medal finally brought recognition to the thousands of Patriots (አርበኞች) and members of the British and Commonwealth forces who died to liberate Ethiopia, and Her Majesty played a role in that.

So, Her Majesty never forgot us, as we will never forget her. She worked to bring Ethiopia into the greater community of global leadership out of respect for our Emperor and our Solomonic line, which gives us the oldest unbroken link to the time of King Solomon and Queen Makeda of Saba.

Her son, now His Majesty King Charles III, has been highly conscious of our shared links as Peoples. He has seen so many times our Emperor’s standard and crest in the chapel for the Order of the Garter, in Windsor, and was aware of Her Majesty’s abiding friendship with Ethiopia. So we share his grief at the passing of his beloved Mother in a way that shared families can share such feelings. And we wish him long life in his Great Service; as long a life as can be dreamed, and more, after his patient decades of apprenticeship for the Throne.

We, the Ethiopian Crown and People, wish him well, and offer him the same shared feeling of family that we have for so long felt with his Crown. We together face the turbulent future, knowing that what we can do to reflect the nobility, identity, and values of our People will determine the fate, safety, and well-being of our nations. We can do that together.

There can be no higher calling than that.

God Bless Queen Elizabeth II; go with our tears of thanks.

Long Live King Charles III; go forward with our hopes and prayers.

God Bless Ethiopia.

Crown Council Condemns Ethnic Violence in Ethiopia

Crown Council of Ethiopia

A Statement by His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, on the Recent Violence in Ethiopia

My heart breaks when I hear of the senseless massacre of innocent Ethiopians in Wolega and Gambela. Too many times in recent years have we seen these tragedies take place again and again, all over our country. We are now reaping the bitter harvest of five decades of ethnic politics, five decades of dividing our family into ever smaller groups based on our language, our religion, our region.

We must change course now. If we do not, these massacres will happen again and again, until we are numb to them, and forget that we were once human. We all have a role to play, both in what we say and what we do. We must never praise or blame each other for the languages we speak or do not speak, the ancestors we share or do not share. Words matter. They inspire the worst among us to violence. And that violence has to stop. A thousand dead today might be ten thousand tomorrow, or far worse next year. Then the freedom and independence we earned and preserved through our darkest days will be squandered in a holocaust of our own making.

Nearly two decades ago, the Crown Council under my leadership announced its aim to be a strictly non-political institution. We stand by that goal. But it is not political to ask all Ethiopians to rise above party and ethnicity. It is not political to demand that our government and its leaders act quickly and decisively to protect the lives of all Ethiopians. And it is not political to remind Ethiopia that its Crown can help to unify and heal our country today, as it has at many moments in our past.

We must all work to ensure that no massacres like those we have just seen ever take place again. Nearly four years ago, our government established a Peace and Reconciliation Commission to help heal our country. But it has been able to accomplish little, receiving little government funding or support. We need its work now more than ever before.

And we need to do even more. I urge our country’s political and spiritual leaders – every priest and imam, every member of parliament to the Prime Minister himself – to work nonstop in the coming weeks and months, to build a new beginning. We must go to every region, every woreda, every kebele, and teach the next generation the message of peace and reconciliation.

We must love each other, every one of us, or all of us will fail.

Ethiopian Crown Delegation Visits Panama

Last month, representatives of the Ethiopian Crown Council traveled to Panama for an official visit hosted by the Panamanian government. HIH Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie, President of the Crown Council, led the delegation, which included his wife HIH Princess Saba Kebede and advisors to the Crown Council representing the Moa Anbessa Institute. The trip, organized by the Tourism Authority of Panama, included meetings and events with Panama’s ministries of Foreign Affairs, Culture, and Tourism. These activities were part of a larger event on the theme of reunion between Africa and the African diaspora. Other guests included Her Majesty Queen Diambi of Congo’s Bakwa Luntu people; His Royal Highness Doctor Rilwan Sulaiman, Emir of Bauchi (Nigeria); and His Royal Highness Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, the ooni of Ife (Nigeria).

On May 19, Prince Ermias gave a speech on the subject of colonialism and “The Unfinished Road to Freedom.” He described Ethiopia’s unique role in African history as the continent’s sole unconquered country and stressed the role that the Ethiopian monarchy played in unifying Ethiopia in the face of European aggression. He suggested that the final step in the liberation process was to “decolonize our minds.” He invited the audience to consider Africa’s wars over ethnicity, ideology, and natural resources, and asked “whether these are really our own values, or whether they have been imposed on us from the outside.” In his concluding remarks, he argued that “Africa’s traditional monarchies are a symbol of Africa’s freedom,” and called upon all Africans to “build a new generation of Africans proud of our traditions.”

On May 24, Prince Ermias joined the leadership of the Rastafarian community of Panama at an event hosted with the Ministry of Culture and the National Secretariat for the Development of Afro-Panamanians. Leading Rasta intellectuals presented on the topic of Rastafarians as a nation without a state. Prince Ermias gave a speech exploring the connections between the Rasta movement, Ethiopia’s church, and Ethiopia’s crown. He recorded the long history of support the African diaspora and the Rasta movement have given the Ethiopian crown, particularly during World War II and the years since the revolution of 1974.

In this speech, Prince Ermias invited the Rasta community to build closer ties to Ethiopia and to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. “The church gives me a goal and a guide,” he said in his concluding remarks, “the inspiration we can find in the humility, love, and forgiveness of Jesus and his ultimate sacrifice. The crown gives me a burden to carry, the obligation I owe to my cousins, my uncle, my grandfather, and to all of our ancestors, the duty I have to preserve the memory of my family and its role in the history of my culture and my people. So I have both a burden and a guide. The Rastas who have grown ever closer to our church and the Rastas who stand loyal to our crown have carried the same burden with me, following the same guide.”

Coverage of the Crown Council trip to Panama in the press and in social media has been extensive, and Prince Ermias’s speech to the Rasta community received live televised coverage. Ethiopian news site Borkena published a statement about the trip by the Moa Anbessa Institute on June 7. That statement read, in part:

It is our belief that the process of healing and reconciliation for the purposes of promoting and fostering peace and unity on the basis of a common history and identity starts with education, understanding and an open heart to learn and to forgive. Thus, it is only when we understand, forgive past injustices and reconcile with our history that we can begin to chart a path forward built on mutual trust, confidence and partnership beneficial to all people including the environment in which we live.

The Crown Council is grateful to support from the Moa Anbessa Institute and for the presence of its representatives on this trip. The Moa Anbessa statement makes an important point. Education and understanding are crucial for peace and reconciliation, both in Ethiopia specifically and Africa more generally. The Crown Council invites all Ethiopians to join in this journey, and invites everyone to remember the crucial role that Africa’s traditional institutions have to play in building bridges of peace and reconciliation, and in building Africa’s future.

Remarks at the Victory of Adwa Dinner by HIH Le’ul Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie

By His Imperial Highness Le’ul Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia

Washington, DC: March 12, 2022 

His Imperial Highness Le’ul Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie
His Imperial Highness Le’ul Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie addresses guests at the 2022 Victory of Adwa Dinner

My Dear Bishop, Honorable Lijs and members of the Balabatawinet (the Ethiopian nobility), distinguished award recipients, your excellencies, and beloved friends of Ethiopia …

Firstly, let me congratulate the great individuals honoured here tonight. Each year, we present a very small number of medals to commemorate the Victory of Adwa. Each of you have performed outstanding work for Ethiopia; for your communities in the diaspora and at home. As you remember Adwa, we remember you. We thank you.

Ours is a sacred mission tonight: to remember, to honour, to cherish, and to learn from the great sacrifice of the patriots of Ethiopia who united 126 years ago to repel a great invading Army. Emperor Menelik II and his Empress, Taitu, rallied all of Ethiopia to act as one, showing that great unity could be achieved without the loss of the many individual cultures, traditions, and languages of our many nations.

Ethiopia showed that it was capable of acting as a great nation on the world stage.

We are fortunate that you will soon here some brief remarks about the Victory of Adwa from our distinguished friend, colleague, and historian, Professor Tibebe Eshete, who was honoured with the award of a Victory of Adwa Medal this year for his scholarship.

Our Agafari, Pamela, Marchioness of Tana, will introduce him shortly, and after Dr Tibebe gives his keynote talk, Pamela will introduce the Crown’s Strategic Advisor, Gregory Copley, the Marquess of Tana, to speak briefly about our important current work.

My mission here tonight, and that of my wife, Le’ult Saba, is to thank you again for your support for Ethiopia and the role of the Crown in Ethiopia’s recovery. We have been engaged for so long in a struggle for the survival of our nation and our identity that it is difficult to comprehend that we have been under siege for almost a half-century since the murder of my Grandfather and so many other Ethiopian patriots.

And it was my Grandfather, His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I, and my Grandmother, Empress Menen, who, like Menelik and Taitu, resisted and ultimately repelled an invading Italian army less than a half-century after the Victory of Adwa. As at the Victory of Adwa, my grandparents worked with patriots — arbegnoch — from all parts of Ethiopia, who united to prove that they were part of a noble mission to preserve the great example of Ethiopia as a pinnacle of African dreams. As with Adwa, the second Italian-Ethiopian war saw victory culminated at the Battle of Gondar after six years of struggle.

History has determined that the millennia of Ethiopia’s unique history and culture should be a pillar which sustains Africa, so when Ethiopia is humiliated and broken, then so, too, is Africa. And for Ethiopia to retain and rebuild its prestige, its traditions and mission must be revered. We are, then, all servants to this task which God has set us.

And yet even after two great trials set for Ethiopia at Adwa and Gondar — and, of course, there were many more great challenges through our history, we were, again within a half-century, beset by the coup which overthrew our Empire, and began almost a half-century more of oppression.

We are now emerging from that dark period, but still face many threats and obstacles, not just from the internal divisions which were created, but by foreign powers funding and inciting internal threats. We see the light, but we have not yet reached it.

How do we retain optimism, identity, dignity, and resilience when we have grown old in these shadows of brutality, oppression, and pervasive lies? How do we know when hope may transform into victory?

Yes, we see rays of light. The first sales of electricity from our Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam have begun to demonstrate that Ethiopia can be a great hydropower for the region, as Emperor Haile Selassie envisaged, but that it can take command of its destiny. The Prime Minister paid tribute to those whose vision created the Dam, and rightly saw that this was initiative which began with the Emperor.

And this year, as Ethiopians took up the celebration of Adwa — something your Crown Council has always maintained in exile — we saw that the battle lines have still not been overcome. Those in government who gained their position through the revolutionary period of the Dergue and TPLF attempted to say that the Victory of Adwa was nothing to do with Emperor Menelik and Empress Taitu, and moved the Adwa celebrations away from Menelik Square in Addis Ababa. You may have seen the unofficial celebration of Adwa, which was not organised by the Government. It not only saw Menelik Square filled with peaceful and enthusiastic people waving the tricolor of Ethiopia and spilling out into neighboring areas of the city, it saw a predominance of young people.

The great revival of Ethiopia is not based on old people looking back. It is based on young people looking forward, confident that the past has affirmed their identity of nobility and their unique mission.

We have much still to do. Great scholars, such as Dr Tibebe and our newly-appointed Blaten Geta, Dr Gizachew Tiruneh, both here tonight, are helping rebuild the process of educating Ethiopians and the world of the historic truths which made Ethiopia a durable civilization these past three millennia and more. We thank God for them and their sacred work. Another great Ethiopian scholar, Dr Edward Vestal, a Knight Grand Cross of the Star of Honour, is here with us in spirit tonight, and helped sponsor this event, as he did with the Victory of Gondar Dinner in London last November.  So, too, is Nicholas Melillo, who helped sponsor the important Victory of Gondar dinner last November. He was recently promoted, with much gratitude, to the rank of Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of Honour for his ongoing energy in supporting the cause of Ethiopian unity and the restoration of its honour. With us in spirit tonight, to, are two other sponsors of this great event: their excellencies Owen and Carole Lee Whitman. We thank them, too, for their generosity in helping to sponsor this gathering.

And all of you will have noticed the beautiful works of art created here to celebrate Ethiopia’s Crown. They are the work of the great artist, Kelly Fawaz, who was honoured here tonight, as well, with the Victory of Adwa Medal.

We have founded the Royal Ethiopian Geographical Society, which is charged with bringing together all the learning about Ethiopia’s geographic, geophysical, its other resources, and water data, and to understand the full sociological dynamic of our vast realm. The great Ethiopian Scholar, Gerazmach Dr Wolde Tadesse, has been elected the first President of the Royal Ethiopian Geographical Society, and we look to you all to help make this great endeavour a reality.

We have much more to discuss, but tonight is not the time to do more than reflect on the great lessons of the victories at Adwa and Gondar, and the great victory we need to win by restoring Ethiopia to unity, prosperity, and dignity.

Your Crown has been exceptionally busy, every day of every week, attempting to achieve the revival of our nation. We will not cease. And I thank you for being part of the journey we make together. I asked how we retain optimism, identity, dignity, and resilience through the darkness. The answer is you.

God Bless You. God Bless Emperors Menelik and Haile Selassie. God Bless the Ethiopian People and our beautiful land. Our mission is noble. Thank you.

Major General Gregory Copley’s Remarks at the Victory of Adwa Dinner

By Major General Gregory Copley, the Most Honourable the Marquess of Tana, and Strategic Advisor to the Crown Council of Ethiopia

Washington, DC: March 12, 2022

Major General Gregory Copley
Major General Gregory Copley, the Most Honourable the Marquess of Tana, addresses guests at the 2022 Victory of Adwa Dinner

Your Imperial Highnesses, Your Eminence, Honorable Lijs and members of the Balabatawinet, distinguished award recipients, your excellencies, and beloved friends of Ethiopia …

An incredible rising of the many peoples of Ethiopia joined with inspirational leadership under Emperor Menelik II and Empress Taitu to ensure that the Battle of Adwa changed history. Few battles change history, but Adwa did. Adwa restored the cohesion and dignity of the Ethiopian People, and renewed their unique claim to be one of the important and enduring civilisations in history.

The unique alignment of the stars which gave us Adwa created a shining example for Ethiopians to follow, and hope to all Africa and much of the rest of the world. Following that example was never going to be easy, and yet Ethiopians under Emperor Haile Selassie were sufficiently inspired by it to again defeat an even greater invading force less than 50 years later.

Then, within the subsequent century, Ethiopia was to face even greater challenge, by a series of people governed by an alien ideology. This may have been the most insidious challenge of all, because those who overthrew Ethiopian governance in 1974 and 1990 knew that the spirit of Adwa would once again prevail, unless they could destroy that spirit once and for all.

Today, however, after the fall of two successive communist tyrannies in Ethiopia, it is the spirit of Adwa which still motivates Ethiopians to resist attempts to destroy three millennia of Ethiopian Solomonic culture. You have just heard from His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias — himself of the Solomonic line — and Professor Tibebe how important the Victory of Adwa remains to Ethiopians.

Without Adwa, modern Ethiopia’s legitimate right to identity, pride, prestige, and leadership would be much harder to grasp.

I am not here to reiterate the wonder of Adwa, or of Menelik or Haile Selassie. You have heard it tonight, and you know it in your hearts and from your learning. You saw it with the great outpouring of youth in Menelik Square in Addis Ababa less than two weeks ago.

The young people of Ethiopia want their history so that they can claim their future.

My goal tonight is to let you know that the Ethiopian Crown remains the beating heart of the history of Ethiopia. The Crown works every day to restore that great serenity of soul, that sense of identity, to all Ethiopians. The Crown Council of Ethiopia, which Emperor Haile Selassie had the sense to integrate into the Ethiopian Constitution in 1955, remains a living institution dedicated to Ethiopia’s protection. The Ethiopian Crown has never gone away. It continues unbroken as the Crown of Ethiopians, and therefore of the embodiment of unity.

Prince Ermias, the President of the Crown Council, has developed unparalleled access to leaders around the world, in a way which politicians — especially those of Ethiopia’s 1974-2018 era — could not hope to achieve. Now, daily, the Crown Council is in contact with its network of friends and contacts across the globe. You will have seen the multiple visits by Prince Ermias to countries where he has had unique access to leaders. And, in recent years, this has turned into an opportunity for the elected Ethiopian Government to the extent that Nigerian ambassadors and diplomats have been invited to join these missions. More such visits are actively being planned, and they have the potential to do great things for Ethiopia and its prestige.

All this work, and much more inside Ethiopia, is undertaken by the Crown Council without the benefit of any tax or other government funding base.

It exists on the donations of individuals, many of them foreigners; and on the goodwill and soul of Ethiopians who yearn for a return to a time of Ethiopian greatness of spirit.

All of you Ethiopians here tonight represent that incredible feeling for the sacredness of Ethiopia, but turn to see all the non-Ethiopians present.

They, too, have been motivated by the spirit of Adwa. They have become part of the great diversity of Ethiopian peoples.

Indeed, events such as this dinner not only renew the faith of us all, but contribute to the operating budget of the Crown. Each birr and every dollar is a blessing which helps to restore the greatness of Ethiopia, and each adds to the humility and bond between the Crown and all Ethiopians.

Soon, you will learn more about one of the great Crown projects: the creation of the Royal Ethiopian Geographical Society. This Society, which has just elected the internationally-renowned Ethiopian scholar, Gerazmach Dr Wolde Tadesse, as its inaugural President, aims to create a non-profit organisation which can be of invaluable service to Ethiopia.

It will begin to gather together all of the vital statistics of Ethiopia to create a center where all of Ethiopia’s terrain is mapped, where all its mineral and other resources can be understood, where its waterways are known, its sociology and history comprehensively documented, and much more. It will combine geology and geophysics; it will employ space-based resources and great human knowledge so that Ethiopians and foreign investors have the tools to develop the nation to its fullest potential.

We are in the process of creating this Society as an Ethiopian legal entity, and we will find a permanent home for it in Ethiopia, using modern technology to link it to all the learning and teaching institutions of Ethiopia. In this, we have been strongly guided by the example of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, which has already developed a sister-relationship with our Ethiopian Society. The Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, His Excellency John Geiger, is with us tonight. He has been honoured by the Crown for his dedication in establishing this great endeavour for Ethiopia.

This leads us to the other question which is always close to our lips, And that is: how can we ensure that the Crown Council can function safely at home in Ethiopia? How close are we to seeing that greater formal reunion of the Crown into the legal framework of Ethiopia?

There are ways for this to be accomplished which ensure that constitutionally-based, elected government remains forever in the hands of the Ethiopian People. The Crown must be above politics, and yet part of every level of society. This is how Emperors Menelik and Haile Selassie saw Ethiopia’s future.

How can the Crown be peacefully restored to the land? One thought is that we must acquire a working office for the Crown in Ethiopia, and this would also be a home for the Royal Ethiopian Geographical Society and our Water Initiative for Africa. I would be happy to talk with any of you who may be interested in helping to make this a reality.

It is vital that we demonstrate on the ground that the Crown is always there, and is always committed to supporting the Ethiopian People. The underlying truth of all of this is that the Crown is you, and you are the Crown. What you do for the Crown you do for yourself.