Treading in the steps of his illustrious grandfather – who just happened to be the Emperor of Ethiopia – Prince Micheal Mekonnen came to Bath last night ( Thursday, May 5th).
He was here to help mark the 80th anniversary of the day his Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie arrived in the city that was to give his family refuge after they had been made homeless by the Italian invasion of Abyssinia.
The Emperor stayed at the Bath Spa Hotel for a while before buying a home – Fairfield House – to move into. He lived in Bath from 1936 until 1940.
This image shows him – in 1936 – on the front steps of what is now the five-star Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel. He is pictured with Dr James Carpenter who was the Mayor of Bath at that time.
The image is now in the Bath in Time collection: – http://www.bathintime.co.uk/image/383302/haile-selassie-on-the-steps-of-the-bath-spa-hotel-august-1936
The anniversary was marked by a special presentation to the hotel’s Manager Mr Mohamed Safwat of a copy of the photograph – which will go on display in the foyer.
A brief talk about the Emperor’s stay at the hotel was given by Keith Bowers who also officially launched his new book – about Haile Selassie’s time in Bath – called Imperial Exile.
Keith was keen to trace any living relative of the Mayor of Bath – back in 1936 – and was rewarded when Dr Carpenter’s great niece Christine Fox came forward!
She posed on the hotel steps with Prince Michael.
As invited guests took their leave l asked author Keith Bowers how he felt about the event’s success.