A Royal Gentleman of Colour

Ben Shephard looks at the career of Peter Lobengula, the African ‘Prince’ who tantalised the British press and public and died in poverty in Salford in 1913, highlighting Victorian attitudes towards race, colour and sex.

On September 12th, 1913, a ‘frail-looking negro wearing a band of crape on his arm’ appeared in Salford Revision Court, claiming that, as ‘Prince Peter Lobengula, the oldest son of King Lobengula of Matabeleland, whose country was incorporated in the British domains after more than one difficult campaign’, he was entitled to a vote in West Salford. The Revising Barrister, overriding the objections of the local Liberals, ruled that he was.

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