One colour photograph portraying Sarah Bonetta Forbes, the daughter of an African chief, who was supported by Queen Victoria after her rescue from a slave ship. These images were taken from 'Crown & Camera: The Royal Family and Photography' by Frances Dimond and Roger Taylor (1987)
Sarah was born in west Africa (in the south-west of modern-day Nigeria) about 1843, of Yoruba descent. She wa s captured at the age of four, and taken to the kingdom of Dahomy and was to reside at the Dahomian palace. Two years later she was introduced to Captain Frederick E.Forbes, who commanded the naval vessel HMS Bonetta and whose mission, as an agent of the crown and representative of Queen Victoria, was to negotiate with the king of Dahomey. Familiar with the practice of gifting enslaved children to ships' captains, the king gave the young girl as a gift to Captain Forbes. Forbes accepted the child in the name of Queen Victoria. Months later, in November 1850, she was presented to Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle; the queen commented favourably in her journal on the child's intelligence and her command of English.