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At Her Majesty's Request

At Her Majesty's Request

An African Princess in Victorian England

by Walter Dean Myers
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Hardcover, 146 pages
Current Retail Price: $17.95

Historical Setting: Africa, Victorian England, 1843-1880 A.D.

Frantic shouts and cries awaken a young girl. Her West African village is being attacked. She is dragged out of her home and watches in horror as her parents are murdered before her eyes. The attacking warriors examine her and notice the markings on her face. They are the markings of a princess.

The girl is captured and held for a ritual in which she will be killed. Then, in 1850, on the very day set for her death, a British naval officer rescues her. She is christened Sarah Forbes Bonetta and taken to England. There she is presented to Queen Victoria, who decides to provide for the upbringing of this young, orphaned princess.

Walter Dean Myers discovered a body of letters concerning Sarah, and some actually written by her, in a rare book and ephemera shop in London. What he saw there fascinated him, and he set out to unearth the details of her unique and engaging life. He found an extraordinary story—of royalty, of race, of class, of belonging, and of identity. Now, after years of meticulous research, Myers unveils this arresting portrait of Sarah Forbes Bonetta, African princess.

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