Sara Forbes Bonetta: Queen Victoria’s Goddaughter
Sara Forbes Bonetta was a West African orphaned at the age of eight and subsequently captured by slave-raiders. Intended by her captors to be a human sacrifice, she was rescued by a Captain Frederick Forbes of the Royal Navy, who convinced King Ghezo of Dahomey to give her to Queen Victoria, “She would be a present from the King of the Blacks to the Queen of the Whites,” Forbes wrote later. He named her Sara Forbes Bonetta.
Victoria had Sara raised as her goddaughter in the British middle class. She was sent to school in Africa, and later returned to England when she turned 20.
She was then sanctioned by the queen to marry Captain James Davies at St Nicholas’ Church in Brighton in August, 1862. Captain Davies was a Yoruba businessman of considerable wealth for the period, and the couple moved back to their native Africa after their wedding. She died at the age of 37 in 1880 of tuberculosis.