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photograph of current display in the Grand Vestibule

A display highlighting the interaction between the monarchy and the wider world



RCIN 3492

Grand Vestibule, Windsor Castle

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The two Lions of Judah on this headdress are symbolic of the Ethiopian ruling dynasty and represent its claim to have descended from the Israelite king Solomon. Above them is a profile of Emperor Menelik II (1844–1913), who did much to modernise the country at the turn of the twentieth century.

In 1919, a delegation from Abyssinia (modern-day Ethiopia) travelled to Britain to congratulate King George V and Queen Mary on British victory in the First World War, and to reaffirm Abyssinian friendship with the country. During their visit, they presented gifts from the Empress of Abyssinia and the heir apparent, Ras Tafari (later Emperor Haile Selassie I), including this headdress which was given to Queen Mary.