Ethiopia's Prince Joel has released a statement questioning Buckingham Palace's refusal to release the remains of his ancestor who was buried in the UK.
Officials at the palace declined a request to release the remains of Prince Alemayehu, who was born in 1861 to Tewodros II, Emperor of Abyssinia (now Ethiopia), Insider reported on Tuesday.
Alemayehu was taken to the UK as an orphan at the age of seven by British soldiers following the battle of Maqdala. The prince died from pleurisy at the age of 18 and was buried at St George's Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle, a 900-year-old residence that's occupied by the British royal family.
In a statement shared with Insider, a spokesperson for the palace said "it is very unlikely that it would be possible to exhume the remains without disturbing the resting place of a substantial number of others in the vicinity."
"It's unfortunate that Buckingham Palace has yet again denied the request to return the remains of our royal ancestor," Joel said in a statement shared with Insider.
"His life story was already so sad, him being displaced from his homeland at such a young age, living in a distant land, and dying there. And Ethiopia and its people have requested his return so many times because our people want to see him returned and buried in his homeland," he added.
As The Guardian reported in 2018, the late Queen Elizabeth II refused the Ethiopian president's request to return Alemayehu's remains back in 2006. According to the Ethiopian embassy, the Lord Chamberlain replied in a letter on behalf of the Queen, writing that while the monarch was "in favour of repatriation," identifying the remains of the prince wouldn't be possible, The Guardian reported.
Joel added that while the reasons for the palace declining the request are certainly "plausible," he also believes the palace should do everything in its power to return the remains given how important it is to Ethiopians.
"It almost sounds like they can't be bothered, or that they don't want to go through the trouble. But they should, because as long as they deny the request, Ethiopians will find it hurtful and offensive," Joel said.
Joel was born in Ethiopia and now resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Princess Ariana. Together, the couple run a production company Old World/New World, which focuses on telling Black stories through TV, film, and books.
Joel previously told Insider that the company, founded in 2017, is working on a TV pilot similar to "The Crown," but with a focus on the Ethiopian monarchy. The series will tell the story of Haile Selassie, Joel's great-grandfather who was emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974, according to Britannica.
Buckingham Palace did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment regarding Prince Joel's statement.