The Distressed Negus and the Priceless Princess

The Distressed Negus and the Priceless Princess
— On this date on November 15, 1937, Time Magazine published an article entitled “Distressed Negus”, reporting that the son of Emperor Haile Selassie, Crown Prince Asfa Wassan—-wrote to the Patriach Amba Yoannes XIX of the Coptic Church in Cairo, “petitioning this vene rable prelate for divo…

rce from Princess Holata-Israel, daughter of his father’s most powerful chieftain, Ras Seyoum, who capitulated to the Italian invaders during their campaign.”   According to Wikipedia, her name is more properly spelled Princess Wolete Israel Seyoum. Princess Wolete(1906-1988) was most notably the great granddaughter of Ethiopian Emperor Yohannes VI. At age 11 it is reported that she first married Dejazmach Gebre Selassie Baria Gabr of Adwa by whom she had a son, Dejazmach Zewde Gebre Selassie. She was widowed not long after his birth and later married Crown Prince Asfaw Wossen in 1931 and had a daughter, Princess Ijigayehu. The marriage was reported as a politically strategic union.   The marriage formally ended in divorce in 1941, and Princess Wolete never married again, instead becoming a devout ascetic and artist. The remainder of her life Princess Wolete devoted her time producing many religiously Christian themed works. Her grandson, Lij Isaac Fikre Selassie is also a renown artist who credits his grandmother as one of his artistic inspirations. It is reported that Princess Wolete resided in Addis Ababa and the town of Adama during the rule of the Derg and was among the few members of the Ethiopian nobility that were not kept under arrest during their rule.   Some of Princess Wolete’s impressive artist works are availale to

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