Queen Victoria was impressed by the young princess’s exceptional intelligence, and had Sara raised as her goddaughter in the British middle class.
Sara Forbes Bonetta (1843 – 15 August 1880) was a West African Egbado omoba of Yoruba royalty who was orphaned in intertribal warfare, sold into slavery, and in a remarkable twist of events, was liberated from enslavement and became a goddaughter to Queen Victoria. She was married to Captain James Pinson Labulo Davies, a wealthy Victorian Lagos philanthropist.
Originally named “Aina”, Sara was born in 1843 at Oke-Odan, an Egbado village. In 1848, Oke-Odan was raided by a Dahomeyan army; Sara’s parents died during the attack and she ended up in the court of King Ghezo.
Captain Frederick E. 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.
Her husband, Captain Davies, erected a granite obelisk-shaped monument more than eight feet high in memory of Sarah Forbes Bonetta at Ijon in Western Lagos, where he had started a cocoa farm. The inscription on the obelisk reads:
IN MEMORY OF PRINCESS SARAH FORBES BONETTA
WIFE OF THE HON J.P.L. DAVIES WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE AT MADEIRA AUGUST 15TH 1880.