“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Uqweqwe in Zululand DC, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa — Southern Africa

The Death of the Prince Imperial

The Death of the Prince Imperial Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mike Kamin, June 29, 2011
1. The Death of the Prince Imperial Marker
Inscription.  Louise Napoleon, exiled heir to the Bonaparte throne, had been resident in England and had graduated from the Royal Military College in 1875. With the outbreak of the Anglo Zulu War of 1879, Prince Louis, keen to gain military experience, requested that he be permitted to travel to South Africa. The British government was not enthusiastic, but nonetheless permission was granted. The Prince landed in Durban on 31 March 1879. After a short period in Pietermaritzburg he joined the British forces at Dundee towards the end of April 1879.

The Prince held no rank and was officially merely an observer. During the period leading up to the second invasion of Zululand he was permitted to accompany a number of patrols. The Prince was then placed under Colonel Richard Harrison, the Second Division's Assistant Quarter Master General.

On 31 May 1879 the Prince requested permission from Harrison to scout ahead of the column in the vicinity of Fort Newdigate. This was granted, provided that an escort accompany him. Lieutenant J. B. Carey of the 98th Regiment, and a friend of the Prince, was given permission to accompany him.

On the
Paid Advertisement
Click on the ad for more information.
Please report objectionable advertising to the Editor.
Click or scan to see
this page online
morning of 1 June 1879 the party consisting of The Prince, Carey and a number of mounted soldiers left camp. They were ordered to collect the remainder of their escort from patrols that they passed, which they failed to do as none were encountered. At noon they had reached a hill known as Mabulawayo.

Here they halted for a while before making their way down to a deserted homestead about 2590 metres from the jojosi River and some 175 metres from a donga joining the river.

Here the party stopped for coffee.

A Zulu guide reported that a Zulu warrior had been seen in the vicinity. As the party remounted, a volley rang out from the nearby maize fields and a party of Zulu warriors charged the group. The Prince's horse, Percy, shied and bolted. The Prince, although a fine horseman was unable to vault the horse, and ran at its side for while before falling and being trampled. The Prince drew his revolver and turned to face the attackers, whilst retreating down the bank of the donga. Here he was overrun and died from 17 stab wounds. After the war, Zulus who took part in the attack were interviewed and praised the Prince's bravery, claiming that he had "fought like a lion".

On 2 June 1879 the Prince's body along with those of Troopers Rogers and Abel were recovered. a funeral service was held that day. The body was embalmed and sent to Simon's Town
The Death of the Prince Imperial Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mike Kamin, June 29, 2011
2. The Death of the Prince Imperial Marker
on the ship HMS Boadicea. There it was transferred to HMS Orontes. It was transferred to "The Enchantress: for the final part of its voyage to Britain. The Prince's body, along with the first news of his death arrived in Britain in early July 1879.

News of the death of the Prince became one of the most reported-on events in the media over the next three months. He was buried at Chiselhurst. but was later exhumed and reburied along with Napoleon III at Farnborough.

Before British troops left Zululand, a notice was erected at the site of the Prince's death. Queen Victoria ordered a memorial cross to be placed at the site. A year after the incident, on 1 June 1880, Empress Eugenia visited the site. She also met with Zabanga, a Zulu who had been involved in the attack. He told here that had they known the identity of the Prince, he would not have been killed.

Trees were planted here in the early 1900's and a surrounding wall was built.

Lieutenant J. B. Carey's military career suffered as a result of the incident. He was found guilty of deserting the Prince in the face of the enemy and was relieved of his duties and returned to England. Carey however persisted in trying to clear his name and the findings of the court were overturned. He returned to his regiment, but died of peritonitis three years later.
Erected by
The Death of the Prince Imperial Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mike Kamin, June 29, 2011
3. The Death of the Prince Imperial Marker
Amafa AkwaZulu Natali and the Government of Mauritius.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Wars, Non-US. A significant historical date for this entry is June 1, 1879.
Location. 28° 7.955′ S, 30° 47.822′ E. Marker is near Uqweqwe, KwaZulu-Natal, in Zululand DC. Marker is on an unnamed road. Touch for map. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 1 other marker is within walking distance of this marker. Prince Impérial Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker).
More about this marker. The illustration at the lower left of the marker (#1) is titled, "The Last Bivouac." It was featured in the Illustrated London News on July 6, 1879.
The illustration at the upper right of the marker (#2) shows, "The Prince's body is received on board the HMS Orontes a Simons Bay." It too is from the "Illustrated London News," July 16, 1879.
The illustration at the lower middle of the marker (#3) is a, "View of the spot where the Prince was killed." It appeared in the "Illustrated London News" on August 2, 1879.
The illustration at the lower right of the marker (#4) is of Lt. J. B. Carey.
Additional keywords. Anglo-Zulu War
The Death of the Prince Imperial Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mike Kamin, June 29, 2011
4. The Death of the Prince Imperial Marker
Image of the Memorial Site from the marker. For information and photographs of the memorial, please see the nearby marker.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 1, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 27, 2015, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 438 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 27, 2015, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Readable picture of the French language text on this marker. • Can you help?

Share this page.  
Share on Tumblr

CeraNet Cloud Computing sponsors the Historical Marker Database.
This website earns income from purchases you make after using our links to We appreciate your support.
Paid Advertisement
Apr. 19, 2024