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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke September 20, 2022

No, this isn’t a photo of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles bowing to the Ethiopian emperor

If Your Time is short

  • This photo was taken in 1955, a decade before Queen Elizabeth II’s first-ever visit to Ethiopia. 

Amid renewed criticism of the British Empire’s history of colonizing countries in Africa, a recent Facebook post casts Queen Elizabeth II in a more subservient light.

"QUEEN Elizabeth and prince Charles both bow to the KING of KINGS selassie I the first," the caption on the Sept. 18 post says, describing an image of a man and woman bowing before Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I and his wife, Empress Menen Asfaw.

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook.)

Elizabeth died Sept. 8 at age 96. The photo in this Facebook post was taken in 1955 by Alfred Eisenstaedt. A description of the image in Getty Images’ collection says it shows "Haile Selassie and his wife greeting guests" in Ethiopia that year. The guests aren’t identified. But they aren’t Elizabeth and her son, the now-King Charles III, who would have been about 7 years old when the picture was taken. 

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The queen and her husband, Prince Philip, visited Selassie a decade later, in February 1965. It was "the first formal call on Ethiopia by any British monarch," The Associated Press reported at the time. Getty has photos of Elizabeth and Selassie from that trip.  

By then, the empress in the photo in the Facebook post had died

We rate claims the photo shows Elizabeth and Charles False.


Our Sources

Facebook post, Sept. 18, 2022

The Associated Press, Emperor Greets Queen Elizabeth and Philip as They Begin Ethiopia Visit, Feb. 2, 1965

The British Museum, Empress Menen of Ethiopia, visited Sept. 19, 2022

Getty Images, Photos of Queen Elizabeth II in Ethiopia, 1965

Prince of Wales, HRH The Prince of Wales, visited Sept. 19, 2022

The Guardian, Queen’s death intensifies criticism of British empire’s violent atrocities, Sept. 10, 2022 

Getty Images, Ethiopia Essays photo, 1955

National Geographic, Pictures of royalty around the world, Jan. 10, 2020

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No, this isn’t a photo of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles bowing to the Ethiopian emperor

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