ELIZABETH OF TORO: An African Princess by Elizabeth Nyabongo

ELIZABETH OF TORO: An African Princess

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A princess with accomplishments as varied as barrister, ambassador, and model (for Vogue and everywhere else), who was a victim of Idi Amin and with big-name friends in three continents, certainly has a tale to tell. Unfortunately, the princess in this autobiography all too often sounds like a gushy social columnist, emphasizing the minor--the Guy Larouche dress she wore to celebrate being called to the English bar--as much as the major events--e.g., the political turmoil she experienced in Uganda. The elder daughter of the King of Toro, an ancient Ugandan kingdom dismantled at Independence by Obote, Elizabeth was trained by her father to be an enlightened ruler. Educated in England, she became one of the first African women to graduate from Cambridge. Stunningly beautiful, she accepted offers to model, and soon became an international success. But her father's death, and the overthrow by Amin of Obote, brought her back to Uganda. Initially impressed with Amin's sympathy to the monarchy, Elizabeth became his roving ambassador, and then foreign minister. Though aware of his volatile behaviour and increasing brutality, she continued working for him until he, considering marriage to her, was outraged by a false rumor of a liasion and had her arrested. Influential friends got her released, and she fled Uganda. She then married, in spite of local conventions, a second cousin, and when Amin was deposed she became Uganda's ambassador to Washington. When her husband was killed in an air crash, Elizabeth resigned her position--but, as she notes, she was named after a strong and fearless woman, and hasn't given up yet. A remarkable story of a remarkable woman living in stirring times, but a tale spoiled by a little too much self-congratulation and too little reflection. A more detached biographer might well have served this outstanding woman better.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Simon & Schuster