Caribbean Queen Gets London Blue Plaque

Marie-Louise Christophe
[LONDON, England] – In September 1821, Marie-Louise Christophe, Haiti’s first and only queen, arrived in Britain with her two daughters. This was only a year after her husband’s death by suicide.  Along with the assassination of her only surviving son following a military coup in the northern Kingdom of Hayti.  Marie-Louise leaned on the support of abolitionist friends.  Including Thomas Clarkson (with whom she stayed for several months upon her arrival), to remake her life in exile.
The Revolution
In 1804, Haiti became the first independent Black state. Defeating French colonial authorities in a long quest for emancipation and independence.   It became a symbol of hope for many oppressed and enslaved people in the Americas and beyond. As such, it also represented a direct threat to western imperialism. On establishing a Kingdom of Hayti in the northern Haitian territory in 1811, former revolutionary General Henry Christophe sought to cultivate ties with Great Britain.  Importing British goods and developing an English education programme that, had it been rolled out.  This might have solidified British cultural influences across the Caribbean more broadly.
Life in Exile
Marie-Louise sought a quiet life in exile. After leaving the Clarksons’ home she lived for short periods in Blackheath and Hastings before eventually taking up residence at 49 Weymouth Street in Marylebone. She would remain there until 1824 when she departed with her daughters for Europe. In 2019 Dr Nicole Willson, a researcher from the University of Central Lancashire, discovered a copy of her will in the UK National Archives, which helped her to trace her movements across Britain and discover more about her interesting life. Together with the Haitian Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain, she sought support from the Nubian Jak Community Trust to erect a blue plaque at this former residence.
To commemorate her time at 49 Weymouth Street, Historic England have granted the Nubian Jak Community Trust special dispensation to mount a permanent blue plaque on the Grade II listed property. A ceremonial unveiling will take place on Monday 7 February, 2022.

South Florida Caribbean News

The SFLCN.com Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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