To the contrary, by 1899 King Lewanika I of Barotseland already had plenty European style suits, several of which he wore on this famous trip to Europe in 1902. Even while he was the distinguished royal guest of Edward VII, Lewanika charmed his hosts with pleasant humour and ‘refined’ mannerisms! He was a very smart gentleman and an immaculately dressed King who freely mingled with British Royalty as contemporaries, as he had already embraced European civilization, having befriended European missionaries like François Coillard way before he attended King Edward VII’s Coronation.
François Coillard arrived in Lealui, the Capital of Barotseland, on 17 July 1834 and ministered there until 27 May 1904.
The New York Times Report went as follows:
An African King
From Blackwood’s Magazine
King Lewanika’s costume was rather remarkable. On his head he wore a black, broad-brimmed felt hat over a scarlet night cap. A long, bright-blue dressing gown, much embroidered with scarlet braid, in Manchester style; a flannel shirt, tweed waistcoat, trouser, and aggressively new yellow boots completed his costume.
This was evidently his holiday attire, for on other days his scarlet night cap was replaced by a blue Tam-o-shanter and the dressing gown by a shoddy Ulster.
We seated ourselves opposite the door looking out on the river, while the rest of my party were grouped in a circle round us. It was not etiquette for any but the King and his interpreter to enter the hut, so Letia and the councilors remained outside while we carried on desultory conversation on the subjects of our respective journeys, hunting, etc, enlivened by the gentle tinkling of the piano and the subdued singing of the King’s choristers.” END.
Published: January 29, 1899 - Copyright © The New York Times.