‘Harriet’ Actress Cynthia Erivo To Star In & Produce Story Of Princess ‘Gifted’ To Queen Victoria

BBC Film, Benedict Cumberbatch’s SunnyMarch & So So Producing

Two-time Oscar-nominee Cynthia Erivo (Harriet) is to star in and produce a film based on the remarkable life of Sarah Forbes Bonetta, a 19th Century African princess ‘gifted’ to Queen Victoria after she was orphaned and enslaved by a west African king.

Erivo produces with her Edith’s Daughter partner Solome Williams, alongside SunnyMarch’s Leah Clarke and Adam Ackland, and Rienkje Attoh from So & So Productions. Benedict Cumberbatch will executive-produce.

Development is financed by BBC Film [which underwent a re-brand earlier this year and is now singular rather than Films]. Walter Dean Myers’ biography At Her Majesty’s Request has been optioned as source material.

Born Omoba Aina, an Egbado princess of the Yoruba people, Aina was ‘gifted’ to Queen Victoria in 1850, taken to England, and renamed Sarah Forbes Bonetta. The Queen’s patronship was a thorny rose that put Sarah at the centre of British aristocracy but did not shield her from public scrutiny, personal suffering, or the dangers of a capricious court which was fundamentally suspicious of her as a strong, educated Black woman.

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