Princess Elizabeth Bagaaya Akiiki is a living fairy tale princess. Daughter of His Royal Highness King George Rukidi III and Lady Kezia Rukidi, Elizabeth of Toro was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Born into the Toro Royal family at the height of its glory, she was raised in the typical, privileged fashion and style that we associate with fairy tale princesses.
Within and outside the kingdom, Princess Elizabeth's mesmerizing beauty was equaled only by her warmth of heart, and counterbalanced by her academic prowess. She excelled in her studies, which she started in a girls' boarding school in Uganda, continued at a boarding school in England, and on to the prestigious Cambridge University. She earned her place in history as being one of the first three african women to graduate Cambridge. Armed with her degree in Law, she went on to pursue a legal career, was admitted to the English bar in 1965, and became a practicing barrister at law.
Following the death of her father, King George Rukidi III, and the accession to the Toro throne by her brother, Patrick Kaboyo Olimi VII, princes Elizabeth assumed her traditional role as Princess Royal to her brother, King Patrick Olimi VII. Unfortunately, this was the beginning of the end of the glory days, a signal for tough times ahead.
The mid sixties were characterized by political upheaval in Uganda, and one of the victims were the kingdoms. The kingdoms were "abolished" in 1967. Princess Elizabeth left Uganda for the United States, to pursue a career in high fashion modeling and acting. She attained super model status and graced the covers of high fashion magazines like Vogue and Harpers. She also starred in several motion pictures, including "Sheena" and Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart and No Longer at Ease" in which she acted the leading female role.
Following the military coup of 1971, Princess Elizabeth was extended a special invitation to return and serve as Uganda's roving ambassador, in the government of Idi Amin. Later, she was appointed Uganda's ambassador to the United Nations. Her stint at the U.N. was short lived as she fell out of Amin's grace. What followed is a heart rending, sad story of humiliation and real danger to the princess and those close to her. She barely escaped with her life and went into exile in neighboring Kenya.
Princess Elizabeth returned to Uganda following the overthrow of Idi Amin's regime. The return of Milton Obote to Uganda, and his eventual assumption of power as president started yet another reign of terror in the newly liberated nation. The political and security situation proved too hostile for Princess Elizabeth, who exiled herself once again.
The restoration of cultural leaders by President Museveni's government in 1993 beckoned Princess Bagaya to return and serve her people as Princess Royale to her brother, King Patrick Kaboyo Olimi VII. She was one of the key players in restarting the kingdom as most of the elders who knew all the rituals and protocol were dead or scattered all over the world. Upon the untimely death of King Olimi VII, she was named as one of the guardians to her nephew, the three-and-one half years old infant king, His Royal Highness Omukama Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV. She is, today, one of the key players in the kingdom reconstruction activities of The Batebe of Toro Foundation, to which she devotes most of her time.
The story of Princess Elizabeth of Toro relates the highs and lows in the life of a living legend, a fairy tale princess. You may read it for yourself in her autobiography "Elizabeth of Toro: The Odyssey of an African Princess", published by Simon and Shuster.
H.R.H. Princess Elizabeth Bagaaya has agreed to return to public service in Uganda. She is now serving as Uganda's Ambassador to Germany.