As an ardent BBC Radio 4 listener, I've just listened to a programme about Prince Monolulu who used to turn up at British race-courses and, at Petticoat Lane Market (now Middlesex Street) in London's East End. This character absolutely fascinated me when I met him on a visit there with my parents. Then a few years later, he jumped aboard my compartment on the District Line tube and caused a sensation with his flamboyantly coloured costume and crazy, but beautifully dyed, feathers arranged in his exquisite headdress. He began talking to everyone and I was fascinated. What a contrast to our boring business suits!
Becoming a regular personality on the race-track as a tipster, Monolulu told interviewers that he had been born in Abyssinia, the son of the chief of the Falasha tribe, but upon researching later, I found he had been christened Peter Carl McKay in the Danish West Indies. His father and brothers were all horse breeders and racers on the island of St Croix. Probably, this is why he would kick off any conversation with "I gotta horse!"
In the austere 50s and early 60s, he brought fun and colour to so many people and his story is incredible. Born October 1881, died February 1965 - I wish I had accepted the commission for an article, perhaps one day I may. If so, will have to pay a visit to the Prince Monolulu pub in Maple Street, Fitzrovia in London's W1