A Connecticut Yankee in the courts of King Peggy of Otuam

King Peggy
Photo of King Peggy courtesy of

Virginia Viglione of Connecticut USA finally got to meet Ghana’s Lady king Peggy of the Central Regional township of Otuam at the Ghana embassy in Washington DC in the month of May 2017. Virginia has now crossed one item off her bucket list.

The Connecticut native who was in the Washington DC area to visit her family there requested her son-in-law, who is a Ghanaian, to find out whether he could arrange for her to meet king Peggy since she had heard a bit about the lady king and wanted to take the opportunity of being in the area to meet her in person.

Peggielene Bartels who is informally known as King Peggy is the reigning chief of the coastal town of Otuam in Ghana, West Africa. She is the very first female King of the town. She juggles her job as ruler of 7000 subjects in Ghana (with a decent number of her town’s folk spread across the globe) alongside being an executive secretary at the Ghana Embassy in Washington DC for over 3 decades.

I was very fascinated with her story” said Virginia to, going on to say “it is not every day that you hear of a woman being King, and for an American like me, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to meet this great woman in person and ask her a question or two.

Meeting King Peggy

Virginia arrived with her family composed of her son-in-law, his wife (Virginia’s daughter) and their two children — her grandchildren. They made it to the gates of the Ghana Embassy around 1 PM Eastern Standard Time on a wet rainy afternoon. After security cleared them through the gates, Virginia found herself seated face-to-face with king Peggy in her office.

Left to right: Virgina, King Peggy, and Alda; Virginia’s daughter at the Ghana Embassy in Washington DC. Photo courtesy

One of the first things Virginia wanted to understand was why king Peggy was not referred to as a queen since she was a woman.

The king, who said it was a common question she receives answered rhetorically: “if a woman becomes President of the United States, what are you going to call her, wouldn’t she be called Madam President, and wouldn’t that be so because she finds herself bearing a male-dominated title.

Well if such a title is bestowed upon you, you can’t change it”, said the king, which is why “I am called Lady King Peggy, as would be the case of a female President being called Madam President.”

The lady king in response to another question from Virginia recounted the story of how for 200 years, there had never been a female King in her fishing village of Otuam in Ghana, how she was chosen as king through a series of traditional rituals to succeed her late uncle in 2008 and how the whole occurrence shocked, shook and surprised her.

One of only 3 ever…

Today I am one of only 3 women Kings in Ghana”, and king Peggy is also a member of an exclusive club of only 3 women kings in the world. She said to Virginia “You might think this exclusive honor comes with a lavish lifestyle but in my case it simply provides me with an opportunity to be in service of my people, to help change lives positively and to do all I can to improve their lives and bring global attention to my town and Ghana.

It is a very lonely life for me being a leader sometimes” king Peggy responded when she was asked by Virginia whether she has children: “I don’t have children, I tried but it didn’t work, my mother is deceased. Leadership is a very difficult task, so if God is not on your side and helping you, things could get really difficult” — King Peggy.

In a conversation with after the visit, Virginia shared how impressed she was by king Peggy and how she was particularly moved by the king’s humility even to the point of her commuting by Uber plus how she kept referring to God during their conversation. Virginia said, “I think it is very cool that she equally believes in God despite her purely traditionally secular function.”

Virginia invited to visit Ghana

Herself a keenly practicing Mormon, Virginia thinks “king Peggy is so spiritual and has a kind heart, “I believe she will be able to do a great job helping the needy and poor all over. I am excited about her upcoming biopic with Hollywood’s Queen Latifah playing her. I believe the world needs to hear more of her inspiring story.”

Before Virginia and her family left the Ghana embassy king Peggy took them on a mini tour of the embassy. Virginia later received a signed hardback copy of king Peggy’s life story which she co-authored with Eleanor Herman. Oh, the Connecticut Yankee also got a photo op.

King Peggy later invited Virginia to visit Ghana. “I am very glad I made this trip and thankful to both King Peggy and the Ghana Embassy in Washington DC for their warm reception, I think I might come see her again,” Virginia said to

For more information on king Peggy, find her on Facebook or visit her official website at where you can also donate to her charity causes.

Source: Oral Ofori /

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