Taitu’s conduct continued to irritate the Shewan nobility and angered the paternal relatives of the Heir to the Throne. When Ras Tessema and Fitawrari Hapte Giorgis urged the Empress to halt appointing only her relatives to office and causing alarm to the foreign diplomats in February of 1910, she angrily called Ras Tessema an imbecile and Fitawrari Hapte Giorgis an invalid. This was the last straw. The two men summoned several other notables to Hapte Giorgis’home and resolved to remove the Empress from state authority. The group included Dejazmatch Gebre Sellassie Baria-Gabr, ruler of Adowa and prominent Tigrean noble man, Dejazmatch Lul Seged (later Ras), Dejazmatch Demissew Nessibu, Dejazmatch Wesene Tirfe and Dejazmach Merid Hapte Mariam. The foriegn missions, particularly the French, British and Italian missions were active in encouraging this group against the Empress, as she was regarded as being anti-foriegner. Many secret communications took place encouraging the nobles to act. After ascertaining the support of the Army, these prominent nobles notified the Archbishop Abune Mattiwos of their intentions (the Archbishop was a long time foe of the Empress)and had sworn to him that they would not shed any blood. The Archbishop asked to go to the Empress to speak to her first and try to convince her to step aside peacefully and calmly. Taitu’s informants however beat him to the chase. When he arrived at the Palace, the women of the Imperial household staff came running out and threw stones at the cleric, calling him a dog and a son of foreigners, telling him to go back to Egypt. The Empress sent out word that she didn’t have time to see him. Archbishop angrily returned to his residence and sent the Empress a terse letter in which he stated that if she did not recieve him she would be turned over to soldiers. Taitu reluctantly agreed to recieve him, and after some tense discussion, agreed to recieve the conspirators in audience. The nobles arrived dressed in court dress, and made the proper bows to the Empress. Dejazmatch Gebre Selassie then stepped forward and politely asked Her Imperial Majesty to confine herself to the caring of the sovereign, her husband, and halt her involvement in the daily affairs of government which were the rightfull duties of the Regent of the Empire, Ras Tessema Nadew, in the name of the Heir, Lij Eyasu Michael. Although the Dejazmatch and the others had been meticulous in their etiquette, the Empress could not contain her rage. She berated Dejazmatch Gebre Selassie as a coarse and disgusting person, unrefined, and a mere shepherd. In a dig at her own Semien origins (Semien being known for it’s sheep), the Dejazmatch elegantly replied “If not for Emperor Menelik, we might all be shepherds, but thanks to him we are all now shepherds of men.” Exasperated, she then turned on Ras Tessema demanding to know what action she had ever taken without consulting him as regent, and asking him if it was not he who constantly involved her in state matters because of his insistance that she was far more experienced in these matters. His answer was considerably more feeble than the Dejazmatch’s quick witty reply. He mumbled something about her constant interference in government, and appointment of her relatives to all offices. Ras Mengesha Atikem of Agew Midir, a man who had recently been recently agrieved by the Empress and was probably there to complain about being dispossesed of his province by her, and happened to be present at the scene. Although deeply agreived at the Empress, the Ras was never the less offended at this affront to the wife of his master, and he and Dejazmatch Nessibu came to fisticuffs. The two were bodily seperated and were calmed down by the Archbishop. The Empress then sat on her throne and haughtily looked away from the assembled nobles and in a sign of displeasure, refused to talk with them further. She had a spokesman read a statement from her that asked for permission to leave the capital and take the Emperor to Gondar, or if they insisted he remain in Shewa, either to the monastery of Debre Libanos, or her personal fief of Bulga. She would care for him there with her servants and go into seclusion as she was clearly not wanted in the capital. The nobles were startled. They had not expected such a reaction and were not pleased with the prospect of the public seeing them as ingrates who would drive the stricken Emperor and his wife from their home. They pleaded with her not to leave, and to remain in the city and care for the Emperor in the Palace where he and she rightly belonged as the reigning monarchs of the Empire. Her spokesman replied that Her Majesty would think about it. In the context of the significant political defeat she had just suffered, it was a small victory, but she must have savored it. She would ofcourse agree to stay. The woman who had ruled Ethiopia along with her husband, and probably the most powerful Empress-consort of Ethiopia ever, was thus deposed. The foriegn missions congradulated the nobles privately for the way they had carried out Taitu’s deposing. Ras Tessema was now the de facto as well as the de jure ruler of Ethiopia, and all business would now be conducted in the name of the Heir to the Throne, Lij Eyasu, rather than in the name of Menelik, King of Kings. Empress Taitu retreated to the Imperial chambers and continued to nurse her stricken husband with the help of her step-daughter Zewditu and a host of servants. All officials were discouraged by the government from meeting the Empress for any reason. Even social visitors were discouraged. The staff was decreased little by little over time. Increasingly her only outside contacts were the doctors that treated Menelik. She herself became quite ill during 1912, and Menelik’s cousin, Tsehaiwork Darge (daughter of Ras Darge) came from her fief in Sellale to nurse both the Emperor and Empress much to the grief of the palace staff which feared and disliked this particular Princess with a vengence. Cut off from the world, Taitu’s staff was continually being reduced, untill the point that she only had a few women helping her and Zewditu. She would complain in writing to the Regent “Why am I being deprived of male servants? Am I to be forbidden from hearing male voices?” The Empress and the others who nursed the Emperor depended on male attendants to lift him and bathe him. It was becoming very difficult to care for him. On certain occasions she was asked to present the Emperor for inspection by the nobles to ascertain his continued incapacity to rule. The Regent and the cabinet of ministers, and all the highest nobles would file into the Imperial bedchamber and approach the bed where the King of Kings lay completely unresponsive and shrunken away to a faint image of his once robust self. The nobles would weep and sob openly for their stricken master, and Taitu, seated in a chair nearby would only look on in silence at the men she believed had betrayed her. She would slowly thus sink into isolation.
Emperor Menelik II was also to fall victim the political and professional intreagues of his medical staff. The story of the ups and downs of his medical care and their political significance coming soon.