33-year-old Ariana Austin, has walked down the aisle with Joel Makonnen an Ethiopian prince she met at a Washington DC nightclub 12 years ago, who approached her on an outing with a friend. Joel, who works as a lawyer, told her there and then that she was going to be his girlfriend.
Though he never told her then that he was a Prince, however after they got serious with their relationship, Joel told Ariana who he married in a lavish Ethiopian Orthodox Christian wedding with 13 priests, two crowns, and a pair of capes on 9 September, that he was a Prince.
Prince Joel who was born in Rome to his parents Prince David Makonnen and Princess Adey Imru Makonnen, and is the great-grandson of Haile Selassie I, Ethiopia’s last emperor. Haile Selassie was the 225th and last in the line of King of the Kings of Ethiopia, ruling the east African country for 40 years until he was overthrown in 1974. The royal family traces its roots back to the Biblical King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.
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The marriage ceremony of Joel who had been forced to live in exile after a communist coup in his homeland, took place in Maryland and involved a “marathon day of events that lasted from 11 a.m. until late in the evening, and took place within two states.”
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Speaking to The New York Times about their first encounter, Joe said: “I said: ‘You guys look like an ad for Bombay Sapphire’. Not even five minutes later I said: ‘You’re going to be my girlfriend’.”
Joel’s father had escaped the bloodshed in his homeland because he was studying abroad at the time. The family subsequently settled in Switzerland.