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Accidentally royal: US woman marries Ethopian prince she met in a nightclub

Fairytales really do come true

A chance encounter in a Washington, D. C nightclub ended in a fairytale romance of royal standing.

When American woman Ariana Austin was approached by a handsome man on the dancefloor, she had no idea that he was quite literally the prince to her princess. Joel Makonnen struck up a conversation with his future bride in Pearl nightclub, omitting the facts that he was in fact Ethiopian royalty.

‘I said: “You guys look like an ad for Bombay Sapphire”,’ he told The New York Times about their first encounter. ‘Not even five minutes later I said: “You’re going to be my girlfriend”.’

What he didn’t reveal that night 12 years ago was that Joel was actually Prince Joel, the great-grandson of Haile Selassie I, Ethiopia’s last emperor. But he did eventually reveal his heritage after the couple started dating seriously.

Joel’s parents Prince David Makonnen and Princess Adey Imru Makonnen had been forced to live in exile after a communist coup in Ethiopia. The family relocated to Switzerland.

Ariana and her prince beau married in a lavish Ethiopian Orthodox Christian wedding with 13 priests, two crowns and capes on September 9 of this year.


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