The trending topic of the week has been the engagement of Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle. And although I couldn’t care less about this news, it did lead me to question other royal unions that take place throughout the globe. So I did a little research and found a very interesting story, by way of the Daily Mail and The New York Times.
Meet Ariana Austin and Joel Makonnen.
Ariana Austin (African-American/Guyanese) married Joel Makonnen (Ethiopian Prince) on September 9, 2017. Makonnen is the great-grandson of Ethiopia’s last emperor, Haile Selassie I, and Austin’s maternal grandfather was a lord mayor of Georgetown, the capital of Guyana.
The couple met in Washington, DC, 12 years ago, at Pearl nightclub. Makonnen advised that he used a pickup line on Austin and her friend. “I said, ‘You guys look like an ad for Bombay Sapphire,’ or whatever the gin was, Makonnen recalled.” Corny, I know. However, the line worked because the two started dating shortly afterward. And what I found even more interesting was the fact that Makonnen didn’t immediately tell Austin about his family until later on down the line.
The New York Times advised the following:
Mr. Makonnen’s family is part of the Solomonic dynasty, whose reign ended in 1974. That year, a civil war in Ethiopia broke out after Haile Selassie, the 225th emperor of Ethiopia, was deposed by a Marxist Derg military coup. By the time of his death under mysterious circumstances in 1975, it was clear that Mr. Selassie had presided over a country divided by his legacy.
The emperor, though, had been a powerful proponent of African anticolonialism, a leader adept at securing foreign aid for his country and pushing education initiatives. He was forced into exile when the Italians invaded Ethiopia in 1936, but returned in 1941 after convincing the British to aid him in a fight to secure his country’s independence.
To have such an enriched lineage and not use that to bate your future bride is admirable and shows high levels of humility. Austin, however, still expressed excitement about being apart of a family whose roots trace back to the Biblical King Solomon and Queen Sheba. One can say that she’s living out a dream or maybe even a movie. Coming to America, anyone?
I want to wish these two nothing but the best. Be sure to check out the full story about the pair’s union, if you haven’t already.
Until Next Time…