Fairytales are not known for beginning in a Washington DC nightclub, but for one American woman it was where she met the Ethiopian prince who has go on to become her husband.
Joel Makonnen married Ariana Austin at a ceremony in Maryland
A 33-year-old American woman, Ariana Austin, became an African princess last month when she married into the royal family of Ethiopia after meeting her future husband at a modern day ‘ball’.
According to Dailymail UK, Ariana married 35-year-old lawyer, Joel Makonnen, a great-grandson of Haile Selassie I, the last emperor of Ethiopia, on September 9 in Maryland, 12 years after they first met on the dance floor of Washington, DC nightclub Pearl.
While speaking in an exclusive chat with New York Times, Makonnen, said that he hit on his future bride and her friend using a cheesy pick-up line.
‘I said, ‘You guys look like an ad for Bombay Sapphire,’ or whatever the gin was,’ Mr. Makonnen recalled, adding that he immediately knew he wanted to date Ariana. ‘Not even five minutes later I said, ‘You’re going to be my girlfriend,” he said.
While Makonnen didn’t immediately tell her about his family, the truth about his heritage came out as they started to seriously date and it’s something that fascinates her as she appears excited to be a part of a family that traces their roots back to the Biblical King Solomon and Queen of Sheba.
Ariana said; ‘It’s unbeatable heritage and history. It combines sheer black power and ancient Christian tradition.’
The two married last month in an elaborate Ethiopian Orthodox Christian wedding involving 13 priests in Temple Hills, Maryland as the bride and groom both wore crowns and capes in the ceremony, making them look like the true royals they are.
Hours before the ceremony, they hosted a formal reception at Foxchase Manor in Manassas, Virginia where their 307 guests dined on platters of Ethiopian food and pre-boxed slices of Guyanese black cake.
The two moved in together after the wedding, and are living in the Washington, DC area.
Makonnen works in the legal department at Otsuka America Pharmaceutical. His new wife works in philanthropy at the Executives Alliance for Boys and Men of Color.
Makonnen, or Prince Yoel as he is officially known, is related to the last emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie I, through his second son, Prince Makonnen. Haile Salassie ruled Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974, when he was overthrown by a Marxist Derg military coup.