In a classy and beautiful weeding ceremony, Hailey Selassie’s grandson, Joel Makonnen tied the knot with his African American sweetheart of 12 years.
The Royal couple’s story started over 10 years ago in nightclub in Washington DC.
According to the Ethiopian Prince, he walked up to Ariana Austin who was having a night out with a friend at Pearl nightclub in December 2005. There and then, he knew he had found his soul mate.
35-year-old Joel Makonnen recalls saying this to Ariana and her friend:
“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’.
Likewise, the young lady said this:
“I think we both had this feeling that this was our destiny.
“But I felt like I had things that I had to do.”
Ariana could not be any correct as she converted to the religion few days before the wedding.
The spark took off between the lovebirds from Pearl and has lasted for as much as 12 years despite the long distance between them.
In turn, the new Ethiopian princess said without any prior knowledge that he had a royal ancestry, she was fascinated by the personality of the young handsome 23-year-old back then. Unlike his peers, Joel was concerned with higher and serious social topics.
“He talked about weighty things as a young man.
“He mentioned the revolution. Things that sound heavy for someone who was 23.”
After 12 long years, the two decided to take their romance to the next level.
In a typical Ethiopian Orthodox Christian ceremony, Joel and Ariana were married at the Debre Genet Medhane Alem Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Temple Hills, Maryland.
In attendance for the church service were 13 officiating priests and relatives who have connections to both families. The bride and the groom were crowned and robed with royal capes during the ceremony.
After that, the couple and their witnesses made it down to Foxchase Manor in Manassas, Virginia for the formal reception which was attended by 307 guests.
The decors and everything else about the occasion was sheer class and luxury at its best. In the midst of all these, the ceremony did not loose the intended Ethiopian touch.
Mr. Austin, father of the bride is the president of the Neighborhood Associates Corporation, a group focused on community engagement in Washington. Her mother, Joy Austin, is the executive director of HumanitiesDC, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
In her words:
“We, as the New World, felt that the Old World was very receptive of us, and we were of them.”
Joel Makonnen is the great-grandson of Ethiopian warlord, Hailey Sellassie I. He was the 225th and the last emperor of Ethiopia.
Ethiopian military commander, believed to be a descendant of King Menelik I and King Solomon ruled the African nation from 1930 until 1974 when he was overthrown by a Marxist, Mengistu Haile Mariam.
Joel Makonnen is the son of Prince David Makonnen and Princess Adey Imru Makonnen. He was born in Rome but grew up in Switzerland.
Mr. Makonnen’s mother is a retired United Nations international officer. His father died in 1989.