An American woman has beaten Meghan Markle to the punch of becoming a princess. Ariana Austin, 33, wed Joel Makonnen, 35, in a lavish ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 9. the Ethiopian royalty, known as Prince Yoel, met Austin at a D.C. nightclub in Dec. 2005.
“In many ways it feels like this day was written,” Sushama Austin-Connor, Austin’s older sister, told The New York Times in a Friday, Oct. 13 article. “Ever since I have seen them together they always have been connected to each other. They have a deep-rooted friendship beyond anything else.”
The match was predicted by Makonnen, who walked right up to Austin and her friends at the club Pearl almost 12 years ago. Both Makonnen and Austin were in their respective bachelor and bachelorette phases when they met.
“I said, ‘You guys look like an ad for Bombay Sapphire,’ or whatever the gin was,” Makonnen said. “Not even five minutes later I said, ‘You’re going to be my girlfriend.’”
While it may not seem like it at first, the couple has much in common. Both have aristocratic family ties, with Makonnen’s great-grandfather was Emperor Haile Selassie I of the Solomonic dynasty and the last emperor of Ethiopia. Meanwhile, Austin’s maternal grandfather was a lord mayor of Georgetown, Guyana.
Related: Ethiopia News
According to his website, Mankonnen is the fifth in line to the throne. Family lore says the lineage can be traced back to biblical King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.
“It’s unbeatable heritage and history,” Austin told The Times. “It combines sheer Black power and ancient Christian tradition.”
The couple wed in an Ethiopian Orthodox ceremony in front of family and friends. At least 13 priests and clergymen officiated the nuptials, but it wasn’t completely void of American tradition. Austin was able to walk down the aisle alongside her father. Then, 307 guests accompanied the couple at a formal reception with meals of traditional Ethiopian food and to-go Guyanese black cake.
“I think we both had this feeling that this was our destiny,” Austin said.
And it’s not just women that this happens to. Christopher Thomas was an accountant in Maryland when he met American University student a Ugandan Princess Ruth Komuntale, according to Business Insider. He became a prince when the couple wed in 2012 before splitting a year later.
On the other hand, Anna Karabo Mots’oeneng was studying at National University of Lesotho before getting engaged to King Letsie III in 1999. They wed in 2000 and she became Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso.