Ariana Austin, now 33, was on a night out with a friend when they were approached by Joel Makonnen in the Pearl nightclub.
“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 plain old Joel was actually Prince Joel, the great-grandson of Haile Selassie I, Ethiopia’s last emperor.
But after the couple started dating seriously, Mr Makonnen, who works as a lawyer, eventually revealed his royal heritage
Born in Rome, his parents Prince David Makonnen and Princess Adey Imru Makonnen, had been forced to live in exile after a communist coup in his homeland.
His father had escaped the bloodshed in his homeland because he was studying abroad at the time. The family subsequently settled in Switzerland.
Mr Makonnen is related to Haile Selassie I through the emperor’s second son Prince Makonnen.
Haile Selassie was the 225th and last in the line of King of the Kings of Ethiopia, ruling the east African country for 40 years until he was overthrown in 1974.
He died the following year of “circulatory failure” – though many believe he had been murdered days earlier.