D.C. Suburbs Flush With Foreign Royalty

While Washington, D.C., is traditionally a destination for those who seek power, it's also a refuge for those who no longer have it. Many royals here are in exile; others came because their deposed grandparents or parents thought the United States offered better opportunities and Washington offered the prestige and access of living in a world capital. The above photograph was taken at a suburban Ethiopian orthodox church in D.C. and shows the grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie, Ermias Sahle Selassie, and his wife Saba Kebede. (MATT MCCLAIN / THE WASHINGTON POST)

The Washington Post/Lifestyle
By Emily Wax

WASHINGTON — The petite, curly-haired princess of Ethiopia is a mortgage-loan officer who commutes 40 minutes a day, does her own dishes and shops for sales on twin sweater sets.

“I don’t have bodyguards clearing traffic or tailors stitching my clothes. This is America,” says Saba Kebede of McLean, Va., who laughed and looked at her husband, Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, the grandson of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie.

On Whistling Duck Drive in Upper Marlboro, Md., resides Kofi Boateng, an Ashanti king of Ghana (there are many) who works as a CPA and whose palace is a sprawling McMansion with a football game on the flat-screen TV and pictures of West African royalty hanging over the fireplace.

“Sometimes, these suburbs are so quiet they remind me of my village in Ghana,” Boateng says.

Kebede and Boateng are just two of the many lesser-known royals living in the Washington suburbs. They include King Kigeli Ndahindurwa V, who ruled Rwanda until his overthrow in 1961, and Iranian Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, who runs an advocacy association targeting the need for democracy in his home country.

While Washington is traditionally a destination for those who seek power, it’s also a refuge for those who no longer have it.

Read more at The Washington Post.


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