The Imperial family continues to play a role in Ethiopia today, although an unofficial role as it is no longer the reigning dynasty. The Imperial Family is active in charitable works, cultural activities and historical preservation, as well as keeping the legacy of the institutions of Ethiopia's ancient monarchy from falling into oblivion. The following are some of the prominent members of the Imperial Family and their activities. Succession to the Imperial throne was limited to the male decendants of Emperor Haile Selassie in the 1955 Revised Constitution. The order of succession as stated below was put out by the Imperial House based on those rules. One had to be an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian to succeed. Female decendants were excluded from the succession, although succession by way of decent in the female line was possible, but only after all male lines of decent were exhausted. Marriage to a non-Ethiopian excluded one from succession as well. Traditionally only the children of a monarch and the grandchildren of a monarch in the male line were entitled to the dignity of "Imperial Highness" and the title of Prince and Princess, but after the death of the last proclamed monarch, Amha Selassie I, it was agreed by the Imperial House that great-grandchildren of an Emperor in the male line would also bear these dignities and titles. Their wives are officially titled Woizero, as there is no monarch currently to grant them the Imperial titles having been commoners originally, but are accorded the title of Princess as a courtesy in most instances.
PRINCES IN THE OFFICIAL NAMED LINE OF SUCCESSION TO THE IMPERIAL THRONE IN ORDER OF PRESIDENCE
Crown Prince Zera Yacob
His Imperial Highness Crown Prince Zera Yacob Amha Selassie
Crown Prince Zera Yacob was born in 1953 in Addis Ababa, to his parents, then Crown Prince Asfaw Wossen Haile Selassie, and Crown Princess Medferiashwork Abebe Damtew. He was the youngest child, and only son of the then Crown Prince. Prince Zera Yacob attended and graduated from Eton College and Cambridge University in Great Britain. He was named "Acting Crown Prince" and Heir Presumptive to the Imperial throne of Ethiopia in 1974 by his grandfather Emperor Haile Selassie, following his father Crown Prince Asfaw Wossen's severe stroke a year earlier. It had been feared that the Crown Prince would not live long, and so the line of succession was clarified by this act. Following the Ethiopian Revolution of 1974, and the murder of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1975, Prince Zera Yacob remained Heir Presumptive, and his father Heir Apparent. Neither Prince recognized the Derg's proclamation of Crown Prince Asfaw Wossen as "King Designate" in 1974. Prince Zera Yacob was named Heir Apparent by his father when the Crown Prince assumed the title and name of Emperor Amha Selassie I, in exile, in April of 1989. Following the fall of the Ethiopian monarchy, Prince Zera Yacob completed his studies at Cambridge in the mid-seventies and went on to work as a banker in the United States. He returned to London to be closer to his parents in the early seventies when the Imperial Family was under great stress due to the deploying of assasins by the Derg to hunt them down. He was later married to former Princess Nunu Getaneh, and had a daughter, Her Imprial Highness Princess Lideta Zera Yacob, but was subsequently separated and divorced from his wife. Prince Zera Yacob accompanied his father Emperor Amha Selassie when he moved to Virginia in 1989, but later returned to England and resided for a time in Manchester. He has since returned to Ethiopia permanently. Crown Prince Zera Yacob has been regarded as head of the Imperial Family of Ethiopia since the death of his father in February 1997. He is first in line to succeed to the Imperial Throne. His Imperial Highness is the Soveriegn of Ethiopia's old Imperial Orders, and is the founder and Soveriegn of the Imperial Ethiopian Order of Saint Mary of Zion.
Prince Wossen Seged (Paul) Makonnen
Duke of Harrar
His Imperial Highness Prince Wossen Seged Makonnen (informally known as Prince Paul) is the eldest son of the late Prince Makonnen Haile Selassie Duke of Harrar, and Her Imperial Highness Princess Sara Gizaw Duchess of Harrar. He was born in 1947 in Addis Ababa. Prince Wossen Seged has been titular Duke of Harrar since the death of his father, Prince Makonnen in 1958. His Imperial Highness is currently Heir Presumptive of his cousin Crown Prince Zera Yacob, and second in line to the Ethiopian throne. His Imperial Highness was imprissoned by the Derg from 1974 until 1989.
Prince Mikael Makonnen (Amde Yesus)
His Imperial Highness Prince Mikael Makonnen is the second son of the late Prince Makonnen Haile Selassie Duke of Harrar, and Her Imperial Highness Princess Sara Gizaw Duchess of Harrar. He is married to Princess Asrat Amha. His Imperial Highness is third in line to the Imperial Throne. His Imperial Highness was imprissoned by the Derg from 1974 until 1989.
Prince Yokshan Dawit and Prince Joel Dawit
Their Imperial Highnesses Prince Yokshan Dawit and Prince Joel Dawit are the elder and younger sons respectively, of the late Prince Dawit (Makonnen)Makonnen and his wife Her Imperial Highness Princess Adey Abeba Imiru Zeleke. Their father Prince Dawit was the third son of the late Prince Makonnen Duke of Harrar, and Her Imperial Highness Princess Sara Gizaw Duchess of Harrar. He died in exile in 1989. Prince Yokshan (born in 1978) is the fourth in line for the Imperial throne, and Prince Joel (born in 1982) is fifth in line.
Prince Taffari (Phillip) Makonnen
His Imperial Highness Prince Taffari Makonnen is the fourth son of the late Prince Makonnen Duke of Harrar and her Imperial Highness Princess Sara Gizaw Duchess of Harrar. He was born in 1954 at Addis Ababa. His Imperial Highness was imprissoned by the Derg from 1974 until 1989. Prince Taffari Makonnen is currently the Grand Master of the Imperial Ethiopian Order of Saint Mary of Zion and is sixth in lne to the Imperial Throne. His Imperial Highness is the father of two sons by his first wife, and a daughter by his second wife, and his sons are seventh and eighth in the line of succession. (Their names have not been published in official sources). They are Princes with the dignity of Imperial Highness.
Prince Be'ede Mariam Makonnen
His Imperial Highness Prince Be'ede Mariam Makonnen is the youngest son of the late Prince Makonnen Duke of Harrar and Her Imperial Highness Princess Sara Gizaw. Prince Be'ede Mariam was born in 1957. The Prince is a graduate of Addis Ababa University and has done post-graduate work in Canada. He is married to Princess Mahelete Zewdineh, and is the father of two daughters. His Imperial Highness is nineth in line to the Imperial throne, and serves as Chief Executive of Internal Affairs of the Imperial Crown Council of Ethiopia. His Imperial Highness was imprissoned by the Derg from 1974 until 1989.
Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie
His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie
President of the Crown Council
Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, is the only son of the late Prince Sahle Selassie and Her Imperial Highness Princess Mahisente Habte Mariam, and was born in 1960. He is thus the grandson of both Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, and also of Dejazmach Habte Mariam Gebre Igziabiher, the heir to the former Welega kingdom of Leqa Naqamte. His Imperial Higness is currently tenth in line to the Imperial Throne. Prince Ermias is the President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, the body that represents the Ethiopian Crown in exile, and which advises the Emperor of Ethiopia when one is enthroned. As such, Prince Ermias is probably the most visible and well known member of the Imperial Family today. The Crown Council currently pursues a cultural and humanitarian role. Prince Ermias is also patron of the Haile Selassie Fund for Ethiopia's Children, Inc. a US-based non-profit charitable trust which raises funds for causes which aid Ethiopian children and which sponsored student scholarships for needy Ethiopian students abroad. His Imperial Highness is also patron and founder of the St. George of Lalibela Foundation.Prince Ermias is on the Board of Directors for Tuition Credit Exchange Inc., a US-based organisation which helps facilitate education. He is also Chairman of the Advisory Board of Bezant Corporation. His Imperial Highness is also patron for Africa for the Flying Hospital charity. Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie is the Sovereign Grand Master and Captain-General of the Ethiopian Order of St Anthony, Grand Master of the Order of the Ethiopian Lion, and Joint Grand Master of the Orders of the Seal of Solomon, Queen of Seba, Holy Trinity, Menelik II, Haile Selassie, and the Star of Ethiopia, and the Grand Collar and Chain of the Order of Solomon. He also bears the Grand Cross of the Order of Francis I of the Two Sicilies, and the Medal of Merit (South Carolina, USA). In 1997, Prince Ermias was named recipient of the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA) Silver Star Award for Outstanding Contributions to Strategic Progress Through Humanitarian Achievement, for his work for Ethiopian refugees in Africa. His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias was married to Gelila Fiseha, the daughter of a former Ethiopian Supreme Court Justice, and is the father of twin sons, Prince Sahle Selassie Ermias (informally known as Prince Christian), and Prince Fisseha Tsion (known as Prince Rufael). Prince Ermias and his wife are currently separated. His sons Princes Sahle Selassie Ermias and Prince Fisseha Tsion Ermias are respectivly eleventh and twelfth in line to the Imperial throne.
Links to Imperial Family Websites and to Subjects Related to Them.