Meeting at The Vatican Between HH Pope Francis I and
HIH Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie
on 20 May 2021

May 28, 2021

The Crown Council of Ethiopia has released additional information about the important meeting held at the Vatican on May 20, 2021 between His Holiness Pope Francis I and His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia.

HIH Prince Ermias met with HH Pope Francis in Rome to discuss their commitment to launching a new charitable initiative in Ethiopia through the Pope’s foundation: Scholas Occurrentes, and PVBLIC Foundation. The initiative will concentrate on transforming education for children in Ethiopian communities. The Pope and the Prince discussed the history and heritage of Ethiopia as well as Christianity in the country.

Prince Ermias also made a visit within the Vatican to the Pontifical Ethiopian College (photo above), which was founded in 1919.

These important meetings laid the foundation for further discussions, to be held later in 2021, to progress the charitable initiative.



Interview of HIH Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie Haile Selassie, President of the Crown Council

14 October 2020


Click photo for link to interview

Victory of Adwa Weekend - HIH Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie Haile Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia's Interview with Australia's SBS Amharic Section

1 March 2020


Interview with Australia's SBS broadcasting system and its Amharic channel. Click HERE for link to full interview.

Gregory Copley's Interview with Australia's SBS Broadcasting System

October 11, 2019


Interview today with Australia's SBS broadcasting system and its Amharic channel. Discussion on the Ethiopian Crown and Ethiopian Government, including Nobel Prize Winner Dr Abiy Ahmed Ali. Click HERE for link to full interview.

“Emperor Haile Selassie followed the model of Emperor Menelik ensuring that Ethiopia should remain independent and dignified country.” - Gregory Copley, President at ISSA, and its Zahedi Center for the Study of Monarchy, Traditional Governance, and Sovereignty

royals-05-2018-cover1.jpgCrown Council President Focus of Major Report in US Magazine, Vanity Fair

May 1, 2018


Ethiopian Crown Council President His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie was the focus of a major report in the national US magazine, Vanity Fair, which appeared on newsstands on May 1, 2018. Full text of the article can be seen on the magazine's website, at:

Ethiopian Christmas (Melkam Genna)

A Statement from the Crown Council of Ethiopia by its President, His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie

29th Tahsas' 2010 (January 7, 2018)


His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council (center); flanked by the Hon. Brendan Nelson, AO, Director of the Australian War Memorial, and Dr Berhanu Wolde-Kidan, GOSE, President of the Federation of Ethiopian Community Association Council of Australia, during the Prince’s Commemorative Visit to Australia in June 2017.

We wish all Ethiopian People, at home and in the Diaspora, a blessed Ethiopian Christmas (Melkam Genna).


There is strength in forgiveness, so may this wondrous holiday season usher in an era of peace and reconciliation amongst all our people, remembering that what we share in our three millennia of collective history — our bond — is greater than anything which could temporarily divide us.

We are all at a crucial crossroads in our great nation. Where there were mistakes and miscalculations we need an earnest reform and corrections. These require of us a courageous commitment of action: Sincere applications and concrete steps to fulfill promises of words. Inevitably, challenges will emerge, but the key is to reflect with patience and magnanimity in seeking tolerant outcomes.

We are all encouraged by the spirit of reconciliation. True reconciliation cannot exist in the absence of justice and it must include an affirmation to correct inequalities, real or perceived. It is a journey as well as a destination.

Let us embark on this path with open hearts and vigilance. We are all stakeholders, and which outcomes we choose will determine our collective destiny. Ethiopians are an ancient and wise people, confident in their faith and humanity. Let us pray that sanity and magnanimity will prevail over hatred and violence.

Let us all embrace challenges as opportunities. Let us all commit ourselves to work for peace not only amongst ourselves with all our neighbors within Ethiopia’s boundaries and within a region peopled by our cousins. We have known each other, and shared with each other, for many millennia. We can, and will, resolve any obstacles, and build a great future together.

May the Almighty continue to guide and bless our People and Country. Let us chart together a peaceful and prosperous Nation, confident in itself and its future.Ethiopian Samson Berhane, 27, reads a previous month's Ethiopian Business Review, featuring Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who won the Nobel Peace Prize, at his office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia October 12, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

The Commemorative Visit to Canada, November 15-19, 2017, of His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of The Crown Council of Ethiopia

Above: Their Imperial Highnesses Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, and Princess Saba Kebede in the Canadian Senate on November 16, 2016, with J. Greg Peters, MVO, Usher of the Black Rod. Mr Peters, whose position acts as a representative of the Sovereign of Canada in Parliament, presented Their Imperial Highnesses with books, and Prince Ermias presented Mr Peters with an Ethiopian Cross and the book, “Ethiopia Reaches Her Hand Unto God”.

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Above: HIH Prince Ermias, on stage at the Canadian Museum of History on November 16, 2017, receives the award of Honorary Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society from the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, the Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, OC, OOC, and the Hon. President of the RCGS, Alex Trebek, OC..

Their Imperial Highnesses Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie andPrincess Saba Kebede arrived in Ottawa on November 15, 2017, to start the Crown’s Commemorative Visit to Canada, marking the 50th anniversary of the State Visit of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I in 1967. The Emperor’s visit coincided with the 100th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada, and Their Imperial Highnesses’ visit coincided with the 150th anniversary.

The Commemorative Visit followed the immensely successful Commemorative Visit by Prince Ermias to Australia in June 2017, in preparation for the 50th anniversary of the Emperor’s State Visit to Australia in 1968. See: Their Imperial Highnesses also undertook a groundbreaking Commemorative Visit to Jamaica in 2016, marking the half-century since the Emperor’s State Visit there in 1966.

These series of Commemorative Visits are designed to support the Ethiopian diaspora, and to help the drive toward unifying Ethiopians, who still suffer from the divisive effects of the coup and subsequent destruction of Ethiopia by the Dergue which seized power in 1974.

The Imperial Couple chose to drive into Canada from Buffalo, New York, so that they could see some of the countryside on their first formal visit to Canada. Their visit saw the start of their formal activities on November 16, 2017, with a visit by His Imperial Highness to the new Headquarters of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in Ottawa, where the Honorary President of the Society, Alex Trebek, OC, and RCGS Chief Executive Officer John Geiger, GOEM, welcomed him.

Prince Ermias was honored in a ceremony by the RCGS with investiture as an Honorary Fellow of the Society, in which the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario placed the Fellow's medal around the neck of His Imperial Highness.

The Imperial couple also visited Parliament on November 16, as guests of the Usher of the Black Rod, Mr J. Greg Peters, MVO, who also participated with some 500 other dignitaries, including Fellows of the RCGS, at a dinner at the Museum of History.

The couple departed for Toronto early on November 17, 2017, for meetings with the Ethiopian and African diaspora communities and for a special visit to Dundurn Castle, in Hamilton. They were also be guests at a private reception honoring the work undertaken by the University of Toronto to promote educational, medical, and other areas of cooperation with Ethiopia, and for the University's teaching of Ethiopian and Ge'ez studies.

They departed Toronto for the US on Sunday, November 19, 2017.

The Commemorative Visit to Australia, June 18-July 1, 2017, of His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of The Crown Council of Ethiopia

Sponsored by the International Strategic Studies Association’s Zahedi Center for the Study of Monarchy, Traditional Governance, and Sovereignty

Prince Ermias (left) with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (second from left),

SSA Pres. Gregory Copley, AM, GCHT*, FRCGS, and ISSA Executive Director Pamela von Gruber, GCEL, GCSE, RML,

at the Office of the Prime Minister, Canberra, on June 22, 2017


His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, between June 18 and July 1, 2017, visited Australia to commemorate the State Visit to the country by His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I, in 1968. The visit, organized and supported by the Zahedi Center for the Study of Monarchy, Traditional Governance, and Sovereignty at the International Strategic Studies Assn., in Washington, DC, was described by The Australian Financial Review of June 22, 2017, as taking on all the trappings, itself, of a State visit. It took in formal activities in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, and Perth, hosted by government and civic leaders and the Ethiopian diaspora.



5 February 2014: HIH Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Interviewed by Voice of America


Voice of America's Branko Mikasinovich interviews Ethiopian Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, the grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. Click here to view the entire interview on YouTube.

29 May 2012: Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Receives the Golden Key to Frankfort, Kentucky

The City also passes resolution proclaiming May 7, 2012 as “Prince Ermias Day”


Mayor Graham of Frankfort, KY handing the Golden Key of the City to HIH Prince Ermias

H. Gippy Graham, Mayor of Frankfort, KY presented His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie the Honorary Key to the city of Frankfort (capital city of Kentucky) for his strategic leadership, active participation in designing programs to assist African peacekeeping, reconciliation, and border dispute resolution. The Prince was also honored for his active role in African 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 event was held during the 13th annual interdisciplinary conference on African Studies hosted by Kentucky State University (KSU). This year, the Conference focused on the theme “How will Africa’s growing Economic development Impact the people and the environment?” The conference brought scholars, KSU students and professionals from various disciplines and institutions to KSU to celebrate African heritage.


During the event, Professor Gashaw Lake, Dean of the College Professional Studies at KSU introduced His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias, the President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia and the representative of the Ethiopian Crown in exile, as a guest speaker to the participants. Prince Ermias, in his speech, introduced his new initiative to bring pure drinking water to the People of Africa while helping to improve their ecological conditions. The project, which is named "The Prince Ermias Shale-Selassie Water Initiative for Africa" (WIA), is a low-cost, new and environmentally positive technology capable of rapidly transforming life for millions of people, not just in response to emergencies, but as a permanent building block for social development. The WIA offers these new technologies for all and works not only on its own projects, but also with all other aid agencies and foundations to achieve Africa’s renaissance.


Professor Lake, who was also one of the coordinators of the annual conference at KSU, praised the Prince’s noble personality as a great man who transformed the Crown Council and his own life into a mission to improve the welfare of Africans wherever they are.


*Prince Ermias was named the recipient of the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA), and was given the Silver Star Award of Outstanding contributions to strategic Progress through humanitarian achievements because of his work for Ethiopian Refugees in Africa.


(The 13th Annual Interdisciplinary Roundtable Conference on African Studies was held at the Kentucky State University April 7-9, 2012.)

Photo - Ethiopians Honor
African Americans 11.jpg12 September 2007: Ethiopian Emperor’s Grandson Honors African Americans


H.I.H. Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile Selassie, grandson of H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia placed a wreath of red, yellow and green flowers at the African American Civil War Memorial on September 12th, the first day of the 3rd Ethiopian Millennium - (Ethiopia still follows the original Egyptian Calendar.) Surrounded by a group of Ethiopian religious and military officials, and other leaders in the Ethiopian, African American and Ethiopian World Federation community, H.I.H. Prince Ermias spoke eloquently about the debt Ethiopians owe to the African American community for their support during Mussolini’s Fascist invasion of Ethiopia, and their struggle for civil rights enabling Ethiopian Americans to participate in American society with dignity.


The congregation then proceeded to New Bethel Baptist Church for a ceremony featuring speakers including; Chris Haley, nephew of Alex Haley, and Director of the Study of the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland at the Maryland State Archives; Nebiat Solomon, Director of the Office of African Affairs in the Office of the Mayor Fenty and Ward One Councilman Jim Graham who brought the elephant tusks residing at City Hall that Emperor Selassie donated to Washington during his visit in 1954.

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H.I.H. Prince Ermias made an impassioned speech invoking the historical ties between Africans in the Diaspora, and a commitment to make the future more peaceful and prosperous for Africa and the world. Photos were displayed of African American pilots Herbert Julian, aka “The Black Eagle,” and Colonel John Robinson who both commanded Ethiopian Air Forces against the Italians; Dr. Melaku Bayen, the first Ethiopian medical school graduate in the US, who founded the Ethiopian Research Council with diplomat Dr. Ralphe Bunche and historian Dr. William Leo Hansberry at Howard University; H.I.M. Haile Selassie presenting an Ethiopian Cross to Pastor and Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr. at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem; and jazz great Duke Ellington performing in Ethiopia.

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More activities are being planned to provide opportunities to strengthen the relationship between the Ethiopian and African American communities in Washington, DC for the future including a religious pilgrimage to Ethiopia, cultural education programs, and grassroots actions on various local issues.

28 November 2004

Bay Area Ethiopian Community Gathers For Celebration
Published: Nov 28, 2004
Tampa Bay Online

TAMPA - Preserving culture and tradition through generations is the mark of a strong people, Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, grandson of Ethiopia's last emperor, told the Tampa Bay area's growing Ethiopian community at its annual Christian celebration.

It was St. Mary's Day on Saturday at the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church, which meets at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in south Tampa. The congregation is planning to build a new church in Brandon, where they've purchased land after using St. Mary's for several years.

With Selassie's first visit to Tampa, church organizers hope to ignite a successful fundraising campaign. The area's Ethiopian population and the church's membership have grown exponentially in the past decade, according to Brook Negusei, a founding member of the 17-year-old congregation.

Negusei, who owns a Tampa taxi and shuttle service company, estimates there are nearly 1,000 Ethiopian families in Tampa and Orlando.

According to a 2000 census sample, there were 199 Ethiopians living in Hillsborough County. Like many immigrants, Ethiopians are undercounted, so the U.S. Census Bureau uses formulas to estimate small populations.

"They move here because they know people here and they like the climate,'' Negusei said. "We are mostly in the service business. We also have doctors, businessmen. It's very diverse now.''

Most come from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital, and Gonder, a northern province.

The Ethiopian exodus started after the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974. A communist regime took over. Shortly after, Ethiopians, under refugee status, began arriving steadily.

For years, Ethiopia has suffered food shortages stemming from droughts and political unrest. The country seeks food assistance for about 4 million people annually.

Prince Selassie, who lives in Washington, praised local leadership for passing on religion and culture to a new generation.

"It's a great privilege to be here,'' he said. "I am hoping this church will grow and expand.''

More than 120 people attended the celebration, which attracted high priests from Illinois and Texas. The priests gave the service in Ge'ez, an ancient language, and in Amharic, Ethiopia's official language.

Women, wearing kutas - white shawls - covering their bodies, sat on the right side of the church and the men sat on the left side, most wearing white.

Organizers said it's customary for all to wear the same clothing.

"By wearing the same thing, you don't know who is rich or who is poor,'' Negusei said.

The Rev. Berhanu Bekele, the leader of this congregation for many years, presided over the ceremonies with Fassil Gabremariam, chairman of the church's board.

Rahel Bekele, 17, the pastor's daughter, said it has been a joy to watch the membership grow.

"I was born and raised here,'' she said. "And I've seen this start from a handful to 400 people.''

Quest for stability in East Africa
By Dave Marks
Miami Times, April 14-20, 2004

Claiming the stability of East Africa is important for strategic global interests, Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile Selassie of Ethiopia addressed an audience of Pan-Africanists and people concerned about Africa last week at Florida international University. [Prince Ermias] is the President of the Ethiopian Crown Council and a grandson of the former Ethiopian ruler Haile Selassie I.

Since being deposed in 1974, the Ethiopian royal family has lived in exile. But [Prince Ermias] still lobbies on behalf of Ethiopian interests and for the greater interests of the region historically referred to as the Horn of Africa. He hopes to find receptive audiences and seeks to force policy makers to consider the Crown’s point of new.

The Horn is traditionally an important sea route as a large part of world trade goes through the Suez Canal and Red Sea. [Prince Ermias] told The Miami Times: “In the war against terrorism, it’s a strategic location where different forces are converging.”

One of [Prince Ermias]’s major concerns is Ethiopia’s relationship with their northern border nation Eritrea. There has been a volatile situation between the two nations, as Eritrea became independent from Ethiopia, and the two nations had a costly war in the l990s.

[Prince Ermias] felt Eritrea is in economic decline and he accused them of training mercenaries to try to attack and destabilize Ethiopia. “Eritrea wants international sup¬port.” said [Prince Ermias]. “That’s why they will attack.”

With Eritrea being a volatile situation in the north, Ethiopia is currently landlocked without a seaport. [Prince Ermias] felt that without Ethiopia being able to enter into port agreements with neighboring Somaliland and Djibouti, Ethiopia’s economy will be destabilized.

Djibouti was seen as a good alternative by [Prince Ermias], since they are friendly with the U.S. and assisting in the war on terrorism. Somaliland presents a problem. Although [Prince Ermias] would like to see Ethiopia enter into a port agreement with them, Somaliland is not recognized as a separate nation from Somalia.

Somalia is the southern half of the territory and a former Italian colony, but there is no government in Somalia. Somaliland is the northern half that was ruled colonially by the British, but it has a stable government that broke away from the south in 1991. However it is not recognized.

“Africa’s wealth has been its curse, that’s why it’s attracted outside exploitations, said [Prince Ermias]. We must promote awareness. education and people-to-people dialogue. Some countries are moving toward& that but it will take some time.”

Many in the audience at Florida International University seemed to be interested in the whole “Selassie Rastafari Lion of Judah” aspect of the Crown.

That has been referred to popularly as Rastafarianism, as a religion/movement that seems to have strong roots in Jamaica and was made more popular by the late international reggae superstar Bob Marley. [Prince Ermias] seemed to shy away from questions from audience members that seemed to back the belief that his grandfather is to be deified. There was also slight controversy when two female students spoke out at the question and answer session and tried to suggest to everyone in attendance that they should be worshipping Jesus alone.

[Prince Ermias] felt the Crown can play a role in contributing to a better understanding between Ethiopia and Eritrea. He also felt the Crown should have a place in future Ethiopian society, but he would not like to see the old monarchy return, he believes in democracy.

We have to use the best of our traditional cultures, but make a climate where democracy can thrive.” said [Prince Ermias].

HIH Prince Ermias named to Board of Directors of the National Slavery Museum
National Slavery Museum holds groundbreaking; additional details of venture divulged

Excerpt of National Public Radio interview wih HIH Prince Ermias

Date published: 12/4/2003

It was billed as a groundbreaking, though no ground was to be found.

But that didn't stop former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder from boasting that plans for the National Slavery Museum in Fredericksburg are moving at a steady clip.

Instead of asking people to schlep out to the proposed museum site overlooking the Rappahannock River, Wilder held the symbolic groundbreaking downtown, in the elegant Fleming-Smith Room at Kenmore Plantation & Gardens.

"I don't think you'd like to be walking around the site this morning," Wilder said, referring to the cold, windy weather. "It wouldn't be the same as this nice, warm place."

Wilder told a gathering of museum enthusiasts, local government officials and journalists that construction will begin in October of next year and the museum will open in 2007.

Museum officials are working with architect Chien Chung Pei, son of I.M. Pei, designer of the National Gallery of Art's East Building on the National Mall in Washington and other famed structures. Chien Chung Pei attended yesterday's symbolic groundbreaking.

Pei, a member of Pei Partnership Architects of New York City, said he's working with museum officials on a design that will reverently capture the museum's essence.

"This project has to have its own life," Pei said. "It goes way beyond the walls of the building. The project is about dignity."

Behind Pei was an early rendering he did of the proposed museum.

The slick steel-and-glass design resembles other Pei-family projects.

But Pei said he is still planning the "program'' for the museum, covering exhibit space and design.

"The best buildings emerge from active involvement from the client," Pei said. "And in this case, from the public."

In 2002, Wilder chose Fredericksburg as the site for the museum, which could cost between $100 million and $200 million.

The Silver Cos., Fredericksburg-based developers of the Celebrate Virginia tourism complex, donated 38 acres at the site for the proposed museum.

In March of that year, museum officials signed a loan agreement with the city for $1 million.

The city's money, which is to be used to benefit the entire Celebrate Virginia project and not spent on the creation of the museum, will be paid back through a special tax on landowners in the development.

According to the terms of the March 2002 agreement, slavery museum officials are to submit an annual report to the city describing all services it has provided using the money, and a breakdown of expenditures.

On Oct. 14, the city received a timeline for the project, a list of the museum's board of directors and a copy of the museum's 2002 federal tax return.

Missing were both the narrative of services provided and an accounting of how the city's money has been spent.

Last week, City Manager Phillip Rodenberg received a letter from the museum's accountants, Keiter, Stephens, Hurst, Gary & Shreaves.

The letter said that "grants given by the city of Fredericksburg are received by the organization and deposited into a separate checking account handled by First Union Bank. All grants are deposited immediately into this account upon receipt. All expenses incurred with regards to this grant are withdrawn directly from this account."

Rodenberg said he has asked Foster for more details on how and where the money is being spent.

"I need to be sure that funds are being spent according to the agreement," Rodenberg said yesterday.

In addition to the city's money, another $1 million appropriation was made by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

That grant--which could be used for either capital or operating costs--was disbursed to the slavery museum between December 2002 and June 2003.

Wilder said he also plans to tour the country to raise funds for the project.

Yesterday's ceremony centered largely on Wilder's determination to make the museum a reality.

"This museum is going to be built," said Wilder, the grandson of slaves. "There's no question about it."

Wilder added that plans to open a national, federally funded African-American Museum in Washington won't thwart his efforts.

"There is no competition between them and us," Wilder said. "In fact, I applaud that effort and look forward to working with them."

Wilder also announced a new board member. A grandson of former Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, HIH Prince Ermias Selassie, has been added to the museum's board of directors.

"He'll help to coordinate in Africa for us," Wilder said.

The rest of the board consists of Wilder; actor and comedian Bill Cosby; Jacob Gelt Dekker, founder of the Kura Hulanda museum in the Caribbean's Netherlands Antilles; John Hope Franklin, a historian and professor at Duke University in North Carolina; William Harvey, president of Hampton University; and Patrick H. Swygert, president of Howard University in Washington.

Wilder also lauded his new executive director, Vonita Foster, for kicking the project into gear since taking over in August.

"We've moved light years since she took over," Wilder said.

Foster has created a timeline for the project, fleshed out the mission more succinctly and beefed up the site's Web page.

Last month, Foster, Wilder and Pei toured the Kura Hulanda museum, which will be a quasi-model for the one here.

In February, the museum plans to bring a traveling exhibit on American slavery to area schools.

"I feel like we're really making progress," said Foster, who works with an assistant out of offices in the Central Park business complex off State Route 3. "We're on target and rarin' to go."

Prince to tell family's story - Exiled Prince Ermias Selassie visits Key West friends who hope to film a documentary about his life and his grandfather, Haile Selassie, the late emperor of Ethiopia.


Click here to watch the video trailer


KEY WEST - The Lion of Judah's grandson was almost unnoticeable in the Saturday night crowd. He hung at the party's edges, a wisp of a prince, his feet on American soil, his heart heavy with longing for a tattered kingdom half a world away.

It was Prince Ermias Selassie's first trip to Key West. Well-heeled friends invited him so they could fete him at a party, and begin documenting on film his life story and memories of his grandfather, Haile Selassie, the late emperor of Ethiopia, and the man revered by Rastafarians as the "Black Christ.''

Selassie lives in Virginia just outside Washington, D.C., and runs a charity that brings Ethiopian students to the United States. He was 14 and at school in England when, in 1974, a military coup ousted his grandfather and, as a result, 17 members of his family were jailed.

Haile Selassie died the next year under house arrest, and the boy, exiled from his country, finished his schooling in England before studying at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He made the United States his home, but Ethiopia commanded his mind, and he watched anguished as the rest of the world came to see his homeland only as a country stricken by famine and ravaged by civil strife.

''HIH Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie Haile SelassieThe world has a very one-sided view of Ethiopia's problems,'' Selassie said. "If they know of them at all.''

Selassie's grandfather, Taffari Makonnen, married an emperor's daughter in 1911 and became a prince, or, in Ethiopian, a Ras. In 1917, he was named heir to the throne.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the Jamaican revolutionary Marcus Garvey was propounding black pride and the ''Back to Africa'' movement. He told followers to look for an African king as their leader, and in the prince, Ras Taffari, they saw a prophecy fulfilled.

The Rastafarian religion was born.

Taffari was crowned emperor of Ethiopia in 1930, the 111th emperor in succession of King Solomon, a title known also as the Lion of Judah, and took the name Haile Selassie, which means "Might of the Trinity.''

Selassie quickly established himself as a progressive ruler. Prior to his coronation, he pushed to modernize Ethiopia's government, schooling, financial, health and social services, and helped abolish the country's slave trade in 1923 to win entry to the League of Nations.

Selassie also sought to maintain peace with Italy, whose new leader, Benito Mussolini, was hungry to expand his colonies beyond Eritrea. Italy invaded in 1935, brutalizing Ethiopians with chemical warfare.

The League of Nations condemned Italy but did nothing, and the world watched amazed as Ethiopia desperately fought back and Selassie was forced into exile. Time magazine named Selassie Man of the Year in 1936. Later that year he made an impassioned speech before the League of Nations, condemning an act of aggression against one small country as aggression against all countries, and captivating audiences worldwide.

Selassie returned from exile in 1941 to rule for over three decades until the country's army, fueled by riots and angered by famine, banished him from power.

In 1992, Selassie's remains were discovered buried beneath a toilet in the imperial palace. Seven years passed before they were laid to rest in a cathedral in the capital, Addis Ababa.

In a family photograph taken in the early 1960s, Ermias Selassie, then just a toddler, sits at his grandfather's feet. Dozens of family members fill out the photo: Many are now dead, others live in exile and a dozen sit on the Crown Council, which Selassie chairs.

Selassie, who is fifth in line for the crown, returned to Ethiopia this year for the first time in three decades. It was a bittersweet, powerful visit, and he was heartened to see pictures of his grandfather, once banned, adorning shop windows again.

Selassie's friends in Key West, many of them well connected and wealthy, hope to revive Haile Selassie's story by filming a documentary that follows Ermias retracing his grandfather's steps in Ethiopia.

On Friday, an interview by Shirrel Rhoades, a media consultant, was taped at the community college.

On Saturday, a party was thrown in Ermias Selassie's honor at the opulent home of his friend, the Dutch architect and philanthropist Jacob Gelt Dekker, who is interested in African issues, and John Padget, Monroe County's superintendent of schools.

Though the Crown Council is not a government-in-exile, Selassie said he would welcome the restoration of an Ethiopian monarchy if the people so chose -- not necessarily to rule, he said, but in an advisory capacity, to promote democracy and rights.

''It's absolutely not a divine right to rule, it's an embedded sense of responsibility to serve,'' he said. "You can't run away from things, the sense of duty, of patriotism. The country's in your blood.''

President of the Crown Council Official Visit Celebrating the 600th Anniversary of the Portuguese House of Braganza





Local press/articles on HIH Prince Ermias' visit to Portugal. Click images to enlarge.


THE GRANDSON of Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974 when he was deposed, was in Portugal recently for a week’s visit.



The official Portuguese delegation receiving the Ethiopian delegation at Sintra Palace


HIH Prince Ermias visits the Sousa Pedro Industrial Park in Sintra, where he was given a reception and tour provided by Carlos Sousa Pedro and Victor Escudero de Campos, executives of the industrial corporation, who aim to invest in Ethiopia.


His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, was here to reestablish Luso-Ethiopian ties.


During his visit he took in sites which his grandfather, Emperor Haile Selassie I, had visited on his historic visit to Portugal in August 1959. He also participated in the celebrations at Ourém Castle, near Fatima, marking the opening of the 600th anniversary of the Royal House of Braganza.


Prince Ermias, who today lives in the United States, is the son of the youngest son of Emperor Haile Selassie, who died in 1975 at the age of 83. He is the President of the Selassie Foundation, created in memory of his grandfather, which provides aid to impoverished Ethiopians.


His Imperial Highness spent his first day here in Santarém. After being welcomed by the Civil Governor on behalf of the Portuguese Government, he was presented with a medal, the equivalent of the “keys to the city.”


Later he visited the Church of Our Lady of Grace, where he was received by the Mayor who showed him the tomb of Santarém’s most famous citizen, Pedro Álvares Cabral, the explorer who discovered Brazil in 1500.



HRH Dom Duarte de Braganca palace at Sintra, world-renowned Brazilian singer Robert Leal, and HIH Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie

A tour which included the Cabaças Medieval watchtower, the S. Joâo de Alporão Church, Marvilla Church and an archaeological exhibit, was followed by a visit to the Shrine of the Most Holy Miracle of Santarém where Mass was celebrated for the repose of the Soul of Emperor Haile Selassie, who had been killed by Communist revolutionaries on that same day in 1975.


The following day, the Prince was in Sintra at the Sousa Pedro Industrial Park.


In the afternoon, Prince Ermias was received at Sintra Royal Palace by the Duke of Braganza D. Duarte [The Official Website of His Royal Highness Dom Duarte Pio de Bragança], and they went to Cabo de Roca – “where Europe ends and the ocean begins.” The Royal visitor then went on to Lisbon where he, together with D. Filipe Folque de Mendonça, Count of Rio Grande and descendant of King John IV, the first king of the Braganza Royal House, paid homage to the Kings and Queens of the Braganza dynasty at the Saint Vincent Monastery’s Royal Pantheon.


During a visit to Lisbon Cathedral, Prince Ermias prayed in the crypt and received the blessing from the Franciscans.


The second day ended with a gala banquet at Valbom Palace, hosted by the Duke of Braganza and attended by many members of Portugal’s aristocratic families.


During the event the Prince was made Honorary Patron of the new Prester John Luso-Ethiopian Friendship Association - the Portuguese counterpart of the Haile Selassie Foundation - which will help raise much-needed funds for Ethiopia, which is facing its worst famine of the past 30 years.


Prince Ermias and his cousin Lij Dawit Yohannes at the Templar Castle in Tomar


HIM Haile Selassie on his State Visit to Portugal in 1959, the 44th anniversary of which HIH Prince Ermias commemorated during his visit.

The following day, to Royal visitor and his delegation of five spent time at Ourém Castle, the birthplace of the Royal House of Braganza, for the start of its 600th anniversary jubilee year.


He was received at City Hail by Deputy Mayor Victor Frazão, the President of the Royal Association of Leiria-Fátima, and Government Minister Teresa Costa Macedo was also present.


The celebrations were initiated with the unveiling of a bronze bust honouring the firstborn of the Royal House of Braganza, D. Afonso, IV Count of Ourém. This was a gift of the American friends of Ethiopia and was accompanied by a special dedication by the Prince to the Duke of Braganza and the Royal Family on this jubilee occasion.


The Mass, celebrated by D. Avilio Ribas, Bishop of São Tomé e Principe, was attended by more than 100 people. During it, Prince Ermias was invested as a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Brotherhood of the Most Holy Sacrament and received from the Bishop the Grand Cross of Saint Thomas the Apostle, Sao Tome’s highest decoration.


Prince Ermias presents the Bishop of Fatima with a gold Ethiopian cross


HRH Dom Duarte and HIH Prince Ermias shaking hands after the formation of the Luso-Ethiopian Friendship Association


HIH Prince Ermias thanking Roberto Leal for his service to humanity

A guided tour of the castle included an exhibit commemorating the visit of Emperor Haile Selassie to Portugal in 1959. The day ended with a Royal Banquet at the Oureana Foundation’s medieval restaurant.


During the final days of his visit, the Prince visited Fátima, where he attended mass and at the Capelinah made an act consecrating Ethiopia and the Imperial Crown, descended from King Solomon, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.


At the Pope Paul VI Pastoral Center, Prince Ermias was received by Bishop Serafim Silva of the Leira-Fátima Diocese, whom he decorated with the Order of the Holy Trinity and presented to Our Lady of Fátima the Collar of the Seal of Solomon, Ethiopia’s highest Order.


The last days of the Prince’s visit to Portugal were spent at the Vagalha Monastery, Alcobaca Monastery, and Nazaré’s famous Royal Shrine of Our Lady of Nazareth.


At each of those sites where he was received officially by the Mayors, the Prince was surprised and delighted to find people who had toured with his grandfather at the same sites, 44 years previously.

September 13, 2003

San Pedro hosts Prince Ermias Sahle Haile Selassie

On Saturday, September 13th, San Pedro hosted a most important guest when His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle Haile Selassie paid a visit to Ambergris Caye. The Prince is the grandson of the late Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, the spiritual leader of the Rastafarian, who was murdered in 1974 by communist rebels. Prince Ermias received a royal welcome from an island delegation comprised of Area Representative Manuel Heredia Jr., San Pedro Mayoress Elsa Paz and Town Councilors, The San Pedro Sun, as well as the newly crowned Miss San Pedro, Tatiana Rivero.

After a brief tour of town, the SP delegates "rolled out the red carpet" for the Ethiopian prince, stopping first at the renowned Ramon's Village Resort for cocktails at the Purple Parrot Bar. Following friendly conversation, the group traveled to the south end of the island, where they enjoyed a delicious lunch at picturesque Victoria House Resort. 


Prince Ermias Sahle Haile Selassie meets with Governor General, Sir Colville Young


Prince Ermias Sahle Haile Selassie (holding flowers) with San Pedro delegation

During a conversation, Prince Ermias made special mention of how impressed he was with Governor General, Sir Colville Young, who remembered their first meeting. Ever the storyteller, the Governor General recalled a story told to him by the young prince some years ago. The tale involved a man of considerable wealth and status who was invited to a dinner with the "Heads of State" from several countries. Upon his arrival, the man, dressed in a fine business suit, was scolded for wearing common clothing to such a formal affair. He was asked to leave and to please return properly attired. After some time, the man returned to the party dressed in clothing "fit for a king." Later that evening, as each course of the dinner was served, the same man, instead of eating, was observed stuffing pieces of food into every one of his pockets. Outraged, the same person who had scolded the man earlier questioned why he would embarrass his host with such odd behavior. The man turned to him and calmly replied, that it was quite obvious that it was not he who was invited to eat, but his suit.

Accompanying Prince Ermias to San Pedro was Ms. Rosalie Staines, the producer and host of "Oapn Paki," a popular radio talk show in Belize. Ms. Staines arranged Prince Ermias' visit through her acquaintance with Dr. Richard Stevens, a former professor of African History at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. who is now the Prince's personal advisor.

Before departing the island, Prince Ermias and his hosts were treated to a boat tour of North Ambergris Caye and a snorkel trip to Hol Chan Marine Reserve, courtesy of Ramon's Village Dive Shop. The Prince was clearly impressed by the day's activities, as he expressed a desire "to spend a lot more time in ëLa Isla Bonita' when I return to Belize." In addition, he stated how pleased he was to see a picture of his grandfather, Haile Selassie, displayed on the front of a San Pedro business.

Born in 1960, His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie left Ethiopia to further his education in the United Kingdom and the United States. At the time of his grandfather's murder, King Hussein of Jordan assumed financial responsibility for the teen prince's education. Although he has been exiled from Ethiopia for nearly 30 years, Prince Ermias travels at the invitation of foreign governments to attend speaking engagements. He promotes spirituality and international Caribbean-African relations through these activities.

Now, an international marketing consultant, Prince Ermias is also an owner of WORTH, Bahamas, a company which designs and produces decorative medals used to honor international dignitaries. After being informed of this, Lion Eileen Jamison, on behalf of the San Pedro Lion's Club, presented the Prince with a SP Lions Club award-winning fellowship pin.

Prince Ermias is also a Director for the Haile Selassie Foundation for Ethiopian Children, which supports his grandfather's beliefs in technological education and self-sustainability. This charitable organization recently sponsored 22 technical scholarships for Ethiopian men and women from a variety of ethnic backgrounds to study in Pennsylvania, USA.

Prince Ermias' trip to Belize was made possible through the kind support of the City of Belize, the Belize Tourism Board, the Princess Hotel and Casino, Mayan Island Air, Belize Offshore Center, Alliance Bank, A&R Center, Capital Life, the San Pedro Town Council, the International Free Zone, Novelo's Bus Service, and International Promotion of Trade and Investment.

Press Release from Belize Government