Her Imperial Highness Princess Sophia Desta

Her Imperial Highness Princess Sophia Desta

Her Imperial Highness Princess Sophia Desta
January 25, 1934 – November 11, 2021

Emebet-Hoy Hannah Mariam Meherete Selassie Dereje has released the following statement on the passing of her mother, Her Highness Princess Sophia Desta, who will be deeply missed. Our condolences go to Hannah and to the rest of Princess Sophia’s family.

Princess Sophia (then titled Emebet-Hoy) was born in Jimma, Ethiopia on January 25, 1934 to Ethiopia’s great war hero Ras Desta Damtew, and Her Imperial Highness Princess Tenagnework Haile Selassie. Princess Sophia was thus a granddaughter of Emperor Haile Selassie I and Empress Menen Asfaw. When Ethiopia was occupied by the forces of Fascist Italy in 1935-1941 her father Ras Desta Damtew remained behind to lead Ethiopian forces on the southern front. He was captured and summarily executed by the fascists in February 1937. Her mother Princess Tenagnework was forced to go into exile with her children and the rest of the Imperial family to avoid capture by the fascist forces. The family first went to Jerusalem where the young Emebet-Hoy Sophia and her cousin Princess Ejegaheu Asfawossen spent their childhood. Princess Sophia later attended school in Alexandria, Egypt and afterwards joined her sisters to continue her education at Clarendon School in the United Kingdom.

Emebet-Hoy Sophia pursued her higher education at Froebel Institute at the University of Roehampton where she graduated with a BA in Education majoring in teaching. She was married in January 1959 in Addis Abeba to Captain Dereje Haile Mariam, son of war hero Haile Mariam Mamo, and was elevated by her grandfather Emperor Haile Selassie to the rank of Princess. She was widowed when Captain Dereje was killed fighting to put down the attempted Imperial Guard coup d’état of December 1960.

Princess Sophia Desta established a private institution, the Entoto International School which she ran personally. The school offered scholarships for students who came from underprivileged backgrounds thus giving them opportunities to achieve higher quality education. She was also involved in the many philanthropic efforts of the Imperial family including establishing Cheshire Ethiopia and working with the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) which provided support and training for young Ethiopian women and helped to enhance their livelihood. Princess Sophia will be best remembered for selflessness, generosity, her tireless charity work and avid interest in the education and welfare of not just Ethiopian children but all children and humanity alike.

Like her siblings and other family members Princess Sophia Desta enjoyed a very close relationship with her grandfather, His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie and was a frequent visitor at the Jubilee Palace. She accompanied His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I on several foreign state visits, most notably visits to Yugoslavia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Australia, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Princess Sophia Desta was among the members of the Imperial family that were imprisoned by the Marx-ist Derg regime upon the overthrow of the Ethiopian Monarchy in September 1974. She endured impris-onment under harsh conditions for 14 years, finally being freed in 1988. She first settled in Geneva, Switzerland and later in London, where she died on November 11, 2021. She is survived by her sister Imperial Highness Princess Seble Desta, her daughter Emebet Hoy Hannah Mariam Meherete Selassie Dereje, her grandson Lij Desta Asfaw, many nephews and nieces and family members.

She will be dearly missed by her family and friends by whom she has long been held in great affection.

Emebet Hannah Mariam would like to express her deep felt thanks and gratitude to all those near and far who have expressed their sadness at the passing of her mother.

May God rest the soul of Princess Sophia among the blessed, and may her memory be eternal.

On the Passing of H.I.H. The Duke of Harrar

HIH The Duke of Harrar

HIH The Duke of Harrar

A Statement from the Crown Council of Ethiopia

It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of His Imperial Highness the Duke of Harrar, Prince Wossen Seged Makonnen Haile Selassie (August 21, 1947 – November 10, 2021) after a long illness. His Imperial Highness was 74.

Prince Wossen Seged, (commonly referred to as “Paul”) was born in Addis Ababa, on the 21st of August, 1947 to Their Imperial Highnesses Prince Makonnen Haile Selassie and Princess Sara Gizaw, the Duke and Duchess of Harrar. He was thus a grandson of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I and Empress Menen Asfaw of Ethiopia. After the death of his father Prince Makonnen in May 1957, Prince Wossen Seged succeeded as Duke of Harrar just a few months before his 10th birthday. Prince Wossen Seged attended Millfield School and Gordonstoun School in the United Kingdom as well as the Leysin American School in Vaud, Switzerland. He was among the members of the Imperial family to be imprisoned by the Derg regime following the overthrow of the monarchy in 1974 under harsh conditions and was released in 1989. Many of us in exile in the diaspora worked to free him and the other prisoners in our family for years without success.

Prince Wossen Seged had an independent mind and a keen sense of observation. Like so many of his generation, he was politically a progressive. He always had a place in his heart for the less fortunate among us, which made him popular with the Ethiopian people. He paid the price of imprisonment solely because of the accident of his birth. After his release, he carried the pain of those years with quiet dignity. He had been given responsibility by His Majesty at a young age. This and his suffering under the Derg must have been a great burden to him. But his personality and charisma never diminished. His humility and personal charm were infectious to all who knew him. He lived an exceptional life.

We remember his wife Connie Quave for the years of life they shared together. Our prayers in these difficult days ahead are with her and his brothers, Prince Mikael Makonnen, Prince Tafari Makonnen, and Prince Beede Mariam Makonnen. May God comfort them and the entire Imperial family, and may He rest the soul of Prince Wossen Seged in paradise.

On the Passing of Lij Sebastianos Beyene

Lij Sebastyanos Beyene

Lij Sebastyanos Beyene

A Statement from the Crown Council of Ethiopia

We are saddened to report a great loss to the Ethiopian royal family and to all friends of Ethiopia, the death of Lij Sebastianos Beyene (September 18, 1960 – July 25, 2021). Sebastian was the son of Lij Samson Beyene and Koremtit Andargachew. He was a great-grandson of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I through the emperor’s first-born daughter, Princess Romanework. Sebastian went to Entoto International and Sandford English School for elementary and junior high school. He was fortunate to be abroad during the revolution that overthrew the Ethiopian monarchy in 1974, and he remained in exile in England for some time. He attended Kings School, Bruton, in Somerset, and took his A-levels in history and geography at Abigdon School, Oxford. He pursued a bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie, President of the Ethiopian Crown Council, was Sebastian’s roommate at Santa Barbara, and his close life-long friend. Recalling that friendship, Prince Ermias said, “Sebastian was such an important part of my life. We shared so much together, so many memories. So many parts of my life remained alive in him. So much of my life’s collective memory was held in his hands. We cannot fill the vacuum left by his death, but something good can come out of it. We can use his memory to remind us of all that we have lost, and to find strength for the healing that is still to come.”

We ask everyone to join us in remembering a departed friend, to join us in praying for him, and to join us in remembering all of the family we have lost in recent years.

Prince Ermias on “PRAISE”

PRAISE is a Christian-oriented talk program which is the flagship program of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), airing every weeknight in primetime. TBN president Matt Crouch and his wife Laurie serve as the primary hosts of the show. On this segment, Matt & Laurie Crouch welcome Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie for an extended interview in Rome. Click the following link to see the interview: https://m.facebook.com/TBN/videos/ethiopias-prince-ermias-on-praise/922267055053284/

Taking Hope in Our New Year and New Beginnings

From the President of The Crown Council of Ethiopia, His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, as Ethiopia Marks a New Government and a New Year

His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, in sending heartfelt greetings for the New Year of 2014 which Ethiopians recently celebrated, has asked for reflection on the creation today of the nation’s new Government.

He noted: “Ethiopians did their duty on June 21, 2021 and voted in national elections, the first struc-tural move toward democracy since the coup almost five decades ago against the Emperor moved us from the path of progress. Today, even as the nation suffers from drought and the tragedies of communal fighting, made worse by grave international interference, we have brought forth a new Government which more closely mirrors the pub-lic will.”

“As with all governments in all democratic societies, there are challenges and there are those who did not see the results they wanted. But we have seen our nation, which has so many more regional and other unique facets than most societies, move along the path of accepting a process whereby we can see the will of the majority reflected and we can see a path for future peaceful changes through the ballot box.”

He continued: “As I noted when the Crown Council urged Ethiopians to participate in the elections, we have en-dured so much since the coup which occurred 47 years ago, and we cannot afford to allow our beloved Ethiopian family to fall into even worse suffering and ignominy. I asked us all to come back together because there was no other way for us to rebuild the greatness of purpose which has guided us for more than three millennia.”

“Today, as our New Year of 2014 shows its early light, we have indeed moved forward, despite what, to the out-side world, must seem like overwhelming odds. We must take heart in this. We can now see that our future is com-ing back into our hands. We must welcome the reality that we have a newly-elected Government sworn into office, and give the Prime Minister and Government the support and space to do what they have been elected to do.”

Prince Ermias concluded: “Let me repeat what I said earlier; that the Crown Council offers all of its services to help resolve the disputes over the future management of our great Nile River which Ethiopians truly see as a re-source for humanity over which they have been given great responsibility. This is, in fact, an issue which we can see as the cornerstone of a Grand Bargain, worthy of an Emperor Haile Selassie or an Anwar as-Sadat, to bring prosperity to our entire region.”

“Again, my fellow Ethiopians: Congratulations on creating our new Government. We can take great hope and pride in this first step. We are Ethiopian and proud of our great history. God Bless You in this New Year. God Bless Ethiopia.”

Juneteenth and the Global Freedom Struggle

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


The Ethiopian Crown Council applauds the passing of legislation this week to recognize Juneteenth as a Federal holiday in the United States of America, and we join the African- American diaspora in celebrating this special occasion. Juneteenth commemorates the day — June 19, 1865 — when a Union Army order first enforced the Emancipation Proclamation in the state of Texas. It has since grown into a symbol of freedom from slavery for the entire Black diaspora in the United States of America.

The story of Juneteenth is a story with close parallels to Ethiopian history. Ethiopia’s emperors struggled to eradicate slavery in the nineteenth century. The Emperor Tewodros II’s first attempts to end the practice in the 1850s predate those of the United States. Enforcement of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was slow, uneven, and often depended on force of arms. Likewise, under the Emperor Menelik II and the Emperor Haile Selassie I, Ethiopia’s central government pushed for the abolition of slavery but encountered strong opposition from powerful regional landowners. Not until 1942 did Ethiopia enshrine abolition of slavery into law in its own form of Juneteenth.

In the following decades, Ethiopia became a world leader in the cause of freedom. Ethiopia’s struggle against fascism and triumph over its invaders had inspired Africans at home and in the diaspora. As Black Americans fought the civil rights struggle in the United States, African freedom fighters turned to Ethiopia for inspiration and support in the struggle to end colonialism. We were instrumental in the creation of the Organisation of African Unity — the symbol of Africa’s new-found freedom — and we are still the home of its successor, the African Union, today.

But this journey remains unfinished. Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council, noted: “Juneteenth is the celebration of a pivotal event in human history. But a turning point is never the end of the story. Over the past year, events throughout the world have taught us that the struggle for full freedom is not yet over. As Ethiopians go to the polls this month, we pray that Ethiopia’s leaders will act with the wisdom and courage necessary to give our people ever greater freedom.”

Prince Ermias Urges a Commitment to Unity

Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie in Traditional Attire

A Statement by His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, as the Nation Prepares for Elections and the Challenges of the International and Domestic Communities

His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, said he wished to profoundly thank the thousands of wellwishers who had sent him heartfelt greetings for his 61st birthday on June 14, 2021 / 11 ሰኔ 2013. But he asked that he be permitted to re-direct that outpouring of goodwill to the people of Ethiopia as they prepare to do their duty on June 21, 2021 to vote in national elections, even as the nation suffered from drought, the tragedy of communal fighting, and grave international pressures.

“We have endured so much in Ethiopia since the coup which occurred 47 years ago, and we cannot afford to allow our beloved Ethiopian family to fall into even worse suffering and ignominy at this time,” the Prince said. “We must, once and for all, come back together because there is no other way for us to rebuild the greatness of purpose which has guided us for more than three millennia.”

“Please rest assured that the Crown Council has never, and will never, cease to work to ease the sufferings of Ethiopians, and to ensure that the international community recognises the importance and historical dignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians. I have been working even more intensely of late at the highest levels around the world to attempt to have Ethiopia’s case heard, meeting in the past month with His Holiness Pope Francis I in the Vatican, and with planned meetings with Orthodox Christian leaders in the near future.”

“We have offered all our services to help resolve the disputes over the future management of our great Nile River which Ethiopians truly see as a resource for humanity over which they have been given great responsibility. This is, in fact, an issue which can see as the cornerstone of a Grand Bargain, worthy of an Emperor Haile Selassie or an Anwar as-Sadat, to bring prosperity to our entire region.”

Prince Ermias added: “I have been blessed with good health at this time of my life so that I can lend all my energies to helping to heal the great wounds inflicted on our beloved Ethiopian family this past half-century, and to ensure that our decades of isolation may never be seen by foreign powers or domestic dissidents as a sign that we are today weakened and in dis-unity. We are, in fact, in a time of great hope that Ethiopia’s greatness is returning: a greatness underpinned by fairness, equality, and pride in the unique nature of all Ethiopians.”

“My fellow Ethiopians: we have much to do; we have a right to feel great hope. We are Ethiopian and proud of our great history. God Bless You. God Bless Ethiopia.”

HIH Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie Responds to the Ethiopian Civil War

David Gornoski meets with the President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, HIH Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie. Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie starts the discussion by commenting on the civil unrest that is currently brewing in Ethiopia and what lies at the heart of the conflict. He also comments on Ethiopia’s vanishing Christian heritage; the end of the Solomonic dynasty; the Prince’s last memories of Emperor Haile Selassie; challenges faced by modern-day Africa; the resurgence of Identity Politics in America; Black Lives Matter and African folk religion; and more.

Victory Day Statement 2013/2021

Soliders in the Battle of Adwa

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

Religious Leaders, Members of the Ethiopian Government, Ethiopian Patriots and the People of Ethiopia:

It gives me heartfelt pleasure to celebrate Ethiopia’s 80th Victory Day Anniversary. Ethiopia’s victory over invading fascist Italian forces eighty years ago could not have been possible without the sacrifices paid by our gallant Patriots and the diplomatic struggle waged by my grandfather, Emperor Haile Selassie I, to liberate Ethiopia on the international stage. We celebrate this day and pay tribute to our ancestors for the sacrifices they made to assure the territorial integrity, independence, and unity of our people.

Every year, The Crown Council of Ethiopia celebrates Victory Day and commemorates our Patriots. What makes this year’s celebration different for the Crown Council is our ability to celebrate Victory Day with our beloved people in Ethiopia and in other parts of the world through the use of modern technology.

There are many lessons we can learn from our history. We should always remember and be cognizant of the fact that our mothers and fathers galvanized under one national flag and sacrificed their sacred lives to ensure that our people would live in peace, love, freedom, dignity, and honour.Our ancestors relished in victory because they did not divide along ethnic or religious lines. If we are to properly celebrate Victory Day, and follow in the footsteps of our mothers and fathers, then we must commit to living in harmony, respecting and loving one another.

I thank the organizers on behalf of our Crown Council for their wisdom and foresight in using this very important holiday to bring us together to celebrate in unity.

Happy 80th Victory Day!

May God bless and protect Ethiopia and her people!

The Passing of a Great Friend of Ethiopia, HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh

Emperor Haile Selassie with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip

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

The Ethiopian People lost a great friend with the passing on April 9, 2021, of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. We deeply mourn his departure and honour his great achievements while extending deepest sympathies to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations, for the loss of her beloved husband.

We share with the entire Royal Family and the Commonwealth the grief at the loss of the Queen Elizabeth’s consort, and we mourn the passing of a great friend of Ethiopia in Prince Philip. Among other things, he fought to protect the wildlife of our country.

But we remember him, as well, as a great figure who saw heroic service in World War II, and subsequently, with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, built a great friendship with Ethiopia and with Emperor Haile Selassie I. We may think of Prince Philip particularly in light of the fact that he bridged the period of the great World War II alliance of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth with Ethiopia, bringing about the first Allied Victory of that war. The Victory of the Battle of Gondar in November 1941 saw Axis forces driven for the first time from foreign lands they had occupied illegally.

I was privileged to have met on occasion with HRH Prince Philip, and valued his counsel.

God Bless the memory of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and may we always think of him as a great friend of Ethiopia. God Bless, at this particular time, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and her family, and the People of the great Commonwealth who Prince Philip served. And God Bless Ethiopia