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Nigerian prince managed to keep royal status a secret from then-girlfriend for a decade

09 Nov 2020 / 17:35 H.

Sixteen years ago, Prince Adekunle “Kunle” Adebayo Omilana from the Arubabuwo ruling house in Nigeria was in New York on business when he laid eyes on his future wife.

Keisha Omilana was standing outside the W Hotel while trying to find her way to a model casting when Prince Kunle saw her.

True to romcoms, he abandoned his meeting and went to ask for her number. She had no idea that he was a prince.

A couple of weeks later, he rented his favourite Brazilian restaurant (which has since ceased operations) for their first date.

"[The restaurant] told me it was going to cost a lot of money, but I said I don't care," Kunle said in an interview with Insider.

"I said: 'Just get me nice rose petals on the floor, get everything set in a romantic way. It's going to be like a date, but I want it to feel like a proposal.’”

Keisha, who was taken aback by the gesture, started accidentally knocking things off the table during the date. Kunle had no plans to reveal his royal status and said he knew she was his dream girl.

"The way she carried herself, the kindness, I was blown away," Kunle said. "It's something where you think, this is going to be my wife."

Keisha will only discover his royal status two years later when she meets his mother, who called her “my princess” when they met. Keisha didn’t think too much about it.

"And when you hear, 'princess,' well, all moms call their daughters princess," Keisha told Insider.

"So that's what I thought she was saying. But then we sat down and she told me the story of who her son was, what his name means, where he comes from, and I was just like 'oh my goodness.'"

Photo taken by David White
Photo taken by David White

The couple were engaged from that moment on and tied the knot on January 28, 2006 at The Water Club in NYC.

"We were planning to go big and have a traditional wedding in Nigeria, but at that time there was a big commotion where there was political turmoil." Kunle told Insider. "So we have been postponing it."

The royal couple are hoping to hold the ceremony at one of their properties in Sao Tome, a small island close to Nigeria.

"It will be the renewal of vows, because that's very important to us. That's actually what it is in our culture — a royal wedding is actually forever, so every year you celebrate and renew your vows. It will be perfect to do it in Africa, but not in Nigeria, the situation there is not changing," he said, referencing the recent violence against those protesting the country's Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

While the royals no longer have official ruling powers in Nigeria, Kunle believes the public would be better served if they did.

"We don't get involved in politics, but we always stand for the people," Kunle said. "I just want them to leave the people alone."

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