(Editor’s note: This piece was first published on the website of Black Enterprise.)
As the international community was focused on the royal wedding between Britain’s Prince William and Catherine Middleton, the question arises of whether there exists black royalty today other than Disney’s Princess Tiana. Well, the following women prove that the concept transcends cartoon fantasy and has expanded beyond the shores of Africa. BlackEnterprise.com highlights regal women of color—princesses, socialites, philanthropists and businesswomen—who show the beauty of diversity in love, marriage and monarchy.
Princess Angela of Liechtenstein
Princess Angela (born Angela Gisela Brown) was a standout graduate of Parsons School of Design in New York and worked as a fashion director for Adrienne Vittadini, before marrying Prince Maximilian of Liechtenstein in January 2000. This Afro-Panamanian beauty also started her own line, A. Brown, which she headed for three years. The couple wed at the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer in New York, after reportedly meeting a few years earlier at a reception in the city. The princess wore a white dress which she designed and the same Kinsky royal-jeweled tiara that Princess Tatjana of Liechtenstein wore when she married Philipp von Lattorff in June 1999.
Baroness Cecile de Massy of Monaco
Massy is married to Christian Louis, Baron de Massy, who is Prince Rainier of Monaco’s nephew. The fashionable beauty of Caribbean descent is a prominent fixture among the who’s who of Monaco’s social scene, and is also involved in philanthropy, serving as president of Ladies Lunch Monte-Carlo, a charitable organization in Monaco.
Princess Sikhanyiso of Swaziland
The first child of King Mswati III of Swaziland, this princess is more than a pretty face, speaking out to raise awareness on issues such as AIDS and poverty that affect her country. With interests in the arts, this 23-year-old studied drama at the University of Biola in California and was featured in publications as one of the top hottest young royals.
Keisha Omilana of Nigeria
A former model, spokesperson, and actress, Omilana adds brains to beauty as a businesswoman. The Inglewood, California native started Wonderful Brand, a multifaceted business incorporating fashion, television and Web, with her husband, Kunle, a Nigerian prince. Known as the “Pantene Girl,” Omilana is cited as the first African American woman to be featured in three consecutive commercials.
Countess Mary Von Habsburg of Austria
Habsburg, a native of Sudan, is the wife of Ferdinand Leopold Joseph Count von Habsburg of Austria. The couple wed in August 1999, hosting their ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya, and have three children, all born in Nairobi. Their marriage was seen as controversial among the public and in royal circles, because of her class as a commoner and her ethnic background; but the head of the Habsburg royal family, Dr. Otto von Habsburg, reportedly declared all Habsburg marriages “equal.”
Queen Sylvia Nagginda of Buganda in Uganda
Born in the United Kingdom and raised in Uganda, this regal woman married King Kabaka Mutebi II in 1999, after a career working in various U.S. sectors including public relations, international nonprofits and healthcare and human services. A graduate of New York University and New York Institute of Technology, the queen also advocates for public service, having worked as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund, and has worked as a consultant to bring resources to Uganda’s entrepreneurs and business community.