Edna Tafari Makonnen and Jamal Akil Robinson initially struggled to find equal social footing when they got together for coffee in February 2015. That she is royalty was not the problem.
An Ethiopian princess, Ms. Makonnen is a great-granddaughter of Haile Selassie, Ethiopia’s last emperor, whose lineage is said to trace back to the biblical King Solomon and Queen of Sheba. But when she met Mr. Robinson at Bon Bon’s Coffee in Fort Wayne, Ind., Ms. Makonnen wasn’t feeling very regal.
The two, who had connected earlier that month after he saw a photo of her on Instagram and sent her a message on the app, are both graduates of Northrop High School in Fort Wayne. A senior when Ms. Makonnen was a freshman, Mr. Robinson, now 34, had been a star soccer player. “Jamal was this popular, outgoing guy who caught everyone’s eye,” she said. Though his teenage swagger was long gone when they sat down for coffee, Ms. Makonnen, now 31, was still mindful of her 14-year-old self.