A small Northern Irish village was the unlikely location for an royal wedding after a Nigerian prince married the love of his life in Loughall.
Prince Mustapha Oniru of Lago married Kirsty Crooks, who in the process became a princess, in the County Armagh teacher’s home village, which has a population of 285.
They exchanged their nuptials at Loughall Presbyterian Church on Thursday in front of their guests, which included the king and queen of Lagos.
King Idowu Abiodun Oniru and Queen Olori Arike Oniru, as is traditional, wore Nigerian ceremonial garments for the occasion, while their son opted for a simpler three-piece suit.
The couple met after Crooks worked at the British International School in Lagos, having been hired to teach languages at the establishment two years ago. Her soon to be husband worked there as an administrator and she admitted that she didn’t know about her beau’s lofty status.
Crooks told the BBC, “To be honest, when I first met him I had no idea that he was actually the prince. He’s very, very humble and he doesn’t even like to be called it, so when we’re here you wouldn’t even realise, but when you went to Lagos you would certainly know who he was.”
The two families were introduced at Crooks’ grandmother’s house earlier this week, which Crooks confirmed was “customary in Nigerian tradition,” while the Nigerian royal family brought a hoard of other kings and chiefs to the ceremony over from Africa.
The bride’s mother remarked, “She will always be a princess, she didn’t need to marry a king’s son,” before adding, “We wanted them to know that we appreciated and respected their culture.”
Meanwhile, the editor for the local paper, Portadown Times, only learnt of the service just hours before it occurred. Alistair Bushe remarked, “We got a call about mid-morning yesterday from the mother of the bride.”
He continued, “To be honest, when we first heard we were a bit dubious about the authenticity of this but it was very much true. The king of Lagos was indeed there. It was one of his three sons, Mustapha, who was marrying Kirsty. Quite an extraordinary story.”
Bushe then concluded, “Our deadline was basically around lunchtime, so we held the paper back for an hour or two, just to get the pictures and the story in.”
[Image via Stephen Coburn/Shutterstock]