Merid Beyene; Grandson of Haile Selassie
Merid Beyene, 60, refugee grandson of the late Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. The prince was the son of Princess Romanworq, Haile Selassie’s eldest daughter, and Dedjazmatch Beyene Merid, governor-general of Bale province in southern Ethiopia. Haile Selassie became emperor in 1930. He was overthrown in 1974 in a coup that brought Lt. Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam to power at the head of a Soviet-backed left-wing regime. Some of Haile Selassie’s family were executed by firing squad, others were imprisoned and the emperor died in captivity in 1975. Merid Beyene’s father was killed in 1935 fighting the Italians when they invaded Ethiopia under orders of Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. When Italy entered World War II on the side of the Axis powers, the family was taken to Turin in northwest Italy, where Princess Romanworq and one of her sons died of tuberculosis. The two remaining boys were then looked after by the Roman Catholic Church on orders of Pope Pius XII. Merid Beyene escaped the 1974 coup because he was out of the country at the time undergoing medical treatment in England. On Dec. 31 in a London hospital, according to the Times of London, which did not report a cause of death.