A Nigerian prince rented an entire New York restaurant for his first date with his now wife
- Prince Kunle of Nigeria rented out an entire New York City restaurant and filled it with rose petals for his first date with his now-wife Princess Keisha.
- However, Keisha had no idea that Kunle was a prince — and she wouldn't find out until two years later, when she met his mother.
- Kunle told Insider they are planning a traditional Nigerian royal wedding ceremony, despite getting married in NYC 14 years ago.
- "It will be the renewal of vows, because that's very important to us," Kunle said. "That's actually what it is in our culture — a royal wedding is actually forever."
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Prince Adekunle "Kunle" Adebayo Omilana from the Arugbabuwo ruling house in Nigeria wasn't looking a relationship when he met his future wife 16 years ago.
After all, he was in New York City on business. But when Prince Kunle saw Keisha Omilana, who was standing outside the W Hotel and trying to find her way to a model casting, he felt compelled to abandon his meeting to go outside and ask for her number.
Kunle rented out his favourite Brazilian restaurant (which has since ceased operating) for their first date a couple of weeks later. It's the kind of grand romantic gesture that you would expect from a prince — only, Keisha had no idea who he was at the time.
"[The restaurant] told me it was going to cost a lot of money, but I said I don't care," Kunle told 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 was taken aback by the gesture, and became so nervous that she started accidentally knocking things off the table, according to Kunle.
While he hadn't been looking for love — nor had he plans to reveal his royal status — he knew that 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."
Prince Kunle and Princess Keisha are now planning their royal wedding — 14 years after they got married
Princess Keisha would eventually discover that Kunle was a prince, but not until two years later when she met his mother, who called her "my princess" when they met.
"And when you hear, 'princess,' well, all moms call their daughters princess," Keisha previously 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.'"
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 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, also known as SARS.
Kunle believes the Nigerian public would be better served if the royals had power
The SARS demonstrations began in October after graphic video footage shared on social media showed members of a SARS police unit dragging two men from a hotel and beating them with clubs, Business Insider's Sophia Ankel previously reported.
SARS has been accused of extrajudicial killings and torture across the country, something which Kunle said has been "saddening" to witness from London, where he currently lives with his family.
"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."
The Nigerian military opened fire against peaceful protesters in Lagos in October, something which prompted US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to urge the Nigerian President Buhari and the military to cease unlawful brutality against the public.
While the royals no longer have official ruling powers in Nigeria, Kunle believes the public would be better served if they did.
"There must be a way to let the traditio
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nal rulers, the kings, and the princes be in control, because at the end of the day, we are still in control indirectly," he said. "They need the people to vote — guess who they're coming to? They're coming to us. They can't go directly to the people, because they know the people won't listen to them."