Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 10 July 2014

The princess bride... Kirsty marries into African royalty

Armagh native Kirsty and  husband Prince Mustapha Oniru of Lagos
Armagh native Kirsty and husband Prince Mustapha Oniru of Lagos

Move over Kate – Northern Ireland has got itself a new fairytale princess in the form of Co Armagh woman Kirsty Crooks.

The 27-year-old teacher has just married Nigeria's Prince Mustapha Oniru of Lagos in a traditional Irish wedding in the Orchard County.

The African prince's family, including his father King Idowu Abiodun Oniru and Queen Olori Arike Oniru, attended the couple's wedding service at Loughgall Presbyterian Church on Thursday.

"We had an amazing day," Kirsty told the Belfast Telegraph last night.

The couple's service was conducted by Rev Philip McKelvey followed by a lavish reception for 200 guests at Castle Leslie Estate in Glaslough, Co Monaghan.

The flame-haired bride looked stunning in a strapless wedding gown with tiara and long veil.

Her new husband wore a standard wedding suit on their special day, while King Idowu and Queen Olori wore traditional Nigerian dress for what the bride's mother described as a "very traditional Irish wedding".

The wedding party also included 100 officials and chiefs from Lagos and other Nigerian kings.

Prince Mustapha graduates from university in October and has to fulfil royal duties in his home country.

He has had a lifetime to get used to the trappings of royalty, but so far Princess Kirsty is finding the experience unusual.

"It's totally surreal!" she said.

"When I first met him I had just arrived in Lagos, which was a culture shock in itself.

"Mustapha is a very humble fella, no airs or graces, and I didn't know who he was.

"It's the first time his family has married outside their own culture, but I have been very well received by them all and really welcomed as a member of the family."

Kirsty said her new family has also given Co Armagh the royal seal of approval.

"They are loving it," she said.

"The want to come back and take in the sights. The rain didn't put them off."

The newlyweds will honeymoon in Monaco and St Tropez.

FACTFILE

Kirsty Crooks, who teaches French and German in London, met Prince Mustapha Oniru of Lagos in 2010 while teaching in the British International School in Lagos, owned by her new royal father-in-law. The couple will soon be splitting their time between Lagos and a new home in Loughgall or Portadown.

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