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Grandson of Former Emperor Haile Selassie is Dead

January 9, 1991 GMT

LONDON (AP) _ Prince Merid Beyene, refugee grandson of the late Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, has died, The Times of London reported Tuesday. He was 60.

He died Dec. 31 in a London hospital, the paper said.

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.

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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 the Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

Haile Selassie appealed to the former League of Nations for help against the Italian invasion but no action was taken and he fled to live in exile in Britain until his restoration in 1941.

After the death of Merid Beyene’s father, the Italians interned the prince, two of his brothers and their mother.

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.

Released after the fall of Mussolini in 1943, the two princes were returned by the Allies to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, where they lived at their grandfather’s court and were looked after by their aunt, Princess Tenagneworq.

Merid Beyene was educated at high school in Addis Ababa, Brighton College in southern England and Columbia University in New York. He then returned home and was appointed to his late father’s position as governor-general of Bale province.

He escaped the persecution of the royal family in the 1974 coup because by chance he was out of the country at the time.

Several months before the coup he was thrown from his horse, badly injured his back and was flown to Britain for treatment at Stoke Mandeville orthopedic hospital 35 miles northwest of central London.

He remained in Britain as a political refugee, living in modest style in west London.

Slight in stature, he closely resembled his grandfather, the emperor, in looks and Ethiopians in London would occasionally stop him in the street with incredulous surprise.

The Times said he had battled against ill health for some time and entered hospital in London on Dec. 24 but it gave no cause of death. There were no details of funeral arrangements and no mention of any close surviving family members.