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Meet the King of Rwanda who lives in a council house in Manchester

In his first interview since becoming monarch last year, the exiled King of Rwanda, Yuhi VI, reveals that he would love to return to his home country one day and loves eating chips and gravy.

King Yuhi, who is better known as Emmanuel Bushayija, has been living in a semi-detached house in Greater Manchester for 18 years now and became monarch of Rwanda in January following the death of his uncle, King Kigeli V.

Mr Bushayija and his family were exiled from the small African country in 1961 when it became a republic.

He born in Rwanda on 20th December 1960 and grew up in exile in Uganda, where he studied at Iganga Secondary School and later worked for PEPSI Cola in Kampala.

He then went on to work in the tourism industry in Kenya, before returning to Rwanda between 1994 and 2000.  Since then, Mr Bushayija has lived in Greater Manchester, where he is married with three children.

His wife, Lilian, a local mental health support worker, became Queen of Rwanda overnight following Kigeli’s death. His two sons became Princes and his daughter, a princess.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, Mr Bushayija revealed that he would love to go back to Rwanda one day and rule as King.

As Monarch, the 56-year-old has the power to bestow knighthoods, but told The Times: “I haven’t given away any knighthoods yet.”

The exiled King also passed on his best wishes to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle following the news of their engagement.

King Kigeli – Photo Credit: Rwanda Library via Wikimedia Commons CC

He said: “On behalf of the Rwandan people, I wish you the very best of luck with your engagement. I would love to receive a wedding invite, but you probably have enough guests.”

Since arriving in the UK, Mr Bushayija has worked in a number of charity shops. He is a fan of both Manchester United and Manchester City, and can’t resist pie, chips and gravy.

Mr Bushayija’s uncle, Kigeli V, became King at a time when there was a huge revolt against the monarchy which was encouraged by the Belgian military.

In 1960, Kigeli fled to Congo, which only days earlier declared its independence from Belgium. In 1961, with the King still in exile, the Belgian government took over the day to day running of Rwanda and held a referendum which decided the fate of the country’s monarchy.

With a huge turnout of 95%, 80% of voters voted to abolish the monarchy. Kigeli accused the referendum of being rigged and returned to Rwanda only to be placed under house arrest until he was deported to Tanzania in October 1961.

Members of the Rwandan Royal Household were then scattered across the world living in exile, hoping to one day return to the African nation.