California woman who prayed to meet ‘a chivalrous knight’ will marry Vatican Swiss Guard

swiss guard

California woman who prayed to meet ‘a chivalrous knight’ will marry Vatican Swiss Guard with the Pope’s personal blessing…

  • Miranda Emde, 31, prayed for Saint Anne to send her the perfect husband
  • Submitted 16-point wishlist, and soon met Jonathan Binaghi in Rome
  • Binaghi was then a member of the Pope’s personal Swiss Guard 
  • Two exchanged contact details and began two-year romance
  • Pope Francis will personally bless them, and they are to marry this October 

A California woman who prayed to the patron saint of unmarried women for ‘a chivalrous knight’ to marry has got her wish after falling for a member of the Pope’s personal army. Miranda Emde, 31, asked for a handsome, devout Catholic suitor in a special plea to Saint Anne – and had her wish answered at the gates of the Vatican by a member of the Pope’s Swiss Guard. Emde, from Huntington Beach, California, spotted Jonathan Binaghi guarding the border between the Vatican and the rest of Rome while she was on vacation in Italy.

Unlikely match: Miranda Emde, 31, is pictured above with her fiancé Jonathan Binaghi - a former member of the Vatican's Swiss Guard 

Her mother, Martha Emde, pushed her daughter into making the first move – and the two say they felt something special as soon as they met. At their first meeting, in October 2013, the two only exchanged email addresses – but now they are due to marry in Rome later this year, with the personal blessing of Pope Francis. Emde, who works in marketing at Wells Fargo, described the first meeting to ABC’s Good Morning America. She said: ‘My mom forced me to go up to this Swiss Guard at the St. Anne’s Gate and ask him his advice on living here. ‘We had a spark right away and there was something different about his demeanor I’ve never seen before.’ Reflecting on the match, during which Binaghi was wearing his powder blue regular duty uniform, she said she immediately thought ‘Oh, he’s handsome’.

She added: ‘It takes a handsome man to look good in pajamas.’

'Looks good in pajamas': Binaghi is pictured above in the Swiss Guard's regular duty uniform - the multicolored gala uniform is reserved for special occasions

To become a member of the Pontifical Swiss Guard – who have guarded the head of the Catholic Church since 1400s – Binaghi was required to complete military training with the Swiss army, graduate from college and swear an oath to defend the current Pope with his life.

He continued to serve as a border guard for the Vatican – which is a separate country entirely within the the city of Rome – as their romance grew stronger. She flew out to meet him again in April 2014 – and Binaghi managed to secure her a meeting with Pope Francis himself.

Together: While they were courting Binaghi took Emde to meet Pope Francis in private, who blessed them. He will hold a private mass for the couple after their marriage in October

According to Emde, the request was considered – but not without a test first. She told ABC: ‘My dad asked Jonathan what the meaning of love is and he said, “Love is completely giving yourself to someone else and asking for nothing in return”. The response was good enough for Chuck Emde, who gave his permission – and Emde herself didn’t hesitate to say ‘yes’ when Binaghi asked for her hand directly.

Pope's army: The Pontifical Swiss Guard have protected heads of the Catholic Church since the 1400s. Pictured above are a raft of new recruits joining the militia earlier this month. They still use medieval weapons like swords and halberds, though they are also trained with firearms and modern techniques

The two have now fixed a wedding date at Rome’s Santa Caterina Church, which will be conducted by a cardinal and attended by several high-ranking members of the Holy See. They then plan to live together in California, where Binaghi hopes to work for the local Catholic church.

According to the Register, the day after the marriage the two will also have a private Mass with Pope Francis, who has already encouraged them to ‘have a beautiful family with lots of children’.

According to Emde, her romance is a reminder to other women that they, too, can find their dream man without compromising. She told ABC: ‘It’s still surreal that this is my life. I hope my story gives women inspiration [so] they can stick to their list and keep their standards.’


Miranda Emde listed 16 qualities she looks for in a husband in a prayer to Saint Anne, the patron saint of unmarried women.

She revealed the point-by-point list to the Orange County Register, and said that Jonathan Binaghi fulfills them all, and more:

  • A strong Catholic man who practices his faith, loves his faith, seeks to grow and is a true man of God. Will be the spiritual leader in the family.
  • A chivalrous knight! Someone who is a true gentleman.
  • Good sense of humor.
  • Strong conviction and morals.
  • Noble, dignified and humble.
  • Great communicator! Someone who is very transparent and open.
  • Takes initiative, knows the role of a man and how to treat a lady.
  • Has a good work ethic, ambition and goals.
  • Well educated with desire to always learn and grow.
  • Someone who has a big heart. Who knows how to love and give of himself.
  • Someone who takes pride in how they dress and likes to dress up – I prefer more formal.
  • Likes to have fun!
  • No baggage – no prior marriages, kids.
  • Tall, strong, attractive.
  • Is confident, comfortable in his own skin, someone who is independent, not jealous/controlling/insecure.
  • Has strong family values. Wants a family.



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