How a California Woman Fell in Love With a Vatican Swiss Guard

PHOTO: Jonathan Binaghi and Miranda Emde at the Vatican.PlayCourtesy Miranda Emde
WATCH How A California Woman Fell in Love With a Swiss Guard

This isn’t a fairy tale. It’s the true story of a woman from Huntington Beach, California, who fell in love after asking a question of a Swiss Guard while on vacation at the Vatican.

Miranda Emde, 31, had written down 16 requirements for her future husband in April 2013 -- among them, that he be a “chivalrous knight” who was “noble, dignified and humble,” and that he be “comfortable in his own skin.”

“I had narrowed it down from about 50, and I knew I would never compromise on my list,” Emde told ABC News.

PHOTO: Miranda Emde and Pope Francis at a private mass. Courtesy Miranda Emde
Miranda Emde and Pope Francis at a private mass.

Six months later, in October 2013, Emde was traveling around Italy with her mom, Martha. They were set to leave Rome the next morning and Emde wanted to figure out a way to come back and stay for good.

“My mom forced me to go up to this Swiss Guard at the St. Anne’s Gate [at the Vatican] and ask him his advice on living here,” Emde said. “We had a spark right away and there was something different about his demeanor I’ve never seen before.”

Emde, a marketing manager for Wells Fargo, and the Vatican guard, Jonathan Binaghi, 31, exchanged e-mail addresses and went their separate ways. The e-mails turned into phone calls and Emde made her way back to Rome in April 2014.

The spark from the first time they met turned into a flame.

“Within three days on my second trip there, I knew I was going to marry him,” said Emde.

PHOTO: Jonathan Binaghi and Miranda Emde at Christmas Eve mass at St. Peters Basilica. Courtesy Miranda Emde
Jonathan Binaghi and Miranda Emde at Christmas Eve mass at St. Peter's Basilica.

That trip included a surprise by Binaghi: a private mass and a meeting with Pope Francis, ABC News station KABC reported.

"It was one of the best moments of my life, just being there at the mass with him and 20 other people," Emde told KABC.

Binaghi proposed on May 16, but not before asking Emde’s father for permission.

“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,’” Emde told ABC News.

The couple plans to get married in Rome in October. Pope Francis will bless their marriage in a private mass two days after the wedding, Emde said.

PHOTO: Jonathan Binaghi and Miranda Emde visiting each other in Rome. Courtesy Miranda Emde
Jonathan Binaghi and Miranda Emde visiting each other in Rome.

Binaghi passes all 16 requirements on Emde’s list, “and then some,” according to Emde.

“It’s still surreal that this is my life,” said the bride-to-be. “I hope my story gives women inspiration [so] they can stick to their list and keep their standards.”

Binaghi -- who is currently in Switzerland, Emde said -- did not immediately respond to requests for comment via social media.

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