Peggielene Bartels, a Washington, D.C. secretary, knew she was related to African royalty, but never thought it would become her destiny.
Three and a half years ago, a cousin called saying that her uncle, the king of Otuam, Ghana, had died and the villagers had chosen Bartels as the next king.
She describes her unique experience in a new book, "King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village."
Bartels said she has a strong personality, and that it surfaced soon after she became king.
"The male elders, to be honest with you, when I went in there first, it was a battle," she said. "They really battled me so hard. Most of the men there, they're elderly, they have set up in their own ways. Even though I have been chosen their king, and they expect me to be just a figurehead, and for them to rule me, and I said, 'This woman here is on a mission, and I'm chosen, I'm not going to allow any male to really run me down. I am going to rule and rule you right, and give you the best I can.'"
But that doesn't mean she has given up her secretary position -- or her 1992 Honda Accord with more than 150,000 miles on it.
Bartels said she doesn't wear her ornate African dresses to work. "I dress normally like an ordinary African woman to go to work. But I have my beads on."
For more with Bartels on how she became king, watch the video in the player above.