American television star Meghan Markle’s wedding to Prince Harry in May 2018 attracted global attention, as most royal weddings do. But she was not the first American woman or man to marry into royalty.
Americans who married royalty
Wallis Simpson married Prince Edward, England
King Edward VIII, the eldest son of King George V and Queen Mary, was next in line to be the King of England. However, he shocked his family and country when he announced his decision to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American woman. British Law covering the royal family forbade marriage to a divorcee, and were he to proceed with the wedding, he would have to give up his claim to the throne.
Prince Edward decided to abdicate the throne and went on to marry Wallis Simpson on June 3, 1937, in a simple ceremony in France. No one from the British Royalty attended the wedding. His younger brother, George VI, went on to become the King of England.
After their marriage, Prince Edward and Wallis Simpson took the title of Duke and Duchess of Windsor but mostly lived outside England as ordinary citizens.
Rita Hayworth married Prince Ali Salman Aga Khan (Nizari Ismaili community)
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Margarita Carmen Cansino took up the name Rita Hayworth and went on to become one of the most popular actresses and dancer of her time. Rita Hayworth’s first marriage was with Edward C. Judson, her second to Orson Welles before she met Prince Ali Salman Aga Khan popularly known as Aly Khan, son of Sultan Mohammad Shah, Aga Khan III and father of Aga Khan IV (he was not made part of the Aga Khan title succession).
He married Rita Hayworth, his second wife, on May 27, 1949, and had one daughter, Princess Yasmin Aga Khan. Their marriage lasted four years.
Grace Patricia Kelly married Prince Ranier III, Monaco
Grace Kelly was a popular actress in America and an Academy Award winner when she met Prince Rainier III of Monaco. In April 1955, Grace Kelly was attending the Cannes Film Festival when she was invited to meet Prince Rainier at the Palace of Monaco.
It was the beginning of a romantic relationship that attracted a lot of attention. They were married in April 1956 in Monaco, and she took up royal duties as the Princess of Monaco. They were blessed with three children; Princess Caroline, Prince Albert, and Princess Stephanie.
Lee Radziwill married Prince Stanislaw Albrecht Radziwill, Poland
Born Caroline Lee Bouvier in New York, Lee Radziwill is the younger sister of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and sister-in-law of former US President John F. Kennedy.
She married Michael Temple Canfield, an American executive in a publishing company. After their divorce in 1959, Lee married Polish Prince Stanislaw Albrecht Radziwill the same year. They had two children; Prince Anthony and Princess Christina. The couple divorced in 1974.
Lee’s third marriage was to American film director Herbert Ross in 1988.
Lisa Halaby married King Hussein bin Talal, Jordan
Born Lisa Najeeb Halaby in Washington D.C., Lisa studied architecture at Princeton before beginning her career overseas. She met King Hussein bin Talal of Jordan during her tenure with Alia Airlines in Jordan and married on June 15, 1978.
She converted to Islam and took up the name Noor Al-Hussein and became Queen Consort of Jordan. Lisa was King Hussein’s fourth wife. Post marriage, she took up several social welfare activities in Jordan and overseas.
King Hussein died on February 7, 1999. They have four children; Prince Hamzah, Prince Hashim, Princess Iman, and Princess Raiyah.
The present King Abdullah of Jordan is King Hussein’s eldest son from a previous marriage.
Marie-Chantal Miller married Crown Prince Pavlos, Greece
Marie-Chantal Miller’s mother is Ecuadorian and father, Robert Warren Miller, an American. Born in England on September 17, 1968, Marie-Chantal Miller had her early education in Hong Kong before moving to Switzerland to finish her school. Later, she studied in Paris before moving briefly to New York to pursue Arts. She dropped out after her first year when she met Pavlos, Crown Prince, and son of deposed King Constantine II of Greece.
They married on July 1, 1995, in London. They have five children; Princess Maria-Olympia, Prince Constantine-Alexios, Prince Achileas-Andreas, Prince Odysseas-Kimon, and Prince Aristides-Stavros.
Marie-Chantal has her brand of kids wear under the brand Marie-Chantal and serves on the board of DFS, a division of luxury retailer brand LVMH.
Alexandra Natasha Miller married Prince Alexander von Fürstenberg, Germany
Alexandra Miller is Marie-Chantal’s younger sister and daughter of Robert Warren Miller and Maria Clara Pesantes Becerra. On October 8, 1995, Alexandra married Prince Alexander von Furstenberg, son of fashion designers Diane von Fürstenberg and Prince Egon von Fürstenberg. After her marriage, she became Her Serene Highness Princess Alexandra von Fürstenberg, a title she held until her divorce in 2002. The couple has two children; Princess Talita and Prince Tassilo.
After her divorce, she continued to hold the title Princess von Fürstenberg until 2015, when she married Dax Miller. She is now known as Mrs. Dax Miller.
Ariana Austin married Prince Joel Makkonen, Ethiopia
Ariana Austin, a Harvard graduate and an art curator, was partying with a friend at the Pearl Night Club in 2005 when Joel Makkonen walked up to her and said he wanted her to be his girlfriend. At the time, she had no clue he was an Ethiopian Prince and great-grandson of Ethiopia’s last emperor, Haile Selassie I. They were married at the Foxchase Manor on September 9, 2017, in a grand celebration attended by 307 guests. She is now Princess Ariana Makkonen.
Hope Cook married Crown Prince Palden Thondup Namgyal, Sikkim
Hope Cook was born on June 24, 1940, in San Francisco to John J. Cooke, a flight instructor, and Hope Noyes. Hope Cook lost her mother when she was two and was raised by her grandparents in New York.
In 1959, on her trip to India, she met Crown Prince Palden Thondup Namgyal of the Kingdom of Sikkim. They were married on March 20, 1963, and she took up the title Princess Hope La.
After her husband’s coronation as King in 1965, she took up the title as Her Highness Hope La, the Gyalmo of Sikkim. The King was deposed on April 10, 1975, after Sikkim acceded to India. The couple soon separated, and she returned to the United States with her two children, Prince Palden Gyurmed Namgyal, and Princess Hope Leezum Namgyal Tobden.
The couple divorced in 1980, and the former King died in 1982. Hope remarried in 1983 to Mike Wallace, a Pulitzer Award-winning author, but the marriage did not last long.
Hope has built a reputation as an author, columnist, and lecturer. She lives in New York.
Kelly Jeanne Rondestvedt married Prince Hubertus, Germany
Kelly Rondestvedt grew up in San Francisco and received an MBA from UCLA before moving to New York to pursue a career as an investment banker.
On a chance meeting at a restaurant in New York, Kelly happened to meet Prince Hubertus of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, whose family ruled the Bavarian region called Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Prince Hubertus is the son of Andreas, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Carin Dabelstein.
For those not familiar, the British royalty belongs to the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. King George V changed the name of his House from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to House of Windsor in 1917.
Prince Hubertus married Kelly Rondestvedt in a civil ceremony on May 19, 2009, and followed it up with a religious wedding on May 23, 2009. Both work as investment bankers in New York.
They have three children; Princess Katharina Victoria Elizabeth Cheryl of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Prince Philipp Hubertus Andreas Christian of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and Princess Madeleine Aurelia Viktoria Carin of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
Sarah Butler married Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, Jordan
Born in Houston, Texas, Sarah Butler studied in the US and UK before joining UNICEF in New York. She met Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, a diplomat representing Jordan at the United Nations in New York. He is the son of Ra’ad bin Zeid, Lord Chamberlain of Jordan, and Margaretha Inga Elizabeth Lind. He is in line to the throne of the Kingdom of Iraq, although the Iraqi monarchy no longer exists. They were married in Jordan on July 5, 2000, and have four children; Prince Ra’ad, Princess Hala, Princess Aziza, and Prince Zaid.
After her marriage, she is known as Princess Sarah Zeid.
Kendra Spears married Prince Rahim Aga Khan (Nizari Ismaili Community)
Kendra Spears is an American supermodel having become the face of several popular fragrance brands like Armani and Moschino. She has appeared on the covers of Vogue Italia and V. On August 13, 2013, Kendra married Prince Rahim Aga Khan in Geneva, eldest son of Prince Karim Aga Khan (Aga Khan IV) and his first wife, Princess Salimah Aga Khan.
After the marriage, she is known as Princess Salwa Aga Khan. The couple has two children; Prince Irfan Aga Khan and Prince Sinan Aga Khan.
Olivia Wilde married Prince Tao Ruspoli, Italy
Olivia Wilde is an Irish American actress, model, director, producer, and activist. When she was just nineteen, she married Prince Tao Ruspoli, an Italian filmmaker, photographer, and musician. He is the second son of Prince Alessandro Ruspoli, 9th Prince of Cerveteri, and actress Debra Berger.
The couple was married on June 7, 2003, in an abandoned bus in Washington, Virginia, with just two witnesses present. She did not take up any royal title-post marriage. They divorced on September 11, 2011.
She then got engaged to actor and screenwriter Jason Sudeikis in January 2013. The couple has two children.
American men who married royalty
Christopher O’Neill married Princess Madeleine, Sweden
Christopher O’Neill, a British-born American Financier, married Princess Madeleine of Sweden, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland. She is seventh in the line to the Swedish throne. The couple has three children; Princess Leonore, Prince Nicholas, and Princess Adrienne.
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