Meghan Markle Is About to Marry Royalty, Here's 11 American Women Who Did it First

May 08, 2018May 08, 2018

Meghan Markle will wed Prince Harry on May 19th. Their upcoming wedding has drawn the attention of fans of the royal family from across the globe. It's particularly drawn attention from Americans, who are celebrating the fact that one of our own is marrying into the British Royal family. 

But Meghan isn't the first to do so. Here are the American women who married royalty in the past. 

Wallis Simpson

Prince Harry and Prince William wouldn't even be the princes if it wasn't for this American woman. 

Simpson was a twice-married American socialite when she caught the eye of King Edwar VIII of England. However, because she was divorced, she caused quite the controversy. In 1936,
Edward abdicated the throne to marry her.

After only 326 days as king, Edward VIII abdicated his title in 1936, saying "I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility ... without the help and support of the woman I love.”

The two wed in 1937. Prince Harry and Prince William's grandfather became the King of England in his brother's place. 

They became the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. They didn't live in England. They went into relative exile in places like the Bahamas, Florida, New York, and Paris.

Rita Hayworth 

The Hollywood star Rita Hayworth's marriage to Prince Aly Khan was less successful Simpson's marriage to Edward. The famous beauty, who had previously been married to actor-director Orson Welles, married Prince Aly Khan in 1949.

Sadly, their marriage lasted less than four years. They had a daughter together—philanthropist Yasmin Aga Khan.

Grace Kelly 

The next woman to marry into royalty is arguably one of the most famous film actresses in the history of film. After starring in Alfred Hitchcock films like "Rear Window" and "Dial M for Murder," Grace Kelly gave up her life as a Hollywood actress to marry the prince of Monaco. 

She met His Serene Highness Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, while in the south of France for the Cannes Film Festival screening of her film "The Country Girl." Her publicity team set up a photoshoot at the palace; her first meeting with Prince Rainier was captured on film.

By Christmastime, the couple was engaged and they married in April. Grace lived in Monaco, never acting again, until her untimely death at the age of 52 in a car accident.

Her cousin John Lehman shared how she adjusted to being the princess.

“She went through some awkward years getting the people in Monaco to accept her,” he said. However, after learning French, she won over their hearts. "It didn’t take too long before she was ‘their’ princess." 

Lisa Halaby

Lisa Halaby, who graduated from Princeton with a master's degree in Urban Planning, met King Hussein of Jordan when she took a job with the Royal Jordanian Airlines. After the death of his wife Queen Alia, Halaby, who is of Swedish and Syrian descent, married King Hussein in 1978.

When she became queen, she took the name Noor as her new first name. It is the Arabic word for "light." They had four children, and they were together until the King's death from lymphoma in 1999.

Lee Radziwill

Jackie Kennedy's younger sister Lee Radziwill married Polish prince Stanisław Albrecht Radziwill in 1959. He was her second husband. The marriage lasted 15 years and produced two children, Anthony and Tina. 

Marie-Chantal Miller

The daughters of American-born duty-free magnate Robert Miller, Marie-Chantal Miller and Alexander Miller grew up a "true citizens of the world." They were raised all over the world.

In 1995, Marie-Chantal married Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece. Pavlos was the son of the deposed King Constantine of Greece. In addition to being the Crown Princess of Greece, she is also the Princess of Denmark. The couple has five children.

Also in 1995, her sister Alexandra married Prince Alexandre von Fürstenberg, who si the only son of designer Diane von Fürstenberg and Prince Egon in 1969. They had two children and separated in 2002. 

Kelly Rondestvedt

American investment banker Kelly Jeanne Rondestvedt married Hereditary Prince Hubertus of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 2009. The house of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha is an important one: its most famous members were Prince Albert and his first cousin (and wife) Queen Victoria. The present house name of the British family, Windsor, was adopted in 1917 because of anti-German sentiment during World War I. 

Sarah Butler

Another businesswoman turned royal, Sarah Butler married Prince Zeid bin Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein, the Crown Prince of Iraq, in 2000. The couple has three children and live in New York. Prince Zeid works as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Princess Sarah continues to work, raising awareness for causes including Every Newborn Action Plan, the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, and the Women's Rights Division at Human Rights Watch.

Hope Cooke

This story is especially fascinating. While traveling through India in 1959, 20-year-old Sarah Lawrence College freshman Hope Cooke met Palden Thondup Namgyal, the Crown Prince of tiny Himalayan nation Sikkim.

She apparently caught his eye. Two years later, the couple was married. Hope renounced her American citizenship, and two years after that she became a queen. She was Her Highness Hope La, the Gyalmo of Sikkim until the monarchy was abolished and Sikkim annexed to Indian in 1975. The marriage was reportedly tumultuous, plagued by political strife and infidelity. They divorced in 1980. 

Katie Walker 

The final person to make this list is American Katie Walker, public-relations expert working for the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington. The outspokenly pro-life Cinncinatti native married Archduke Imre of Austria, who is the great-grandson of Charles, the last ruler of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

They met at a Mass that was said in the honor of Emperor Charles, who was beatified by Pope John Paul II for his efforts to end World War I. They were married in traditional Latin Mass in September 2012. 

The couple has two children. 

In other news, Twitter has reacted to the controversial dresses at the Catholic themed Met Gala. What do you think? 

Next: Twitter Reacts to the Controversial Dresses at the Catholic Themed Met Gala May 08, 2018