It’s not everyday that the girl next door marries into royalty. So when it happens, the public attention (and the hopes of all of us regular chicks) increases worldwide. Just when you thought you didn’t have the chance, these ladies have met their Prince Charming (literally) in bars, universities, on blind dates, at airports, parties and music festivals. You know, places all us commoners are surely familiar with.
Here’s to hoping we meet ours at one of these oh-so-common locations. Here are 13 regular people who married royals.
The American socialite married the Duke of Windsor in 1937. Simpson grew up Baltimore, Maryland and was actually married twice before becoming wife to the Duke. In true romantic gesture, he gave up his title, King Edward VIII of Great Britain to be with Simpson (making way for the current royals).
A name synonymous with class and elegance, Grace Kelly was a famous Hollywood actress (‘regular’ might be a stretch here). Hailing from Pennsylvania, her beauty and poise caught Prince Rainier‘s eye at the Cannes Film Festival, where she was promoting one of her classics, To Catch A Thief. They participated in a staged photo op together and they soon married in an extravagant televised wedding. She even read her vows in French!
The Norwegian royals taught us that love conquers all. Haraldsen was the daughter of a merchant and studied fashion design, accounting and social science. Now 80, her relationship with the King didn’t come without setbacks as Harald’s father was against the marriage because she was a commoner. 50 years later, and the King and Queen still rule Norway.
Queen Noor of Jordan married King Hussein of Jordan in 1978. Her changed name translates to “light of Hussein.” Noor’s father was of Syrian descent and became CEO of Pan American World Airways and head of the Federal Aviation Administration under President John F Kennedy. She met the King at the Queen Alia International Airport (which was named after his first wife who died in a helicopter crash) as Noor’s father was redesigning their airlines. They originally courted in secret on motorbikes! The couple stayed together until his death in 1999.
Born in Kuwait to a Palestinian family, Queen Rania married the now King Abdullah of Jordan in 1993, with the couple becoming King and Queen in 1999. She graduated in Cairo with a business administration degree, later working at Citibank and Apple in Amman, Jordan. They met at a party hosted by the King’s sister, with the King saying, “The minute Rania walked in, I knew it right there and then, it was love at first fight.” She is known for her philanthropy, community engagement and interfaith dialogue.
Kate met Prince William in 2001 while they were both students in residence at St. Salvator’s Hall at the University of St Andrews. The couple began dating in 2003, and wed at Westminster Abbey in 2011. Although they briefly split in 2007, they rekindled their love and now have three children; Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
Before she became Crown Princess of Japan, the Harvard graduate was pursuing a diplomatic career. The couple first met in 1986 at tea for Infanta Elena, the Duchess of Lugo, during Masako’s studies at the University of Tokyo. Prince Naruhito courted her for years, with Masako refusing to marry the prince because it would force her to give up her promising career in diplomacy and severely restrict her independence and freedoms. Masako finally accepted his third proposal on the 9th of December 1992. They are set to become Emperor and Empress of Japan in 2019.
When Mary Donaldson met a man named “Fred” in at the Slip Inn bar in Sydney, Australia during the 2000 Sydney Olympics, she probably didn’t expect to have found her husband, let alone Prince Frederik of Denmark. At the time, Donaldson was working in public relations and became a project consultant, tying the knot four years later in Copenhagen. “The first time we met, we shook hands,” Mary told People. “I didn’t know he was the prince of Denmark. Half an hour later, someone came up to me and said, ‘Do you know who those people are?”. Since their love story began at the Olympics, the two have made it a tradition to return to where it all started and have attended almost every single iteration of the games since.
London-born Miller and Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece met on a blind date set up by the prince’s friend in 1992. Prince Pavlos said in an interview with Vanity Fair, “I was completely taken. I always had a girlfriend and moved on and went to another one. But the moment I saw Marie-Chantal, I said, ‘Well, this is what I’ve been looking for.’ Her younger sister, Alexandra, is the ex-wife of Prince Alexander von Fürstenberg and the couple share five children together.
Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby
Høiby was a commoner and single mother who met Crown Prince Haakon of Norway at the Quart Festival, Norway’s largest music festival. While they met at a garden party during the festival season, they got together years later, at another festival-related party. At the time of their engagement, Mette-Marit was a single mother to a son named Marius Borg Høiby, who caused a potential security risk in 2012 when posting the family’s whereabouts online. The couple wed in 2001 and now live at Skaugum estate, outside Oslo.
Sofia Kristina Hellqvist
Sophia wed Prince Carl-Philip of Sweden in 2015, however her past as a model and reality star stirred controversy in the media at the time. In 2005, she moved to New York where she worked as a yoga instructor. She also studied global ethics, child and youth science, children’s communication and the UN Conventions on the Rights Of The Child. In a joint interview, the the Prince told Swedish channel TV 4, “I don’t think I knew the magic of love before I met Sofia, but ever since I met her, I’ve seen how love can change a person.” The couple share two children together.
Alessandra De Osma
A Peru native, lawyer and former model, Alessandra met Prince Christian of Hanover when she served as his tour guide during a visit to her country in 2005. She married her prince in an extravagant ceremony in the streets of Lima, Peru, around two months before Harry and Meghan tied the knot. The streets were closed off and baskets of flowers hung from the lamp posts. Well-wishers gathered at the gates to watch the procession. This was the second wedding for the couple as they first said “I do” in a civil ceremony in London in November.
The latest royal whirlwind was our very own Harry and Meghan. The former Suits actress met Prince Harry on a blind date set up by a mutual friend. The two were linked in 2016 and married in May at St. Georges Chapel. It is said that Prince Harry whisked her to Botswana, where they fell in love. He proposed to her while they were roasting chicken in his private home.
BONUS: Daniel Westling
Not all fairytales mean that that the everyday girl gets swept off her feet by a prince. The same holds true for Princess Victoria of Sweden‘s marriage to her former personal trainer, Daniel Westling. The couple wed in Stockholm in 2010, with Westling’s new royal title becoming Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland.
Written by Shaymah Alkhair