The wedding of Megan Markle and Prince Harry was indeed a modern fairytale. The American actress is now the Duchess of Sussex and will be traveling all over the Commonwealth in Britain—and we suspect plenty of other places around the world—as one of the British royal family’s most valuable ambassadors. Her journey from briefcase girl on Deal or No Deal to do-gooding duchess with a killer jewelry collection got us wondering what other celebrities married royals and inherited a whole other kind of star power. So, without further ado, here’s a list of 15 commoners with an uncommon life. And for more coverage of all things royals, don’t miss the Surprising Royal Duties Meghan Markle Won’t Have to Perform.
Until Meghan Markle married Prince Harry, the nuptials of the Oscar-winning actress and Prince Rainier III of Monaco was the iconic fairytale wedding between Hollywood and royalty.
After meeting at the Cannes Film Festival in 1955, the prince proposed three days later. When the couple wed on April 18, 1956 amid plenty of pomp and circumstance, the streets of the tiny principality of Monaco was filled with well-wishers. Kelly was asked to come back to Hollywood to star in the Hitchcock film, Marnie, but her subjects were adamantly against the idea. Kelly was said to be bitterly disappointed and never considered another offer to return to acting. She died in a car crash in 1982 at just 52 years-old.
Hollywood’s “Love Goddess” Rita Hayworth married playboy Prince Aly Khan in 1949. Khan was the son of Sultan Muhammed Shah. Their tempestuous union was troubled from the start. The actress rejected her husband’s offer of $1 million to raise their daughter Princess Yasmin Aga Khan as Muslim. Khan was rumored to be having an affair with another actress, Joan Fontaine, shortly after he wed Hayworth. Hayworth returned to the United States, established legal residency in Lake Tahoe, and filed for divorce in 1951 for “extreme cruelty, entirely mental in nature.” They divorced in 1953 and Hayworth went on to marry again—twice. And for more on the secret lives of your favorite celebs, check out these 30 Awful Jobs Celebrities Had Before They Became Famous.
The former Olympic swimmer from South Africa married Prince Albert II on July 1, 2011 in a three-day wedding celebration—which included a concert by the classic rock band, the Eagles—and ended with a lavish reception on July 2 attended by well-known guests including Prince Edward, with wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex.
McQuiston became the UK’s first black marchioness when she wed Ceawlin Thynne, Viscount of Weymouth, in June 2013 after an 18-month courtship. The former actress and celebrity chef has said she has faced racism and snobbery from the British upper classes unwilling to accept her. The couple live at his family seat (the fancy British word for estate) Longleat, where she presides over the manor.
Jamie Lee Curtis
Her parents were Hollywood royalty Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, but Curtis married the real thing when she wed This is a Spinal Tap’s Christopher Guest.
The actress officially became Lady Haden-Guest in 1996 when Christopher’s father died and her husband became Baron Haden-Guest. Christopher even sat in the House of Lords for a brief time—until The House of Lords Act 1999 reformed the whole system.
Diane von Furstenberg
The fashion designer married Prince Egon von Furstenberg when she was just 18 years-old. The prince’s parents were reportedly unhappy about their son’s marriage because Diane’s Jewish heritage, but she became Her Serene Highness Princess Diane of Furstenberg in 1969 anyway.
The free-spirited couple had a well-known open marriage and divorced in 1972. She’s no longer allowed to use her “princess” title, but it doesn’t matter. Now von Furstenberg is fashion royalty helming her revived empire and has served as president of the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) and is its board chairman. She is currently married to mogul Barry Diller.
Wilde was married to filmmaker and musician Tao Ruspoli, the second son of Prince Alessandro and Austrian-American actress Debra Berger, for eight years. The lovebirds married in secret ceremony when the actress was just 19 in Virginia on a school bus (don’t ask us why).
The marriage didn’t last and, and Wilde spilt from her reportedly inattentive spouse after citing “irreconcilable differences” in 2011. Horrible Bosses star Jason Sudeikis must be treating her royally. They have been married since 2011 and have had two children together.
Portia de Rossi
Ellen DeGeneres, de Rossi’s wife since 2008, is actually the cousin of Kate Middleton who is, of course, married to Prince William. The New York Genealogical Society sent Ellen a letter telling her that she and Kate are 15th cousins related through (distantly) through Sir Thomas Fairfax and his wife Agnes Gascoigne. We’re signing up for Ancestry.com this minute!
The Oscar-nominated actress, who has said she doesn’t date actors, met fashion industry executive Gian Luca Passi de Preposulo in 2012. The Passi de Preposulo family dates back several centuries and Gian Luca’s father is Count Alberto Passi de Preposulo, who presides over the family’s massive estate, Villa Tiepolo Passi. They had a lavish wedding last year in Italy attended by several A-listers, including Anne Hathaway. Because of her husband’s lineage, Chastain will be a countess one day. How fancy! And for more facts about your favorite celebs, check out the 50 Crazy Celebrity Facts You Won’t Believe Are True.
We totally understand why the Mulholland Drive actress wouldn’t change her name after getting married. Former Miss USA Harring and Carl-Eduard von Bismarck, the great-great-grandson of Otto von Bismarck, married in 1987. The marriage didn’t last—they divorced two years later—but Harring’s title of Countess von Bismarck-Schönhausen endures.
British actress Winkleman is known in the UK for the comedy Peep Shop and had a small role in the movie The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Most Londoners refer to her by her official title, though, which is Lady Frederick Windsor. Her husband is Freddie Windsor, the only son of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.
The couple scored an invite to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding. In 2017, Winkleman was involved in serious car crash and suffered life-threatening injuries. She has publically credited her uncle-in-law, Prince Charles, for her recovery. Though officially a Windsor, Sophie still uses her maiden name in her acting career.
Former CNN reporter Ortiz and King Felipe VI of Spain met in 2002, when she was a journalist for Televisión Española. The king reportedly saw her on television and asked a friend to set them up. The couple began dating in secret a few months later. The couple’s engagement announcement shocked many people in Felipe’s country because she was a commoner and a divorcée. The king sealed the deal with an eye-popping 16-baguette diamond engagement ring in 2003. Her first marriage had been a civil ceremony, so the Catholic Church didn’t need to have it annulled. The couple married in Madrid in 2004, which marked the first wedding in the capital for nearly a century. Felipe ascended to the throne in 2014 after his father abdicated—and Ortiz became Queen.
Zsa Zsa Gabor
The marriage of Hungarian-American socialite Zsa Zsa Gabor and her final husband, Prince Frederic von Anhalt, is quite a tale. He was born Hans Georg Robert Lichtenberg, but changed his name when he paid Princess Marie-Auguste of Anhalt to adopt him as an adult. He moved to the United States in 1984 and met his soon to be wife when he crashed a swanky party in Holmby Hills, California. Gabor was 65 and Anhalt was 39. They married two years later in what was his seventh marriage and technically her eighth (a ninth was annulled). Amazingly, they stayed married for 30 years. Gabor died in 2016, and Anhalt has been selling off her possessions ever since.
Casper van Dien
The 90s-era action-hero actor Van Dien met Catherine Oxenberg while filming a TV movie, The Collectors, in 1999. The former star of the ‘80s version of Dynasty is the daughter of Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia. Oxenberg got to tap into her royal roots when playing Princess Diana in The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana. Oxenberg and Van Dien married at the Graceland Wedding Chapel and stayed together until 2015, when he filed for divorce.
Alexandra von Furstenberg
The billionaire heiress and furniture designer is Diane von Fursteberg’s former daughter-in-law. She married Prince Alexander von Furstenberg in 1995 and worked as the creative director of her former mother-in-law’s company DVF. The couple divorced in 2002. She moved to Los Angeles, launched her eponymous furniture label, and married Dax Miller in 2015.
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