In November 2017, it was announced that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were engaged. Because Markle is an American biracial actress, who has been married before, some didn’t think she fit the mold of what royalty is — but they couldn’t be more wrong.
As you will see in our list, Markle is not the first American to marry a royal, or the first divorcee, or even the first mixed-race woman. And she certainly isn’t the first celebrity to do so. Here are some other famous women who married into and became royalty before Markle.
1. Jamie Lee Curtis
Actress Jamie Lee Curtis wed Christopher Guest in 1984. He later became Britain’s Baron Haden-Guest when he inherited the title from his father.
Curtis comes from Hollywood royalty. She is the daughter of legendary actors Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, but as a baroness she has an official royal title.
Next: Actress eloped with prince
2. Olivia Wilde
Before she met Saturday Night Live alum Jason Sudeikis, Vinyl star Olivia Wilde was married to Italian prince Tao Ruspoli, which made her a princess.
The two tied the knot in the 2003, but the marriage didn’t last. Wilde filed for divorce after eight years together.
Next: Hollywood icon becomes princess
3. Rita Hayworth
Rita Hayworth was a twice-divorced Hollywood megastar . They had one daughter together, Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, and divorced in 1953. Hayworth was married a total of five times.
She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease before her death in 1987. Her daughter, the princess, now works to bring awareness to the devastating disease.
Next: A ‘Housewife’ with a title
4. Luann de Lessups
Real Housewives of New York City star Luann de Lessups received the title of countess after she married French businessman Count Alexandre de Lesseps. They were together for 16 years and share two children, Victoria and Noel. The pair split in 2009 after he reportedly had an affair.
For anyone not exactly sure where the ranking of a count falls, it is lower than a prince or duke, but higher than a baron.
Next: TV actress marries a lord
5. A.J. Langer
My So Called Life actress A.J. Langer said “I do” to Charlie Courtenay, 19th Earl of Devon, in 2005. The marriage gave her the titles of Lady Courtenay and later, Countess of Devon.
She and her husband have two children together: a daughter, Joscelyn Sky, and a son, Jack Haydon, who is the heir to the royal title.
Next: Movie star is a countess-to-be?
6. Jessica Chastain
Zero Dark Thirty star Jessica Chastain married her Italian beau, Gian Luca Passi de Preposulo, in 2017. He is from a noble family, and his parents still use their count and countess titles, although the Kingdom of Italy was abolished in 1946 when it became a republic.
This means that Chastain could one day hold the countess title, even if it is just in name only.
Next: Belgian designer weds German prince
7. Diane von Furstenberg
In 1969, Diane Halfin married Germany’s Prince Egon von Fürstenberg and came to be Princess Diane of Fürstenberg. They had two children together before separating.
When their divorced was finalized, the fashion designer dropped the princess title, but continued to use the noble family’s name. By doing so, she may have made the last name even more famous than it had been in the past with her iconic designs and creation of the wrap dress.
Next: Beauty queen marries count
8. Laura Harring
Former Miss USA-turned-actress Laura Harring became a countess when she tied the knot with Count Carl-Eduard von Bismarck in 1987. While the two divorced just two years later, Harring was still able to retain her title.
Next: Socialite impresses prince
9. Zsa Zsa Gábor
Hungarian-American actress and socialite Zsa Zsa Gábor was married nine times — yes, nine — and didn’t get her royal title of Princess von Anhalt, Duchess of Saxony until her final marriage to Frederic Prinz von Anhalt.
Apparently, the ninth time’s a charm because they wed in 1986 and remained together until her death in 2016.
Next: Kennedy family in-law marries royalty
10. Lee Radziwiłł
The younger sister of Jackie Kennedy,Lee Radziwiłł, married into royalty when she wed Polish Prince Stanisław Albrecht Radziwiłł. They shared two children, Anthony and Tina.
Their marriage lasted 15 years, but she reportedly had an affair with Greek billionaire Aristotle Onassis before her sister got involved with him.
Next: Another ‘Houswife’ married a royal
11. Carole Radziwiłł
The Radziwiłłs’ son, Prince Anthony Radziwill, married Carole DiFalco in 1994. But five years later, he passed away from cancer at the age of 40.
His widow, who later became a Real Housewives of New York City star, was also good friends with Anthony Radziwiłł’s cousin, John F. Kennedy Jr., and his wife, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy. Tragically, the Kennedy couple perished in a plane crash just one month prior to Radziwiłł’s death.
Next: Olympian weds famous prince
12. Charlene Wittstock
After an initial meeting in 2000, Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock and Prince Albert of Monaco married in an extravagant wedding, which lasted over the course of three days in 2011.
The couple welcomed a set of twins Princess Gabriella, Countess of Carladès, and Jacques, Hereditary Prince of Monaco, in 2014.
Next: TV reporter becomes queen
13. Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano
In 2002, Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano was a journalist reporting on the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and war in Iraq when she caught the eye of then-Prince Felipe of Spain. The two ended up going to several dinners with one another and then began secretly dating. On Nov. 1, 2003, the Spanish royal family surprised everyone when they announced that Felipe was marrying the divorced commoner.
Despite some backlash, Felipe’s parents, Queen Sofía and King Juan Carlos, supported their son’s decision, and the couple got hitched in 2004. King Juan Carlos abdicated the crown to Felipe in 2014, making him King Felipe VI and Ortiz Rocasolano the Queen Letizia of Spain.
Next: Celebrity chef turns viscountess
14. Emma McQuiston
In 2013, when chef and model Emma McQuiston wed Ceawlin Thynn, Viscount Weymouth, she became Emma Thynn, Viscountess Weymouth, and Britain’s first black future marchioness. Neither of the groom’s parents attended the ceremony as it was reported that the viscount’s mother, Lady Bath, was banned for making racist remarks about the bride.
The viscount and his wife had two children via surrogate The Honorable John Alexander Ladi Thynn, and The Honorable Henry Richard Isaac Thynn.
Next: Hollywood royalty marries real royalty
15. Grace Kelly
And, of course, what would our list be without mentioning one of the most famous royal unions. American actress Grace Kelly married Rainier III, Prince of Monaco in 1956 and acquired the title Princess of Monaco. The pair were together until her tragic death following a car accident in 1982 when the family chose to take her off life support.
The couple’s three children are Caroline, Princess of Hanover, Albert II, Prince of Monaco, and Princess Stephanie.
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