Many fans are probably aware that Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, was a Hollywood actress for a long time before meeting Prince Harry. She famously played Rachel Zane on the hit show Suits from 2011 to 2018.
However, Meghan was not the first TV star to become a princess. A few years before she joined the British royal family, there was another princess whose past involved being on television. This royal is Princess Sofia of Sweden, who married Prince Carl-Philip of Sweden in 2015.
Princess Sofia of Sweden was a reality TV contestant
Before she became royalty, Princess Sofia was known as Sofia Hellqvist. She was born on December 6, 1984, to a middle-class family in Sweden.
In 2005, Sofia became known to the public when she appeared on the Swedish version of the reality show Paradise Hotel. Viewers watched as Sofia and the other contestants lived in a luxury resort together and competed to get through as many elimination rounds as possible. Sofia eventually made it to the finals.
Aside from being a reality TV star, Sofia also worked as a glamour model. Her photos have appeared in the men’s magazine Slitz.
Princess Sofia of Sweden attracted a lot of criticism before her marriage to Prince Carl Philip
In 2010, it was announced that Prince Carl Philip, the only son of Sweden’s reigning king, was in a relationship with Sofia. The couple reportedly met through mutual friends.
Sofia’s past attracted raised a lot of eyebrows with royal watchers both in Sweden and abroad. Not only was she a reality star and glamour model, but Sofia also had several tattoos and piercings, which did not match with the image of those who traditionally married into the royal family.
In 2015, Sofia said in a documentary about her previous jobs: “It was ten years ago, I’ve gotten on with my life since then. I don’t regret anything. All these experiences have made me the person I am. I wouldn’t have made those choices today.”
Sofia and Carl Philip ended up getting married in 2015. They currently have two children: Prince Alexander (b. 2016) and Prince Gabriel (b. 2017).
Princess Sofia of Sweden is now known for her extensive charity work
From the beginning, Sofia has proven herself to be worthy of her princess title. Like Meghan, she was already involved in charity work long before she became a royal.
In 2010, Sofia co-founded the organization Project Playground, which helps underprivileged kids in several African countries. The organization’s website states: “Project Playground takes down playgrounds in the U.S. destined for the landfill though they still have many years of play left in them. Then we refurbish and replant those playgrounds in impoverished communities throughout the developing world.”
Since April 2020, Sofia has also been volunteering at Sophiahemmet Hospital in Stockholm to support doctors and nurses as they battle the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Although there were skeptics who doubted Sofia’s ability to fit into the royal family, her dedication to her country and her extensive charity work have made her quite popular among the Swedish public today.