Royal weddings have fascinated the human mind since, probably, forever. Just look at all the folk legends, stories and well, Disney cartoons, and you’ll see that it’s a theme that is continuously found fascinating. Can commoners marry royalty? As evidenced by human history – yes, indeed they can.
Do such marriages succeed, though? Well, that’s another story, but it hasn’t been especially controversial or unsuccessful. The last time that happened was back in 2011 though, when Kate Middleton married Prince William and assumed the title of Duchess of Cambridge. And with another commoner-royalty wedding looming imminent on the horizon – that of Meghan Markle to Prince Harry, it is perhaps the perfect moment to do a retrospective on royal marriages.
Thanks to Ranker, we’re bringing you the list of athletes, artists, celebrities and just ordinary people who managed to marry someone from the British royal family.
1. The famous Diana, Princess of Wales
Photo: Gegodeju/via Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0
Even though her marriage with Prince Charles was announced to great fanfare back in 1981, the marriage eventually ended in disaster in 1996. Soon after, the Princess lost her life in a tragic car crash, at the age of thirty-six. She became known as the “People’s Princess”, because she devoted herself to humanitarian causes.
2. Catherine Middleton
Our beloved Duchess of Cambridge was born in 1982 to a rich family comprised of businessmen. She later met Prince William during her studies at St. Andrews University.
3. Queen Elizabeth, The Queen’s Mother
Photo: Freebase/Public domain
This Elizabeth was actually the daughter of a well-known Scottish lord. Born more than a century ago, back in 1900, she saw the worst of what the 20-th century had to offer and spent most of her youth nursing wounded soldiers during World War 1. In 1923, she married King George VI, but only after he proposed to her a second time. She died in 2002.
4. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
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Philip comes from a combined lineage of Danish and Greek royal families. Before coming to Britain and becoming a British citizen, he spent most of his childhood in exile during WW1. Queen Elizabeth had a crush on him since she was just thirteen – and the two finally married in 1947.
5. Sophie, Countess of Wessex
It is quite possible that Sophie’s roots are the most humble when it comes to current members of the Royal Family. That’s because her mother was a secretary, and her father was a salesman. She did manage to get ahead by herself and got a successful PR career, and then married Prince Edward in 1999. Sophie is very low key and isn’t a fan of ceremonies.
6. Meghan Markle
Everyone knows Meghan Markle now! But what about before? Well, she was born in 1981 and grew up in California, before eventually becoming a Hollywood actress. Her wedding to Prince Harry is scheduled for May 2018.
8. Katharine, Duchess of Kent
Photo: Carfax2 (Own work)/via Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0
Katharine was born to an aristocratic family in England, back in 1933. Later, she married the Duke of Kent, Prince Edward, in 1961. Edward was King George V’s grandson. Katherine decided to give up her royal duties in 2002, and surprised the public when it was discovered that she taught music for years, secretly, at a primary school. Her alias was “Mrs. Kent.”
9. Alexander Ramsay
Photo: Bain/Library of Congress/via Wikimedia Commons/PD-1923
The son of an earl, Alexander Ramsay wanted to prove himself and serve his country, which is why at the young age of thirteen he joined the Royal Navy, and even served in World War I. Later, in 1919, he married the most sought-after bride in the Kingdon – the granddaughter of Queen Victoria, Princess Patricia of Connaught. It was true love! The Princess gave up her royal title just to be able to marry him – because Alexander was a commoner.
10. Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester
Alice was born in another aristocrat family, in 1901. She wanted to see the world and live as much as she could before marrying, which is why she married at the age of thirty-four, in 1935. Her husband was Prince Henry, the Duke of Gloucester, and in doing so became King George V’s daughter-in-law. Alice was so generous that she left a large part of her heritage to her staff, and she lived to the ripe old age of 103. She passed away in 2004.
11. Autumn Phillips
Photo: uploaded by MartinAustin
Born in Montreal in 1978, Autumn is a commoner educated at McGill, which makes her the first Canadian citizen to marry into the Royal Family. She married Peter Phillips, eldest grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II, son of Princess Anne.
12. Serena Armstrong-Jones, Viscountess Linley
Serena was born in 1970 to an aristocratic family. She married the son of Princess Margaret, David Armstrong-Jones (Queen Elizabeth’s nephew) in 1993. Serena isn’t fond of the spotlight and successfully runs her own fragrance store.
13. Timothy Laurence
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Timothy was born in 1955 into a family with a military tradition. When he met his wife, Princess Anne, in 1986, he was serving as Equerry to Queen Elizabeth. The two married in 1992.
14. Sarah, Duchess of York
Sarah Margaret Ferguson is a Londoner born in 1959. After a whirlwind, wild romance with Queen Elizabeth’s second son, Prince Andrew, the two married in 1986. However, the marriage fell apart in 1996 after a string of scandals. Sarah and Andrew remained close, however, despite the disapproval of the Royal Family.
15. Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester
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Birgitte Eva Henriksen, as the name might tell you, was born in Denmark in 1946. She worked at the Danish Embassy, but while visiting Cambridge she met the Queen’s cousin, Prince Edward, who was attending his studies there. The two married in 1972. Birgitte works with charities devoted to chidren and the arts.
16. Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark
Photo: The Times/National Portrait Gallery/via Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain/PD-UK-Unknown
Her mother was Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna, while her father was Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark. Clearly, a royalty. She was born in 1906. She married Prince George, Duke of Kent, in 1932. The band The Kinks made a song after her.
17. Mike Tindall
Photo: Land Rover MENA (The All-New Range Rover | Global Reveal)/via Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0
Mike, a commoner, was born in 1978 in Yorkshire. He managed to become a successful rugby player, and in 2010 he met and married Zara Phillips (Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter and Princess Anne’s daughter).
18. Marion Stein
Marion was born into a Jewish family, smack dab in Austria in 1926. The times being what they were, she and her family had to escape from the Nazis, and in 1938 they finally managed to reach the United Kingdom, where she became a pianist. Eventually, she married the Earl of Harewood, George Lascelles, in 1949 (George is the son of Princess Mary and the grandson of King George V). However, Lord Harewood had a mistress, and he got her with child – so Marion divorced him in 1967.
19. Angela Lascelles
Angela was a commoner, born in 1919. She became an actress, and eventually married the other son of Princess Mary, Gerald Lascelles, in 1952. However, this one turned out to be a cheater too, and she divorced him in 1978.
20. Daniel Chatto
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Daniel is a commoner, born into a theatrical family in 1960. In 1994, he married the daughter of Princess Margaret (Queen Elizabeth’s niece), Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones. Being an actor, he shared the love for the arts with his wife, and their marriage has been successful.