As most little girls do, I dreamed of someday marrying a prince. Many of us grew up singing "Someday My Prince Will Come" from Disney's iconic "Snow White" and even believed it for a short time. For a select group of Americans, however, this became a reality.
Of, course the whole world is abuzz with the news of actress Meghan Markle's engagement to Prince Harry in November. Some people mistakenly believe that Meghan is the first American to ever marry into a royal family; those people may want to do a little reading on the subject. Ms. Markle is not the first American to find a prince - 'charming' or otherwise.
Before Meghan, probably the most well-known American to marry into royalty was Grace Kelly. After starring in many successful films, such as "Rear Window" and "To Catch A Thief," Grace Kelly met Prince Ranier of Monaco at a Cannes Film Festival in 1955. Later that year, while he was on a diplomatic tour in the United States, Prince Rainier asked her to marry him after spending just three days with her and her family. When she wed Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956, she became Her Serene Highness, Princess Grace of Monaco.
The Cannes Film Festival must be a great place to meet a prince! Rita Hayworth, known for movies such as "Strawberry Blonde" (1941) and her most popular film "Gilda" (1946), met her prince, playboy Aly Khan, at the Cannes Film Festival even earlier than Kelly met Ranier. Unfortunately, the marriage was not meant to be and ended less than four years later.
Many may not know this, but the former King Of England, Edward VIII, married an American who was twice-divorced. He must have been deeply in love with Wallis Simpson; he had to give up the throne to his younger brother King George VI, Queen Elizabeth's father, to marry her. They stayed happily married until Edward passed away in 1972.
Marie-Chantal Miller was an American citizen born in London. She grew up in a variety of places while attending school in China, Switzerland, and France. In 1995 she became engaged to and married Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece. While Pavlos was in line to become the next King of Greece, the monarchy was overthrown and the royal family no longer legally holds titles or positions. They are still married and have five children.
Marie wasn't the only member of her family to marry into royalty. That same year her younger sister Alexandra married Prince Alexander von Fürstenberg of Germany. The couple had two children. Their marriage did not last but ended civilly enough that Alexandra still worked with her mother-in-law, fashion designer Diane von Fürstenberg. She is now re-married and known as Mrs. Dax Miller.
Another famous American who married a prince was Lee Radziwill, the sister of Jackie Kennedy Onassis. Lee married Polish Prince, Stanislaw Albrecht Radziwill. Stas, as he was known, became a British citizen and could not make use of his title without permission from the Queen, so he usually went by Mr. Radziwill. Two children and 15 years later their marriage ended.
Almost in a club by himself, there is one modern American man who married a royal. Christopher O'Neill, who has dual-citizenship with the U.S. and the U.K. married Princess Madeline of Sweden in 2013. They reside in the U.K. with their two children.
Lisa Halaby, who is commonly known as Queen Noor, didn't meet a prince, but a King, while working with her father on the design of an airport in Jordan. Lisa attended several big social events and met King Hussein. The two started out as friends and married three years later. They had four children together and seemed to have a happy marriage up until the death of King Hussein in 1999.
So you see, several Americans have had a royal romance that led to marriage. They may not have all been fairytale marriages or ended in a happily ever after, but they all have their own unique stories. It will be fun to watch and see how Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's story keeps unfolding.