American Princesses: 4 US women who married royalty
MANILA, Philippines – After she and Britain’s Prince Harry announced their engagement, Meghan Markle is getting ready to join the British royal family.
While her union to Prince Harry may be groundbreaking in many ways – she is biracial, an actress, and the first divorcee since the controversial Wallis Simpson to marry a high-ranking British royal – she is certainly not the first American woman to marry a prince.
Aside from Wallis – whose romance with then King Edward VIII made him abdicate the throne and caused a national crisis – several other women from the US married royals from all over the world.
Many people are comparing Meghan to the late Princess Grace Kelly – and for good reason. Like Meghan, Grace was an actress and starred in many Hollywood classics (Rear Window, High Society) before going on to marry Monaco’s Prince Ranier in 1956. Shortly after the wedding, Princess Grace slid away from Hollywood life, even rejecting offers for big movie roles – a move that Meghan plans to do herself. (READ: Meghan Markle follows Grace Kelly in abandoning acting)
Of course, before Grace Kelly, there was actress Rita Hayworth, who also left her movie career (even breaking her contract with Columbia Pictures) to marry Prince Aly Khan in 1949, son of Sultan Mahommed Shah Aga Khan III of the Nizari Ismaili Muslims. Rita, who had been married twice before, received the title of princess when she married Prince Aly – though the couple would divorce in 1953.
Known around the world as the elegant Queen Noor of Jordan, Liza Halaby was actually born in Washington DC. A graduate of architecture and urban planning from Princeton University, Queen Noor was working as a director at Royal Jordanian Airlines when she met the late King Hussein of Jordan, whom she would eventually marry in 1978, and remain with until his death in 1999.
While her more famous older sister Jackie married into what many consider the American royal family (the Kennedys), Lee was the one who actually got the princess title when she married Polish prince Stanislaw Albrecht Radziwill in 1959. Though the couple divorced in 1974, Lee continues to be referred to as Princess.