6 similarities – and 4 major differences – between Grace Kelly’s and Meghan Markle’s royal love stories

Grace kelly holding an oscar on the left; meghan markle during the oprah interview on the right
Grace Kelly and Meghan Markle. Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images; CBS

Grace Kelly and Meghan Markle were both born in the United States and married foreign royals.
Princess grace and prince rainier in london in 1959; prince harry and meghan markle
Princess Grace and Prince Rainier in 1959; Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in 2019. Victor Blackman/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images; Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Grace Kelly was born on November 12, 1929, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. According to Biography, her father was a three-time Olympic gold medalist for rowing, while her mother was the first coach of women’s athletic teams at the University of Pennsylvania.

Meghan Markle was born on August 4, 1981, in Los Angeles, California. Her mother, Doria Ragland, was a clinical therapist and yoga instructor, while her father, Thomas Markle, worked in television as a light and photography director. 

Meghan Markle and Grace Kelly were both famous actresses before becoming royalty.
Grace kelly at the oscars with marlon brando; meghan markle acting in suits
Grace Kelly holding her Oscar after she was honored as the ‘Best Actress’ of 1954 at the 27th Academy Awards; Meghan Markle acting in ‘Suits.’ Bettmann/Getty Images; Christos Kalohoridis/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty Images
Before becoming one of the most famous royals in the world, Grace Kelly had a highly successful career as an actress. She acted in her first film, “Fourteen Hours,” when she was just 22 years old. She got her big break in 1952 with the release of “High Noon,” which launched her career to new heights.

She went on to star in “Mogambo” opposite Clark Gable and Ava Gardner, during which time she was romantically linked to Gable. For her role as Linda Nordley, she was nominated for her first Academy Award and won a Golden Globe Award for best supporting actress. She later won the Academy Award for best actress in 1954 for “The Country Girl,” beating out Judy Garland in “A Star is Born.”

In 2002, Markle landed her first official TV acting credit as Nurse Jill, a small role in “General Hospital.” However, she is best known for her role as Rachel Zane on “Suits.” She appeared in episodes from 2011 to 2018.

Princess Grace met her husband, Prince Rainier, on a photo shoot, while Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were set up on a blind date by a mutual friend.
Prince rainier and grace kelly; meghan markle and prince harry during their first public outing together at the invictus games
Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly; Meghan Markle and Prince Harry during their first public outing together at the 2017 Invictus Games. Bettmann/Getty Images; Chris Jackson/Getty Images
According to Harper’s Bazaar, Grace Kelly was invited to join the United States Delegation Committee at the Cannes Film Festival in 1955. While in France for the festival, she met Prince Rainier III of Monaco on the set of a photo shoot. A year later, they were married.

In July 2016, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were set up on a blind date at Soho House in New York City by a mutual friend.

In their first sit-down interview as a couple, Markle told the BBC in 2017 that she didn’t know much about the prince or the royal family before the date.

“Because I’m from the States, you don’t grow up with the same understanding of the royal family,” she said. “I didn’t know much about him, so the only thing that I had asked [our mutual friend] when she said that she wanted to set us up, was, ‘Well, is he nice?’ Cause if he wasn’t kind, it just didn’t seem like it would make sense.”

Princess Grace and Meghan Markle both gave up their acting careers after getting engaged.
Grace kelly on her wedding day in 1956; meghan markle on her wedding day in 2018
Grace Kelly on her wedding day in 1956; Meghan Markle on her wedding day in 2018. Mondadori/Getty Images; Jonathan Brady/WPA Pool/Getty Images
Grace Kelly briefly continued acting after it was announced she was engaged to Prince Rainier in order to fulfill her contract with MGM. In her final film, “High Society,” Kelly even wore one of the two opulent engagement rings given to her by Prince Rainier. 

As Insider previously reported, according to The List, J. Randy Taraborrelli wrote in his book, “Once Upon a Time: Behind the Fairy Tale of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier,” that Kelly planned to continue her acting career after her wedding. However, the prince later said he and his wife had decided she would give it up. 

“It was widely believed that it was Prince Rainier who made his wife stop acting, as Kelly had no plans of retiring at the time of their engagement,” The List said.

On November 29, 2017, immediately following the engagement announcement, it was officially confirmed that Markle would be exiting “Suits” after seven seasons. 

“From all of us at USA Network and Universal Cable Productions, we want to send our most heartfelt congratulations to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry on their engagement,” USA Network said in a statement.

“Meghan has been a member of our family for seven years and it has been a joy to work with her. We want to thank her for her undeniable passion and dedication to ‘Suits,’ and we wish her the very best.”

Her storyline was wrapped up with her character, Rachel Zane, marrying Patrick J. Adams, who plays her love interest, Mike Ross, throughout the show’s seven seasons.

However, her decision to leave Hollywood was apparently not one made by the royal family — Prince Harry told Oprah Winfrey his family suggested Markle should continue acting to earn money.

However, Princess Grace had to relinquish a majority of her Hollywood fortune to pay her royal dowry, something not required of Meghan Markle.
Prince Rainier of Monaco and American actress Grace Kelly during their wedding ceremony at the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas, Monte Carlo in 1956.
Prince Rainier of Monaco and American actress Grace Kelly during their wedding ceremony at the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas, Monte Carlo, in 1956. The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images
Before meeting Prince Rainier, Kelly was on track to become one of the most financially successful actresses in the world. However, after she was asked to pay a $US2 ($AU3) million dowry, the equivalent of roughly $US20 ($AU27) million today, using her own money and family wealth, she essentially had nothing left. 

When she died at the age of 52, Princess Grace only had a net worth of $US10,000 ($AU13,569) and the deed to her grandfather’s small cottage in Ireland in her own name. 

Princess Grace’s and Meghan Markle’s marriages were both depicted in the press as fairy tale love stories.
Prince rainier and princess grace and meghan markle and prince harry after announcing their engagements
Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly after announcing their engagement in 1956; Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after announcing their engagement in 2017. Bettmann/Getty Images; Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images
Both Grace Kelly’s and Meghan’s Markle’s engagement and wedding days received massive public attention. Both royal weddings were broadcast live to audiences around the world and described as “modern fairy tales.”

Kelly’s wedding to Rainier was the first royal wedding to ever be transmitted live.

Prince Rainier was seeking a bride to produce an heir to the Monegasque throne, whereas Prince Harry knew he would likely never ascend to the throne.
Grace kelly and meghan markle
Grace Kelly and Meghan Markle. Sunset Boulevard/Corbis/Getty Images; Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
Kelly maintained that she married for love.

“When I married Prince Rainier, I married the man and not what he represented or what he was. I fell in love with him without giving a thought to anything else,” Kelly once said

Prince Harry, who was fifth in line to the throne when he married Meghan Markle, had no obligation to produce an heir to the British throne. Now sixth in line, it is extremely unlikely he or his children, Archie and Lilibet, will ever ascend to the throne.

Meghan Markle and Princess Grace both retained their US citizenship after marrying into royalty.
Grace kelly and meghan markle
Grace Kelly in New York City in 1982; Meghan Markle in 2018. Robin Platzer/Images/Getty Images; Clive Mason/Getty Images
According to the Princess Grace Foundation, Grace Kelly was not required to renounce her American citizenship and became a dual citizen of the United States and Monaco after marrying Prince Rainier. 

Meghan Markle also retained her American citizenship and even voted in the 2020 presidential election after she and Prince Harry moved to California.

Meghan Markle and Princess Grace both experienced culture shock after moving away from the United States.
Grace kelly in 1956 and meghan markle in 2018
Grace Kelly and Meghan Markle. Reg Birkett/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images; Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images
While both Markle and Kelly experienced vastly different ways of life in London and Monaco, respectively, after becoming royalty, they both attempted to adjust to their new roles by immersing themselves in projects and causes they cared about.

“I never really liked Hollywood. I found it unreal — unreal and full of men and women whose lives were confused and full of pain,” Kelly once said.

Once a royal, she supported charities working for child welfare and established her own foundation to benefit local artists.

Meghan Markle appears to have had a harder time adjusting to her royal life and the expectations that came with it — in a March 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey, she said she was naive when she entered the marriage. Last year, the California native, Prince Harry, and their son, Archie, all relocated to Santa Barbara after stepping back from the royal family.

However, she too has focused on causes she cares about, formerly serving as a patron of charities in the UK, and launching her nonprofit foundation Archewell with Prince Harry.

After starting a relationship with Prince Harry, Meghan Markle faced negativity and racism in the press.
Meghan markle newspaper headlines
Meghan Markle newspaper headlines. Yui Mok/PA Images/Getty Images
While there were negative reports about Kelly in the press during her time in Hollywood, Princess Grace was adored by both the people of Monaco and the Monegasque media. 

However, Meghan Markle faced oftentimes unfair backlash and criticism from the British tabloids, practically from the moment she was romantically linked to Prince Harry. Her and Prince Harry’s treatment by the British press resulted in multiple lawsuits and a string of legal battles.

Meghan Markle also spoke out about the problems she faced within the royal family that led to her and Prince Harry relinquishing their royal duties and moving to California.