Everyone adores a royal romance.
And those love stories are even more captivating when a member of the monarchy weds a commoner — just think of the media circus that surrounded the wedding of
Kate Middleton and Prince William.
After the King of Spain unexpectedly abdicated his throne yesterday, a former television presenter and the granddaughter of a taxi driver is set to become Spain’s next queen. Letizia Ortiz married Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe de Bourbon in 2004, and the public has been fascinated by their relationship ever since.
We rounded up 26 commoners who have married into monarchies from all around the globe.
Official Title: Queen Consort of the Netherlands
Maxima met Willem-Alexander, heir apparent to the Dutch crown, in Spain during the Seville Spring Fair. The couple have said in interviews that Maxima had no idea he was a prince, and thought he was joking when he finally told her the truth.
Official Title: Her Majesty The Queen of Bhutan
Bhutan's prince first met Jetsun when she was 7 years old and he was 17 at a family picnic. He told her that if they were both still single as adults, they would marry.
He was true to his word. On October 13, 2011, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck Bhutanese married his 20-year-old bride in a traditional Buddhist ceremony.
Official Title: Mr. Christopher Thomas
Princess Ruth Komuntale of Uganda was studying at American University in Washington DC when she met Christopher Thomas, an accountant working at Discovery Channel in Silver Spring. They started dating, and Christopher proposed at a local Ruth's Chris Steak House.
But it wasn't until after their engagement that Christopher realised how integral Ruth was in Uganda's Tooro Kingdom. The couple married on November 17, 2012 in Uganda, but reportedly split just a year later.
Official Title: Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge
Kate and William met in 2001 at St. Andrews University in Scotland, and dated on-and-off for nearly a decade.
Their wedding took place on April 29, 2011, and was a worldwide phenomenon. The pair are constantly in the public eye, and Kate gave birth to their first child, Prince George, in July 2013.
Official Title: Her Royal Highness The Princess of Asturias
A former journalist for CNN, Letizia was covering an oil slick along the Galicia shoreline in 2002 when she met Prince Felipe of Spain, who was visiting those affected by the disaster.
The pair hit it off instantly, and were married on May 22, 2004. They have two daughters together.
Letizia is set to become Spain's next queen after the King abdicated his throne in June 2014.
Official Title: Her Royal Highness Princess Tatiana of Greece and Denmark
Tatiana, a former event planner for fashion designer Diane von Fürstenberg, and Prince Nikolaos met in 2003 while on a ski vacation through a mutual friend. Previously, the prince had been known as a long-time bachelor.
They were married August 25, 2010 in a traditional Greek ceremony.
Official Title: Her Imperial Majesty The Empress of Iran (exiled)
Farah was studying architecture at the École Spéciale d'Architecture when Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi of Persiak came to visit the school. He met with several Iranian students studying there, and Farah happened to be one of them.
They were married from December 21, 1959 until July 27, 1980 when the Shah passed away from cancer. They had four children together.
She is the only woman to hold the office of Empress since pre-Islamic Iran, but was exiled in 1979.
Official Title: Mr. Adans Lopez Peres (never received an official title or style)
It's a mystery how Adans met the Princess Stephanie of Monaco, given that he was a Portuguese trapeze artist and 5th-generation circus performer 10 years her junior.
They secretly married in Vandœuvres, Switzerland on September 12, 2003, but the marriage didn't last long: They separated 10 months later, and were officially divorced on November 24, 2004.
Title: Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco
The former South African Olympic swimmer met Prince Albert II of Monaco (who is the son of Grace Kelly) in 2000 when she was visiting Monaco for a swimming competition. They officially debuted as a couple at the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy.
Charlene married Albert II on July 2, 2011. The pair recently announced that they are expecting their firstborn child.
Official Title: Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales
Prince Charles briefly dated Diana's older sister Sarah, but it was the young Diana who made an impression on the prince. They started dating when she was only 19 years old and he was over 30.
Diana married Prince Charles on July 29, 1981. They divorced on August 28, 1996, and she tragically died in a car crash almost a year later on August 31, 1997.
Official Title: Princess of Liechtenstein
Brown, who is of Afro-Panamanian descent and was born in Panama, worked as a fashion designer in New York before meeting Liechtenstein's Prince Maxmilian.
The pair were married in 2000 and have one son. She's believed to be the first known person of African descent to have married into a reigning European royal family.
Title: Gyalmo (Queen Consort) of the 12th Chogyal (King) of Skikkim
The American socialite went on a summer trip to India and met Palden Thondup Namgyan, King of Sikkim, in a bar at the Windamere Hotel in Darjeeling, India.
They were married on March 20, 1963, and had two children before divorcing in 1980. Hope brought the children back to New York with her, and currently works as a walking tour guide and historian in New York City.
Title: Her Majesty The Queen Silvia of Sweden
Silvia met King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden at the 1972 Summer Olympics where she was working as an interpreter and host for the games. They later said in interviews that it just 'clicked.'
They were married on June 19, 1976, and have three children together.
Official Title: His Royal Highness Prince Daniel The Duke of Västergötland
Daniel became the personal trainer of Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. They fell in love, and were married on June 19, 2010. They have one daughter together.
It was confusing for a while how Daniel would be styled after their marriage, and her father King Carl XVI Gustav was dead-set against the union for most of their courtship. But after going through 'prince school' and learning how to eat, socialize, and converse like royalty, Daniel was finally accepted.
Official Title: Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Norway
Mette-Marit met His Royal Highness The Crown Prince Haakon during a garden party at the Quart Festival, Norway's largest rock festival. It wasn't until years later that they met again and started dating.
The couple was married on August 25th, 2001 and have two children together. Mette-Marit also has another son from a previous relationship.
Official Title: Empress Consort of Japan
Michiko met the Emperor Akihito of Japan at a tennis match in Karuizawa in 1957. Many officials opposed their marriage (including the Emperor's mother) and wanted the Crown Prince to marry someone from the former Imperial family or Japanese monarchy instead.
But the pair persevered and have been married since April 10, 1959. They have three children together, and even went against tradition by raising their kids themselves instead of entrusting them to the Court chamberlains.
Official Title: Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Salma
Though their courtship is shrouded in mystery, we do know Lalla (a former engineer) met King Mohammed VI of Morocco during a private party in 1999.
The couple was married on October 12, 2001, and have two children together. She sometimes represents the king in official meetings.
Official Title: Mr. Daniel Ducruet (never received an official title or style)
The relationship between Daniel Ducruet and Princess Stephanie of Monaco was rocky at best. They kept their courtship under the radar, but went public when his then-girlfriend (not the princess) was six months pregnant.
They went on to have two children out of wedlock together, before finally getting the blessing of Princess Stephanie's father, Prince Rainier, to marry.
They were married in a civil ceremony on July 1, 1995, but later separated once pictures surfaced of Daniel cheating on the Stephanie with Muriel 'Fili' Mol-Houteman, former Miss Bare Breasts of Belgium 1995. They were officially divorced on October 4, 1996.
Official Title: Her Royal Highness Princess Mabel Martine of Orange-Nassau
Mabel met Prince Johan Friso through their mutual friend Laurentien Brinkhorst (who later became the wife of Johan's brother, Prince Constantijn).
Johan was forced to give up his right to the throne since the government refused to submit their marriage for parliament's approval after the Prime Minister found out Mabel had a romantic relationship with a known drug lord while in college.
Official Title: The Crown Princess of the Imperial House of Japan
The Harvard-educated Masako met the Crown Prince Naruhito at a reception for Spain's Princess Elena in Tokyo in 1986. The Prince was completely smitten and immediately began courting her, though it took three proposals before she finally accepted.
They were married on June 9, 1993, and have one daughter together.
Official Title: Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess Pavlos of Greece, and Princess of Denmark
The pair were set up on a blind date in 1992 by Alecko Papamarkou, a New York investment banker, at a Niarchos-family birthday party.
Marie married Prince Pavlos of Greece on July 1, 1995, and they have five children together.
Official Title: Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco
The movie star met Rainier, The Sovereign Prince of Monaco, on a photo shoot that she almost skipped. Their courtship was hurried along by American priest Father Francis Tucker, Rainier's aide and advisor.
They were married on April 19, 1956, but the marriage was cut short on September 14, 1982 by Grace Kelly's car accident and untimely death. They had three children together.
Official Title: Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Denmark
The royal couple met at the Slip Inn during the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Prince Frederik of Denmark introduced himself as 'Fred,' and didn't tell Mary he was a prince until the height of their courtship.
They were married on May 14, 2004, and have four children together.
Official Title: The Duke of Alba
Alfonso was close friends with the 18th Duchess of Alba (who has more titles than Queen Elizabeth II) for years before he proposed. His age -- 24 years her junior -- has caused her children and the tabloids to believe he is in it for her money.
Alfonso gave up his rights to her estimated $US800 million and $US4.6 billion fortune to marry the Duchess, and they tied the knot on October 5, 2012. Two of her children did not attend the wedding.
Official Title: Her Grace The Duchess of Windsor (unofficially styled herself as Her Royal Highness)
Wallis met Prince Edward through his then-mistress at a party in 1931. According to biographers, the pair reportedly began their affair in 1934 during Wallis's second marriage.
Edward became King of England in 1936, but abdicated his throne in order to marry Wallis. His brother King George VI made Edward Duke of Windsor instead, and the couple was married on June 3, 1937.
The marriage ended on May 28, 1972 when Edward passed away from cancer.
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