It’s like a dream come true. A “normal” person who is working a regular job just trying to make ends meet, meets royalty during a series of coincidental happenings. The “commoner” and the member of royalty end up falling in love, because they are fascinated with each other’s lifestyles and perspectives. The pair go on to live happily ever after, and the person who was once “normal” actually serves as a powerful (and sometimes political) figure in the country of their royal spouse. Stories like these prove that there are some real-life Cinderellas out there.
Of course, as with anything in life, there are pros and cons to being part of a royal family. It’s pretty likely that “commoners” are looked down on, especially in the beginning of their courtship with the member of royalty they’re in love with. We’d also imagine that it takes some getting used to when you go from living in a small apartment to a huge castle. Then there’s the issue of children, as everyone will want to know when you’re starting a family, and the media will vie for the first photos of your babies. But overall, it’s probably not too bad being a part of royalty, especially if you married into it. Here are 12 regular people who became royal by marriage.
12. Maxima Zorreguieta
Maxima Zorreguieta is the Queen Consort of the Netherlands. She has the title because she married Willem-Alexander, who is heir apparent to the Dutch crown. The two decided to become husband and wife during a ceremony in Spain in 2002, and the wedding was held during the Seville Spring Fair. The couple have done several interviews together, and have stated that Maxima didn’t know that Willem-Alexander was a prince when the two started dating. When he finally revealed his true identity to her, she thought he was joking. The couple have three daughters, and Willem-Alexander ascended to the throne in April 2013, which meant that Maxima Zorreguieta was now the queen.
11. Christopher Thomas
Christopher Thomas, who is also known as Mr. Christopher Thomas, met Ruth Komuntale when she was studying at American University in Washington, D.C. Thomas had no idea that Komuntale was a princess. At the time, he was working at Discovery Channel, and the two started a relationship. After some time, Christopher proposed to Princess Ruth when the two were out to dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steak House. It wasn’t until after Chris asked for Ruth’s hand in marriage that he realized just how crucial her role was in the Tooro Kingdom of Uganda. The couple got married in November of 2012. Unfortunately, their marriage was over just one year later. Maybe Thomas couldn’t handle the pressure of being a prince.
10. Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano
Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano is officially referred to as Her Royal Highness The Princess of Asturias. Rocasolano actually used to be a journalist for CNN. So, there’s a chance that she once interviewed people in very prominent positions. In 2002, when Letizia was covering an oil slick story along the Galicia shoreline, she met Prince Felipe of Spain. The prince came to the area to visit the people affected by the disaster, and the two ended up hitting it off quite well. Two years later, Letizia literally married her prince. The couple have two daughters. Rocasolana is now the queen of Spain, since her husband Felipe, has ascended to the throne as King Felipe VI, in June 2014.
9. Rania Al Yassin
Rania Al Yassin’s official title is the Queen Consort of Jordan. Al Yassin was an office employee for Apple in Amman, but her life changed when she met then-Prince Abdullah II at a dinner party that his sister was hosting. Reportedly, Rania and the prince fell in love right away. Just two months later, they were engaged to be married. Prince Abdullah ascended to the throne as King of Jordan, in 1999. This meant that Rania Al Yassin would become Queen of Jordan. One month after Abdullah’s “promotion,” he and Rania Al Yassin became husband and wife. The couple have four children together.
8. Jetsun Pema
Jetsun Pema is officially referred to as Her Majesty The Queen of Bhutan. Pema and her husband Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the King of Bhutan, met when they were much younger at a family picnic when Jetsun was 7 and he was 17. He even told her that if they were both single when they became adults, they would get married. The king kept his word, and on October 13, 2011, the two tied the knot. Pema was 20 at the time, and the two had a traditional Buddhist wedding. While Jetsun was technically a “commoner” in comparison to her husband, she comes from an impressive lineage as well. Her mother is part of one of the most noble families in Bhutan, and her father is a relative of the governor of Trashigang.
7. Tatiana Blatnik
Tatiana Blatnik is actually Her Royal Highness Princess Tatiana of Greece and Denmark. Tatiana used to be an event planner for Diane von Furstenberg, so it’s highly likely that she came across extremely famous people and dignitaries on a regular basis. When she was on a ski vacation in 2003, she met Prince Nikolaos during the vacation through a mutual friend. Before the prince fell in love with Tatiana, he’d be known as a long-time bachelor. Friends and family probably thought he’d never get married, and Tatiana was seen as a very special lady. In August of 2010, the two tied the knot.
6. Adans Lopez Peres
Adans Lopez Peres never got an official title, but he did marry Princess Stephanie of Monaco. So, technically, he was the prince of Monaco. No one really knows how the two even met, since Peres was a trapeze artist from Portugal whose family had performed in the circus for five generations. It’s not really clear how the two would have crossed paths, since they’re from very different social classes. Also, Adans is 10 years younger than the princess. The pair got married secretly in Switzerland, in 2003. Unfortunately, their union didn’t last long. Just 10 months later, they were separated, and by November of 2004, they were officially divorced.
5. Charlene Wittstock
If you ever meet Charlene Wittstock, you must respectfully refer to her as Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco. Wittstock was pretty well-known in her own right, since she was an Olympic swimmer from South Africa. When Prince Albert II of Monaco (who is also Grace Kelly’s son) saw Wittstock, he had to meet her. She was visiting Monaco for a swimming competition, and apparently caught the prince’s eye. In 2006, the two officially debuted as a couple at the Olympic Games in Turin, Italy. Charlene Wittstock married Albert II in July of 2011, and the couple have one child together.
4. Hope Cooke
Hope Cooke was once the Gyalmo or Queen Consort of the 12th Chogyal (King) of Sikkim. Cooke was a socialite from the U.S. who went on a summer trip to India. That’s where she met Palden Thondup Namgyan, King of Sikkim. The king was hanging out at bar at the Windamere Hotel in Darjeeling. Maybe he just wanted to be seen as a regular guy, and thought it would improve his chances with women. Cooke and the king got married on March 20, 1963. They had two children, but decided to end their marriage in 1980. Hope Cooke brought her children back with her to live in New York. She’s currently a historian and walking tour guide in NYC.
3. Daniel Westling
Daniel Westling is His Royal Highness Prince Daniel The Duke of Vastergotland. Westling was once The Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden’s personal trainer. The two ended up falling in love after realizing that they got along really well and wanted to build a life together. They got married on June 19th, 2010, and they have a daughter together. The princess’ father, King Carl XVI Gustav, was against her choice to date and marry Daniel, because the two came from two different worlds. However, Westling agreed to go to charm school to learn how to socialize like a prince. The school also taught him how to hold conversations and eat like a member of a royal family. After the training was complete, Princess Victoria’s father finally accepted him.
2. Diana Spencer
Diana Spencer was formally known as Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales. However, she was commonly referred to as Princess Diana. Prince Charles, who would eventually become Diana’s husband, dated her sister Sarah, first. Charles and Sarah were only together briefly since it was clear that Diana had captured her attention. When they started their relationship, Prince Charles was in his 30s, and Diana was only 19. The couple married in 1981 and had two sons. They divorced in 1996, and Prince Charles’ infidelity was largely to blame. Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in August of 1997.
1. Kate Middleton
Most people would call Kate Middleton’s story a modern-day fairy tale. She met Prince William in 2001, when the two were students at St. Andrews University in Scotland. For almost 10 years, the couple dated off and on. They finally decided to get married in April of 2011, and virtually everyone in the world was watching when the two exchanged their vows. Prince William and his wife Kate, who is formally referred to as Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, are constantly in the public eye. They have two children, a little boy named George, and a baby girl named Charlotte.