Counting It Down to Some Like It Royal: 9 American Born Royal Love Matches

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Yes, that’s a mouthful of a title, but if I were to ask you to name an American princess–i.e. an American born woman who married into royalty, how many could you name? One? Two? Three? On average, it seems most can come up with three for sure and one or two can name four. Would it surprise you to know the number of Americans who’ve married into royalty is actually in the double-digits?

Our love affair with all things royal is well-rooted in American culture despite our rejection of wanting a monarchy to call our own (and no, celebutantes do not count as the American Monarchy). Unfortunately, not all of these royal stories have happy endings.

You cannot discuss Americans and royalty in the same breath without conjuring the image of Grace Kelly, the American actress who met a Prince while filming in Monaco and went on to marry him in a marriage that sent royal fever sweeping through the U.S. Grace Kelly, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, married Prince Rainier III of Monaco (civil ceremony) on April 18, 1956 in the Palace Throne Room in Monaco and (religious ceremony) on April 19, 1956 at Saint Nicholas Cathedral, Monaco. I remember watching the wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer with my grandmother and her pointing out Grace Kelly among the attendants.

Other Notable American/Royal Love Matches

Caroline Lee Bouvier Canfield (Jacqueline Kennedy’s sister), born in Southampton, New York, married Prince Stanislas Radziwill of Poland on March 19, 1959 in Fairfax, Virginia. She was his third wife and though they divorced in 1974, it’s interesting American trivia to realize that the American Camelot and political dynasty of the Kennedys had ties to a royal family.
Julia Mullock, born in Pennsylvania, married Prince Yi Gu of Korea on October 25, 1959 at St George’s Church in New York, New York.  Did you even know Korea had a royal family? Though Korea isn’t a monarchy, Yi Gu lived there with his wife and mother for many years and taught at Seoul University. Unfortunately, the couple did not have a happily ever after. His family forced him to divorce her in 1982 because she’d proven sterile, but he never remarried.

You might even think that Grace Kelly was the first American actress to become a Hollywood Princess, but she wasn’t. Rita Hayworth, born Margarita Carmen Cansino in Brooklyn, New York, married Prince Ali Salman Aga Khan known as Aly Khan, the son of Aga Khan III on May 27, 1949 in Cannes, France. This was a third marriage for the renowned Miss Hayworth and one that earned her some backlash because her courtship with Aly began while she was still married to Orson Welles. The couple had one child together and later divorced.
Did you know the United States also has Bonapartes? Elizabeth Patterson, born in Baltimore, Maryland, married Jerome Bonaparte (brother of Napoleon), later King of Westphalia, on December 24, 1803 in Baltimore, Maryland. Unfortunately, Emperor Napoleon I didn’t care for his brother’s marriage choices and sought to get it annulled. When the Pope refused to do it, he declared it done himself and would not budge on the issue where his brother was concerned. Elizabeth was already pregnant and her ship was refused at all French harbors. She later went to England and gave birth there and the State Assembly of Maryland eventually gave her a divorce. Jerome would go on to marry twice more, but Elizabeth raised her son in America.

Lisa Halaby, born in Washington, DC, married King Hussein I of Jordan on June 15, 1978 in Amman, Jordan. After her conversion, she became known as Queen Noor. After King Hussein I’s death, she became known as the Dowager Queen of Jordan or Queen Noor of Jordan.

More recently, Americans who’ve tied the royal knot include:

Julie Elizabeth Huston Ongaro, born in Louisville, Kentucky, married Prince Robert of Luxembourg on January 29, 1994 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Sarah Butler, born in Houston, Texas, married Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad of Jordan on July 5, 2000 in Amman, Jordan.

And let’s add one American “prince” to the list: Christopher O’Neill, who holds dual citizenship from the United States and the United Kingdom, married Princess Madeleine of Sweden on June 8, 2013 at the Royal Chapel in the Royal Palace in Stockholm, Sweden.

So which ones did you know?

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