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Royals And Commoners: 10 Weddings That Challenged Tradition

Royals And Commoners 10 Weddings That Challenged T

First Posted: 10/20/2011 10:14 am EDT Updated: 10/25/2012 12:27 pm EDT

Unless you had royal blood running through your veins, marrying Prince Charming used to be the stuff of fairy tales.

But as we’ve seen with the recent royal wedding in Bhutan--the Dragon King wedded an ordinary university student, and then there was that ho-hum British wedding back in the spring--some fairy tales really do come true.

From the most scandalous unions to the most adored, the royal-commoner 10 couples below defied centuries of tradition by tying the knot. As they've shown, you don't necessarily have to be of royal descent to marry a royal anymore.

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  • King Edward VIII And Wallis Simpson

    In a scandal that rocked the royal world, Edward VIII <a href="" target="_hplink">abdicated the British throne</a> in order to marry the woman he loved in <a href="" target="_hplink">1936</a>. The newly proclaimed King gave up his title for the <a href="" target="_hplink">twice-divorced American</a>, who was <a href=",,20102762,00.html" target="_hplink">shunned by the royal family until her husband's death more than 30 years later</a>.

  • Princess Sayako And Yoshiki Kuroda

    The <a href="" target="_hplink">only daughter of Japanese Emperor Akihito</a> abandoned her royal status, privileges and inheritance when she married her childhood acquaintance, <a href="" target="_hplink">a 39-year-old urban planner</a>, in <a href="" target="_hplink">2005</a>. The strict nature of the imperial system, steeped deeply in tradition, <a href="" target="_hplink">does not allow female royals to marry commoners while retaining their imperial status</a>.

  • Prince Charles and Diana Spencer

    For most of us, this romance between the Prince of Wales and <a href="" target="_hplink">the former nanny</a> put royal/commoner weddings on the map. The entire world watched as Prince Charles and his shy <a href="" target="_hplink">20-year-old bride</a> tied the knot in a grand ceremony at <a href="" target="_hplink">St. Paul's Cathedral in 1981</a>.

  • Prince Frederik And Mary Donaldson

    The crown Prince of Denmark wed the <a href="" target="_hplink">31-year-old law graduate and Australian estate agent in 2003</a>. The pair met in a bar <a href="" target="_hplink">during the Sydney Olympics in 2000</a>, after he supposedly <a href="" target="_hplink">introduced himself as "Fred."</a>

  • Prince Felipe And Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano

    The television journalist met the heir <a href="" target="_hplink">while covering a story on an oil slick in 2002</a>. After a year, the palace announced the engagement, and Ortiz became the <a href="" target="_hplink">first commoner in Spanish history to be in line to the queen</a>. They were married in <a href="" target="_hplink">2004</a>.

  • Prince Johan Friso of Orange-Nassau And Mabel Wisse Smit

    The Dutch Prince lost his status as <a href="" target="_hplink">third in line to the throne</a> after marrying his bride-to-be, a <a href="" target="_hplink">student</a> who had studied Economics and Political Science at the University of Amsterdam. After a royal scandal (dubbed <a href="" target="_hplink">"Mabelgate"</a>) in which <a href="" target="_hplink">press uncovered Smit's association with a drug lord</a>, parliament refused to approve the union. Despite the fact that the Prince would lose his royal status, couple were happily wed in <a href="" target="_hplink">2004</a>.

  • Prince Rainier III And Grace Kelly

    The famed American film actress married the Prince of Monaco in <a href="" target="_hplink">1956, in front of 600 guests and 30 million television viewers</a>--bringing attention and glamour to the once-quiet principality. The pair began their romance after <a href="" target="_hplink">meeting at the Cannes Film Festival.</a> <em>Correction: A previous version of this slide stated that Kelly and the Prince married in 1965, rather than 1956.</em>

  • Prince Albert II And Charlene Wittstock

    The <a href="" target="_hplink">former Olympic swimmer from South Africa</a> met Prince Albert II, <a href="" target="_hplink">20 years her senior, during a swimming competition in 2000</a>. Wittstock, who worked as a <a href="" target="_hplink">school teacher before moving to Monaco</a>, ended the prince's <a href=" " target="_hplink">notorious bachelorhood</a> when the couple announced their <a href="" target="_hplink">engagement in 2010</a>. And despite <a href="" target="_hplink">rumors of cold feet</a> from the bride, the couple married in <a href="" target="_hplink">July 2011</a>.

  • Prince William And Catherine Middleton

    Considered by many to be the modern-day fairy-tale romance, "Kate" and the Duke of Cambridge met in a <a href="" target="_hplink">history of art course at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland</a>, as college students. The pair dated for <a href="" target="_hplink">8 years</a> before they were married in 2011, with more than <a href="" target="_hplink">2 billion people worldwide</a> watching them.

  • King Jigme Wanchuk and Jetsun Pema

    In <a href="" target="_hplink">May</a>, the young monarch of Bhutan announced his engagement to his <a href="" target="_hplink">girlfriend of three years</a>, <a href="" target="_hplink">21-year-old student Jetsun Pema</a>. Despite her commoner status, the pair wed in a sumptuous ceremony <a href="" target="_hplink">in October</a>. Although it is not clear how the couple first met, the "Dragon King" is said to have known her <a href="" target="_hplink">since she was a young girl</a>.


Filed by Jennifer Lai  |