Although the most recent celebrity to quit her job and marry a prince is Meghan Markle, she’s not the only one who’s given up a life of fame to join the royal ranks.
From iconic Hollywood starlets to Olympic swim champions, here’s a list of celebrities who have left it all behind to marry some of the richest royals in the world.
Click here to read more about how rich Queen Elizabeth and her family really are.
Meghan Markle: Duchess of Sussex
Before her marriage to Prince Harry of Great Britain in May 2018, Meghan Markle, born August 4, 1981, was recognized as an actress, philanthropist and blogger. She appeared in both movies and TV series, best known for her ongoing role of Rachel Zane in “Suits” on the USA network.
In January 2018, due to her impending royal status, Markle followed tradition and shut down all of her social media accounts, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. She had previously discontinued her popular lifestyle blog, The Tig, in 2017. Markle also voluntarily retired from her acting career in 2018 by starring in her last season of “Suits.”
But none of that means the new Duchess of Sussex won’t be able to fill her calendar with new responsibilities. In fact, she’s already been appointed Patron of the Royal Foundation and Commonwealth Youth Ambassador.
Grace Kelly: Princess of Monaco
Before marrying Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956 and becoming Princess Grace, Kelly was a leading Hollywood film star, starring in over 11 films and more than 60 TV shows.
Once married, Kelly left acting and was required to give up her American citizenship. Her husband, Prince Rainier, even went so far as to ban her films in Monaco. To fill the void, she involved herself in various cultural and charitable organizations.
Grace Kelly and the prince had three children: Princess Caroline, Prince Albert and Princess Stephanie. Kelly never returned to acting. On September 13, 1982, when Kelly was just 52, she had a stroke while driving, suffered a crash and subsequently died in the hospital a short time later.
Sofia Hellqvist: Princess of Sweden, Duchess of Värmland
Sofia Hellqvist, best known for her sometimes topless modeling career, as well as her stint as a contestant on the racy reality show Paradise Hotel, wed Prince Carl Philip of Sweden on June 13, 2015. Prior to their marriage, the couple had dated for five years.
Although Sofia’s past was riddled with controversy, she had left that life behind and the palace recognized her efforts. Prior to the marriage, the palace launched a PR campaign to draw attention to the bride-to-be’s volunteer work in South Africa. The campaign also highlighted Sofia’s own program she co-founded in the region to aid disadvantaged children.
Since her marriage, Princess Sofia and Prince Carl Phillip have had two sons: Prince Alexander, born in April 2016 and Prince Gabriel born in August 2017.
Letizia Ortiz: Queen of Spain
Letizia Ortiz was best known for her work as a journalist and news anchor in Spain before marrying Felipe, Prince of Asturias in 2004. Upon marriage, Ortiz was known as Princess of Asturias. The couple has two daughters: Princess Leonor, born in 2005, and Princess Sofia, born in 2007.
In 2014, just 10 years after becoming Princess of Asturias, Ortiz became Queen. She gained the title due to her husband’s father, King Juan Carlos, abdicating the throne so that her husband could become King Felipe VI of Spain.
Born as Margarita Carmen Cansino in 1918, Rita Hayworth’s Hollywood career gained steam in the late 1930s when she changed her last name and signed a multiple-year contract with Columbia Pictures. Hayworth gained international status with her film career in the 1940s, including starring in the wildly popular movie “Gilda” opposite Glenn Ford.
By 1948, Hayworth had been married twice, and her second marriage, which was with Orson Welles, was dissolving. Even though Hayworth and Welles had a daughter, Rebecca, together, Welles was not interested in staying in the marriage.
In 1949, Hayworth tied the knot again. Her third marriage was to Prince Aly Kahn, whose father was the head of the Ismaili Muslims. Hayworth put her acting career on hold to focus on her marriage, during which time the couple had one daughter, Princess Yasmin Aga Khan. But two years later, the marriage ended in divorce. Afterward, Hayworth returned to acting and married and divorced twice more. The iconic film actress died in 1987 after battling Alzheimer’s disease.
A.J. Langer: Lady Courtenay
Before A.J. Langer became Lady Courtenay, she was a 90s teen television star on the hit series “My So-Called Life” and was one of the actors who starred on the “Baywatch” series. In 2002, however, everything changed for Langer when she met Charles Courtenay, then-heir to the Earl of Devon. It was a classic case of love at first sight for both, and in 2005, the couple married.
In 2015, Charles inherited the title of Earl of Devon due to his father’s passing and Langer became a countess. That same year, the former actress, her husband and their two children moved to their new royal address: Powderham Castle in Devon, U.K. Unfortunately, Langer also developed the muscle disorder fibromyalgia, but she manages to campaign to raise awareness.
Charlene Wittstock: Princess of Monaco
Wittstock, born in 1978, is a former award-winning Olympic swimming champion from South Africa. She met her future husband, Prince Albert, in 2000, during an international swimming event in Monaco. The two were first spotted together as a couple in 2006, and following a long courtship, became married in July 2011.
Despite the significant age difference between the two — Prince Albert is 20 years Wittstock’s senior — and the prince’s pre-marriage reputation as a playboy, their marriage has survived. In 2014, the couple had twins: Jacques Honoré Rainier and Gabriella Thérèse Marie. With her competitive swimming days far behind her, Princess Charlene’s days are filled with caring for her young twins and doing foundation work.
Click to read more about Meghan Markle and other Americans made royal by marriage.
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