Friday, April 29, 2011

0 When royals tie the knot with commoners

Agence France-Presse

LONDON—Britain's Prince William, who marries Catherine Middleton on April 29, becomes the latest royal around the world to tie the knot with a commoner.

Marriages between royalty and commoners are becoming more and more frequent:

1936: Britain's king Edward VIII abdicates rather than be prevented from marrying commoner Wallis Simpson, a US socialite who had been twice divorced, after less than a year on the throne. They become the duke and duchess of Windsor.

The couple spend most of the rest of their lives in France; he dies in 1972 and she in 1986.

1956: Prince Rainier III of Monaco marries the US actress Grace Kelly.

1968: Norwegian crown prince Harald marries Sonja Haraldsen, daughter of a clothing merchant. The wedding meets with widespread disapproval at the time. They have been King Harald V and Queen Sonja since 1991.

1976: King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden marries a commoner, German-born Silvia Sommerlath.

1986: Prince Andrew, third child of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, marries the commoner Sarah Ferguson. The couple separated in 1992.

1993: Prince Abdullah of Jordan marries Rania al-Yassin, a business administration graduate from a Palestinian family. Now King Abdullah II and Queen Rania.

1997: Infanta Cristina, the youngest daughter of Spanish King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, marries Inaki Urdangarin, an Olympic handball player of Basque origin. They are now the duke and duchess of Palma de Mallorca.

1999: Britain's Prince Edward, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II, marries advertising executive Sophie Rhys-Jones, the daughter of a tire salesman.

2001: Norwegian Crown Prince Haakon marries commoner Mette-Marit Tjessem Hoeiby. She already had a son from a previous relationship.

2001: King Mohammed VI of Morocco marries Salma Bennani, daughter of a schoolteacher. She is known as Princess Lalla Salma.

2002: Dutch Prince Willem-Alexander, the heir apparent, marries Maxima Zorreguieta, whose father was involved in the Argentine military junta.

2002: Princess Maertha Louise of Norway, the king's daughter, marries author Ari Behn.

2003: Belgium's Prince Laurent, the youngest son of King Albert II, is the only member of the royal family to have married a commoner: Claire Coombs, a surveyor of British-Belgian descent.

2004: Danish Crown Prince Frederik marries Australian advertising executive Mary Donaldson.

2004: Spain's Crown Prince Felipe marries Letizia Ortiz, a television presenter who was previously married.

2005: The sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, marries television journalist Azrinaz Mazhar Hakim. They had two children and divorced in 2010. She was his second second wife.

2005: Princess Sayako, the only daughter of Emperor Akihito of Japan, marries commoner Yoshiki Kuroda, a town planner. She left the imperial family upon marriage.

2010: Swedish Crown Princess Victoria marries her former personal trainer Daniel Westling.

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