Five royals who married commoners, from Harry and Meghan to Albert and Charlene
- Japan’s Princess Ayako this week married her commoner partner, Kei Moriya
- Kings of Jordan and Bhutan among others who did so
Japan’s Princess Ayako on Monday married her partner Kei Moriya at a traditional ceremony at Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine. The princess tied the knot with Moriya, a 32-year-old employee of shipping company Nippon Yusen.
Women who marry into the imperial family become members of the family, but those who marry commoners, like Ayako, must leave.
Japanese royals have been given freedom to marry whom they choose for at least three generations.
Here are five other times when commoners married royals.
1. Jetsun Pema becomes queen consort of Bhutan
Jetsun Pema was an ordinary Bhutanese girl-next-door when she first met her husband-to-be aged just seven at a family picnic. He was 17-year-old Crown Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, now King of Bhutan. On October 13, 2011, the king married his 20-year-old bride in a traditional Buddhist ceremony.
Before taking the throne, the queen attended Regent’s University in London, where she studied international relations, psychology, and art history. The king studied at Britain’s Oxford University. They are both art lovers.
2. Rania Al Yassin becomes the queen of Jordan
Rania was working for Apple in Jordan’s capital Amman when she met the then-Prince Abdullah II at a dinner party hosted by his sister. According to sources it was love at first sight.
They got engaged two months later. Abdullah II became the King of Jordan in February, 1999. A month later the couple married.
They now have four children.
3. Mary Elizabeth Donaldson becomes Princess in Denmark
Prince Frederik of Denmark met Tasmanian-born Mary Donaldson at the Slip Inn during the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. The prince introduced himself as “Fred,” and did not tell Mary he was a prince until the height of their courtship.
They tied the knot on May 14, 2004, and now have four children.
4. Charlene Wittstock becomes Princess of Monaco
Albert II, Prince of Monaco, and Charlene Wittstock wed on July 1, 2011 at the Prince’s Palace of Monaco in what was described as Monaco’s “biggest party in 55 years” (well, since the wedding of Albert’s parents, Rainier III and Grace Kelly).
The couple met in 2000 at a swimming competition – she was a Zimbabwean-South African former Olympic swimmer. They announced their engagement on June 23, 2010.
5. Meghan Markle becomes Duchess of Sussex
How could we not include the high-profile marriage of Britain’s Prince Harry to American actress, Meghan Markle?
The wedding of Harry and Meghan was held on May 19, 2018, in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle after the pair met in London through friends in July 2016.
The relationship had its downs – in November 2016 Harry attacked the media over its “abuse and harassment” of his girlfriend (Markle is mixed race). On October 15 this year news broke that Markle was pregnant.