Back in the day, royal romantic pursuits were typically limited to marrying some distant cousin. You laugh, but Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip are both the great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria, who married her own first cousin. Thankfully, the royals have oh-so-graciously allowed some commoners to infiltrate their ranks in recent years. And while Meghan Markle may be the only duchess to have two Hallmark movies on her IMDB page, she is hardly the first celebrity to rub shoulders with the royals.
Here are 21 stars who have (reportedly) enjoyed romances with royals, members of nobility and other assorted aristocrats. Is there a Tinder for HRHs we should know about?
1. Grace Kelly
Meghan Markle’s Suits departure isn’t unprecedented; Grace Kelly also gave up her acting career when she married Monaco’s Prince Rainier III, whom she first met at the Cannes Film Festival. Her last movie was the 1956 musical comedy High Society, which co-starred Frank Sinatra and her ex-boyfriend Bing Crosby. Grace wore her own Cartier engagement ring throughout filming.
2. Olivia Wilde
Before settling down with Jason Sudeikis, Olivia was married to filmmaker, photographer and musician Tao Ruspoli – the son of Italian aristocrat Alessandro Ruspoli, the 9th Prince of Cerveteri. The couple split in 2011 after eight years of marriage.
3. Ellie Goulding
There aren’t many folks who can claim they’ve dated a royal and had a song on the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack. In fact, there’s just one: singer Ellie Goulding, who squirmed when confronted about (pre-Meghan) reports that she and Prince Harry were an item.
4. Rita Hayworth
The Old Hollywood icon put her film career on hold when she married Prince Aly Khan, a descendant of the Iranian royal family and son of Sultan Muhammed Shah (aka Aga Khan III) in 1949. The couple divorced in 1953 after clashing over how to raise their daughter Princess Yasmin Aga Khan – not to mention the prince’s rumoured affair with Oscar-winning actress Joan Fontaine.
5. Diane von Fürstenberg
The famed fashion designer was known as Her Serene Highness Princess Diane of Fürstenberg during her short marriage to Prince Egon of the German noble house of Fürstenberg. She lost her title when they divorced, but that DVF name is now rooted in sartorial history.
6. Naomi Campbell
Monaco’s Albert II was quite the playboy in his day. His girlfriends reportedly included Naomi Campbell, and Google Images is teeming with PDAs (hugs, hand-holding, feeding him with her very own supermodel hands). Things must have ended on friendly terms, as Naomi was invited to the then-Prince’s 2011 wedding to South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock.
7. Gad Elmaleh
The Moroccan-French comedian – whom you may recognise from Priceless, Midnight in Paris and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee – was in a relationship with Princess Caroline of Monaco’s daughter Charlotte Casiraghi until 2015. They have a son together.
8. Gene Tierney
Prince Aly Khan was still legally married to Rita Hayworth when he popped the question to the classic film star Gene Tierney. His father, Aga Khan III, reportedly rejected the relationship, and they split after a year-long engagement.
9. Cressida Bonas
You may have seen Prince Harry’s actress ex – they dated from 2012 to 2014 – in films like 2017’s Tulip Fever and The Bye Bye Man.
10. Claudia Schiffer
Monaco’s then-Prince Albert II denied being ‘romantically involved’ with the supermodel in a 1993 profile, insisting that the ‘hoopla’ and ‘high visibility’ of their relationship ‘scared [him].’ That said, the pair did spend much of the early ’90s together, and Claudia was rumoured to have rejected the royal’s engagement proposal.
11. Rob Lowe
The Parks and Recreation actor nearly made the leap from Brat Packer to Monaco consort when he had a fling with Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, the singer-model daughter of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III. According to his autobiography, Stories I Only Tell My Friends, Rob moved into the royal’s Paris apartment the day after they met in 1986, and their romance involved lots of lie-ins, vodka tonics and clubbing.
12. Gwyneth Paltrow
The queen of Goop has been linked to two current heads of state. Paltrow denied rumors of a romance with Spain’s Felipe VI (who was then *just* a prince) in 2002, the same year she met future ex-husband Chris Martin. She’s also one of many actresses – including Brooke Shields and Sharon Stone – said to have dated Albert II of Monaco.
13. Casper Van Dien
The Starship Troopers actor split from actress wife Catherine Oxenberg (Dynasty) in 2015. Catherine is the daughter of Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia, and is the only royal to have hosted Saturday Night Live. She’s also a second cousin once removed of England’s Prince Charles, which must have made for an awkward family reunion when she played Princess Diana in the 1982 TV movie The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana.
14. Sophie Winkleman
Princess Michael of Kent has problematic jewellery and a famous daughter-in-law. Sophie Winkleman, best known for playing Big Suze in the cult British show Peep Show and a recurring role on Two and a Half Men, became Lady Frederick Windsor when she married the son of Prince Michael of Kent, first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II.
15. Zsa Zsa Gabor
Who needs royal blood when you’ve got a chequebook? The legendary actress’s ninth husband, Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt (also known as Prince Frédéric of Anhalt, Duke of Saxony and Westphalia, Count of Ascania) bagged his royal title by paying the money-strapped Princess Marie Auguste of Anhalt to adopt him as an adult. Sensing an opportunity, he and Zsa Zsa then went on to adopt at least 10 grown men for large sums of money. Zsa Zsa, who died in 2016 at age 99, also took to styling herself as Princess von Anhalt, Duchess of Saxony. A truly extra move.
16. Princess Sofia
This should give hope to reality stars and A Christmas Prince fans across the land: before she married Sweden’s seriously dreamy Prince Carl Philip in 2015, Princess Sofia was Sofia Kristina Hellqvist, a glamour model who was famous, in part, for kissing adult film star Jenna Jameson on the mid-00s reality show Paradise Hotel.
17. Jessica Chastain
The Molly’s Game star could claim countess status thanks to her marriage last summer to Gian Luca Passi de Preposulo. Though he makes his living as a fashion executive, Passi de Preposulo is a member of an Italian aristocratic family dating back to the 1300s.
18. Jamie Lee Curtis
As the daughter of actors Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, Jamie Lee Curtis is Hollywood royalty in her own right. As the wife of British actor Christopher Guest, the Halloween star is also a bonafide member of nobility. Jamie officially became Lady Haden-Guest in 1996, when her husband inherited the title of Baron upon his father’s death.
19. Laura Harring
The Mulholland Drive actress and former Miss USA became Countess von Bismarck-Schönhausen when she married Count Carl-Eduard von Bismarck-Schönhausen, the great-great-grandson of German chancellor Otto von Bismarck, in 1987. The marriage ended two years later because, as Laura has claimed, she refused to give up her acting career.
20. Lee Radziwill
Jacqueline Kennedy married a future president. Meanwhile, her sister married a prince. Lee Bouvier’s second husband was Polish prince Stanislaw Albrecht Radziwill, who was distantly related through marriage to yet another man who was famously assassinated: Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria.
21. AJ Langer
One day you’re hanging out with Tino, the next you’re trying on tiaras. This My So-Called Life star became Lady Courtenay when she married British attorney Charles Courtenay in 2004. Since the death of his father in 2015, she’s been upgraded to Countess of Devon. And yes, they have a castle.
Via Marie Claire USA