We know that Meghan Markle is not technically a princess in her own right — though “Her Royal Highness Princess Harry of Wales” is one of her titles — but she’s the closest thing we have right now to a real life American princess.
That’s certainly fun for us, but Markle didn’t exactly invent the practice of leaving American life for a crown of her own. In fact, there are almost a dozen women who have paved the way for her, becoming princesses and even queens after being born in the United States.
Here’s what you should know about 9 of our favorite American royals — MVP Meghan Markle excluded.
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1. Kelly Rondestvedt
Princess Kelly of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the royal house that included Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, grew up in the royal land of Florida. The investment banker worked out in California before meeting Prince Hubertus, and from then on her life basically followed the plot line of a Disney channel princess movie.
Today, Kelly and Hubertus have three children together, Princess Katharina, Prince Philipp, and Princess Madeleine. How’s that for a happy ending?
2. Grace Kelly
An American princess list without Grace Kelly isn’t really a princess list, if you ask us. The late icon famously put her acting career on hold to marry Rainier III, the Prince of Monaco, which made her the Princess of Monaco.
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3. Rita Hayworth
Like Grace Kelly, Hayworth made a name for herself on screen as a Hollywood star, but also like Kelly, she became a royal. After breaking up with Orson Welles, Hayworth married Prince Aly Khan, son of Sultan Muhammed Shah. Hayworth and Khan divorced only a few years later, but for a brief time, she was a true American princess.
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4. Sarah Butler
Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan was born Sarah Butler in Houston, Texas (How’s that for a name change?). The 46-year-old global health advocate and champion of women’s reproductive rights married Prince Zeid Raad Al Hussein in 2000. Interestingly enough, she and her family now live in New York.
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5. Lee Radziwill
Yes, Jackie Kennedy’s kid sister had her own friends in high places. After her first marriage dissolved, Lee married Stanislaw Albrecht Radziwill, a Polish prince. They stayed together for 15 years before splitting.
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6. Marie Chantal Miller
To say 50-year-old Marie-Chantal’s life is global is kind of an understatement. The crown princess of Greece’s parents are American and Ecuadorian. The Grecian royal was raised in Hong Kong before leaving for Switzerland and Paris, but was baptized at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.
RELATED: Why Meghan Markle Will Never Be “Her Royal Highness Princess Meghan”
Of course, once she met and fell in love with Prince Pavlos, she became an IRL Grecian princess.
7. Kendra Spears
Spears is one of the youngest American princesses alive right now at age 30, having married Prince Rahim Aga Khan back in 2013. The former Seattle-born fashion model is now called Princess Salwa Aga Khan and has two kids with her husband.
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8. Hope Cooke
Back in the late ’50s, when college freshman Hope Cooke was traveling abroad through Sarah Lawrence College in India, she met Palden Thondup Namgyal — the future king of the Kingdom of Sikkim — and didn’t look back.
Despite her young age, they married and she renounced her American citizenship after two years of dating, but their marriage was reportedly full of drama to the point that the New York Times called it a “fairytale turned nightmare.” Predictably, the couple then divorced.
9. Lisa Halaby
New Jersey native Lisa Halaby eventually became Queen Noor of Jordan after marrying King Hussein and becoming his fourth spouse. King Hussein passed away in 1999, and Queen Noor continues to work globally on environmental and education issues.
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