Less than 100 years ago, Queen Elizabeth’s uncle, Edward VIII, had to give up his throne to marry a twice-divorced American. Today, ss the entire world now knows, Meghan Markle, late of the tv show Suits, is marrying Prince Harry–grandson of Queen Elizabeth. Many are shocked less by her being divorce or even being an actress [more on that in a minute] than by the fact that her parents are of different races.
While marrying a person of color is not the norm in a European royal family, it is not without precedent. Nor is it without precedent in the extended House of Windsor. In fact, being an actress is nothing new in the ranks of this generation’s British “semi-“royals. Meghan will be the THIRD actress marrying a descendant of King George V and Queen Mary!! There are more among the descendants of Queen Victoria, too!
Let’s take a look.
Prince Maximilian of Liechtenstein married Miss Angela Brown in 1999. They are still happily married today. They have a son, Alfons.
Prince Joachim, Queen Margrethe’s younger son, first married Alexandra Manley who is of Chinese and German descent. Their sons are Prince Nicholi and Prince Felix. The couple divorced in 2005. Joachim’s father, the late Prince Henrik, was French.
It’s worth noting that the Queen of the Netherlands, Maxima, is an Argentinian.
The Extended House of Windsor
A Nigerian-born actress married to the George V’s great-grandson
The Queen’s late first cousin, George, Earl of Harewood, (George V’s eldest grandchild) has a son, the Hon. James Lascelles, whose third wife, Joy Elias-Rilwan, is Nigerian. James is a musician and Joy is…wait for it! An actress. James’ previous wives were Americans.
Plus, it’s not often that a title descends to the second son when the first is still living, but that will be the case when James’ older brother, David (Lord Harewood) dies. His first son was born out-of-wedlock. Like Edwina, Countess Mountbatten (Prince Philip’s aunt) David, James, and brother Jeremy, had a Jewish grandfather.
The actress who married George V’s great-grandson
Actress Sophie Winkleman is married to Lord Frederick Windsor, son of the Queen’s first cousin, Prince Michael of Kent. She previously played Princess Eleanor in the t.v. series The Palace, but is better known in the U.S. for her role in Two and a Half Men and for playing Susan in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in the Narnia series. Lord and Lady Freddie have two daughters the same ages as Prince George and Princess Charlotte. The elder, Maud, is a classmate of Prince George.
The Maori carpenter who married George V’s great-granddaughter
Photo credits: (right) en.academic.ru and (left) credit
Gary Lewis married the Duke of Gloucester’s elder daughter, Lady Davina Windsor. They now have two children and are seen each year on the balcony after Trooping the Colour. He is Maori and has a son by a previous, unmarried, relationship.
Children Born Out-of-Wedlock No Longer a Scandal
This, too, no longer raises an eyebrow. The future Queen of Norway, Mette-Marit, has a son by a previous, unmarried, relationship as well. And, the other Prince Louis– Louis of Luxembourg, had his first child in his late teens! He and the boy’s mother married eventually and both of their sons are now in the Line of Succession. Sadly, the couple has since divorced.
In the Queen’s generation of royals, her paternal first cousins, George (Earl of Harewood) and Gerald Lascelles (his brother) both had sons born out-of-wedlock. They both eventually married their child’s mother. Their sons have carried on the tradition with illegitimate children of their own. As mentioned above one of these children was robbed of his birthright by this status. Her Majesty’s cousin’s [Princess Alexandra of Kent] daughter, Marina Ogilvy, was married while pregnant after creating a scandal in the press by sharing her parents’ reaction to her news. She, too, has long since divorced her children’s’ father.
As everyone alive likely knows, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall are both divorced.
Princess Anne is divorced, but she is Vice Admiral Sir Tim Lawrence’s only wife.
Queen Letizia of Spain, once a t.v. news anchor, was married to a teacher before Spain’s then Crown Prince.
Princess Michael of Kent was married before, but she is Prince Michael’s only wife. She was an interior decorator and a writer who was caught in a plagiarism scandal.
Sylvanna, Countess of St. Andrews, a history professor, daughter-in-law of the Queen’s cousin (the Duke of Kent) is divorced. She is her husband’s, George’s (Earl of St. Andrews) only wife.