The Different Ethnicities, Nationalities, Birth Status, and Professions of Royal Spouses

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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.

Multiethnic Ancestry




Prince Maximilian of Liechtenstein married Miss Angela Brown in 1999. They are still happily married today. They have a son, Alfons.





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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

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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


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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

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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.


Previously Married


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As everyone alive likely knows, Prince Charles and  Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall are both divorced.

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Princess Anne is divorced, but she is Vice Admiral Sir Tim Lawrence’s only wife.

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Queen Letizia of Spain, once a t.v. news anchor,  was married to a teacher before Spain’s then Crown Prince.

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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.

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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.









Who will the pages and bridesmaids be at the royal wedding? What will they wear?

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Prince Harry is giving many a shout-out to his mother’s family in his wedding, apparently. Lady Jane Fellowes is to do a reading–a very nice touch. So, can we look for any other Spencer touches? And, will any little Spencers or Spencer cousins be in the wedding? Today I’m looking at the possibilities.

Who? And, what will they wear?

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Everyone wants to see Prince George and Princess Charlotte in these roles, of course, but who else might be asked? Tradition dictates that the couple’s godchildren should be asked, if of an appropriate age.  Prince Charles’ godchildren made up the majority of the children in that wedding–though Diana was able to ask a few children, too. Relatives come next. Princess Anne had her little brother and little cousin. Prince Andrew and Sarah had nieces, nephews and Sarah’s half-siblings as well as godchildren and friends’ children as their attendants. Queen Elizabeth had two of her youngest first cousins as pages and friends and relatives among her bridesmaids.

A nice gesture would be to invite one or more of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester’s grandchildren since they have just given up their long-time home at Kensington Palace so Harry and Meg can have it as their family-to-be home next door to William and Kate.


First the Paiges


Sir Joshua Reynolds: “Viscount Althorp”

Inspiration From a Family Masterpiece

As a little boy, Harry was a page in his uncle, Earl Spencer’s wedding. The outfit he and the other boys wore (see photo at the top of this post) was based on the painting above. I think this would be a sweet way to incorporate his mother’s family–by using this outfit for the boys, but perhaps with a different color sash?


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Prince Edward and Sophie choose an historic theme as well.

Unlike American weddings, the little boys do not appear in mini-tuxedos in British weddings–especially not aristocratic weddings. Of course, Meghan could go American and have them wear bow-ties and suspenders–that’s very trendy right now, but probably not very likely. Prince William wore a similar look way back in the day for the wedding of Churchill’s grandson. Even some aristocratic weddings can be pretty far “out there” with dress, but I don’t imagine St. George’s Chapel will see attendants in Star Trek uniform or Hogwarts gowns.

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Inspiration From the Military




Photo Credit: (Charles & Diana) Patrick Lichfield. (Andrew & Sarah)

(William & Catherine) Hugo Bernand

Miniature uniforms are a staple in British high society weddings. Harry’s regiment is part of the Household Cavalry–the Blues and Royals. It happens to be the same regiment that Andrew Parker-Bowles belongs to.  Harry is also Captain General of the Royal Marines–an honorary position. This is the uniform he is likely to wear, as it is the one with the senior-most rank. At his parents’ wedding, the two pageboys wore naval uniforms because Charles, like his father, grandfather and two great-grandfathers (George V and Prince Louis of Battenberg) both served in the navy. Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s wedding featured pageboys dressed as officers or ratings of Nelson’s Royal Navy era.


Scotland the Brave





Kilts are another favorite for page boys. Queen Elizabeth and Princess Anne had these for the little boys in their wedding parties. Anne famously declared she did not want “yards of uncontrollable children” in her wedding and chose only her youngest brother, Prince Edward, and their cousin, Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones (now Chatto).

For Harry’s wedding, the boys could wear one of the royal tartans as the did in Her Majesty’s and Anne’s weddings. Or, if, as expected, Harry is made a Duke, then one of the customary three titles will be from Scotland so the boys could wear that tartan. Prince Charles has the green Lord of the Isles tartan, for example.

Here are some of the possible Pages:

Prince George of Cambridge, age–about to be 5.

Jasper Dyer, age 6, Godson of Prince Harry

James, Viscount Severn, age 10. The Queen’s youngest grandchild. His sister, Lady Louise, was in William and Harry’s wedding.


Xan, Baron Culloden, age 11, grandson of the Duke of Gloucester  [The Duke is the Queen’s first cousin]

Master Rufus Gillman, age 6, grandson of the Duke of Gloucester

Master Tane Lewis, age 6, grandson of the Duke of Gloucester

Master Albert Windsor, age 11, grandson of the Duke of Kent (the Queen’s first cousin)

Master Leopold Windsor, age 9, grandson of the Duke of Kent

Master Louis Windsor, age 4, grandson of the Duke of Kent

Master Robert Fellowes, age 3, child of Harry’s first cousin (Lady Jane Spencer’s grandson)

Master _____ Pettman,  age ___, son of Harry’s first cousin, Laura Fellowes Pettman

Master _____ Pettman, age ___, son of Harry’s first cousin, Laura Fellowes Pettman

Gus Lopes, age 9, grandson of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. His sister, Eliza, was in Wiliam’s wedding.

Louis Lopes, age 9, Gus’s twin brother.

Freddy Parker-Bowles, age 8,   grandson of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.


The Bridesmaids


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The Duke and Duchess of Kent’s wedding (above) featured not only the Duke and his brother, Prince Michael of Kent, but Princess Anne and Lady Jane Spencer Fellowes as bridesmaids.  Harry’s first cousin, twice removed (the Duke of Kent) is godfather to his maternal aunt Jane. How about that?

The girls’ dresses will match the era and style of the boys’ costumes.  They are normally appropriate to the child’s age. No mini-adult strapless gowns or anything of that sort.

Here are some of the possible bridesmaids:


The Royal  Girls: (well, not truly “royal”, but from Harry’s paternal family)

Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, age 3.

Lady Louise Windsor, 14, was also in Prince William’s wedding. She could be the senior bridesmaid.

Savannah Phillips, age 7, daughter of Princess Anne’s son, Peter Phillips.

Isla Phillips, age 6, Savannah’s sister.

Mia Tindall, age 4, daughter of Princess Anne’s daughter, Zara Phillips Tindall.

Maud Windsor, age 4, granddaughter Prince Michael of Kent–nice traditional tie-in as her grandfather was one of the Queen’s two pageboys.  Her mother, Sophie Winkleman, is an actress, too.

Lady Cosima Windsor,  age 8, granddaughter of the Duke of Gloucester. The Duke’s late brother was a pageboy at the Queen’s wedding.

Lyla Gilman, age 8, granddaughter of the Duke of Gloucester.

Senna Lewis, age  8, granddaughter of the Duke of Gloucester.

Lola Parker-Bowles, age 11, granddaughter of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

The Spencer girls:

Lady Lara Spencer, age 12, daughter of Earl Spencer and his 2nd wife. She could be the Senior bridesmaid.

Lady Charlotte Spencer, age 6, daughter of Earl Spencer and his 3rd wife.

Isabella Hutt, age 4, Lady Sarah Spencer McCorquodale’s granddaughter. (Sarah is the other Spencer who dated Prince Charles).