Royal weddings over the last century have run the gamut. They’ve ranged from quiet partnerships to over-the-top royal weddings in Westminster Abbey that have ended in heartbreak. The royal marriages of the last 100 years have been as varied, fascinating, romantic, and troubled as the people who have married into the royal family - and they've had mixed success.
Can royalty marry commoners? Absolutely. While the public generally assumes that royals are only supposed to marry other royals, there are plenty of Cinderella stories in the last 100 years that turn that notion on its head.
The children and grandchildren of monarchs have married both elites and people from more humble backgrounds. Prior to 2018, the last commoner to marry British Royalty was Catherine Middleton in 2011, but that title has gone to Meghan Markle when she wed Prince Harry in 2018. In fact, it is becoming more and more common for royals - both in the United Kingdom and elsewhere - to opt for common spouses over royal ones. Though members of the British Royal Family have had to seek the monarch’s permission before marrying - thanks to the Royal Marriages Act of 1774, which wasn’t repealed until 2013 - they have increasingly chosen to marry outsiders. Indeed, people who have married into the British Royal Family have come from all walks of life: artists, athletes, attention-seekers, and homebodies have all joined the House of Windsor.
- Born into one of the most storied aristocratic families in England in 1961 on the queen's own estate at Sandringham
- Married Prince Charles - the heir to the throne - in 1981 to great fanfare, but the marriage was a total disaster, and they divorced in 1996
- Became known as the "People's Princess" for her tireless devotion to charities and bringing attention to various causes - like landmines, AIDS, and homelessness - with her trademark warmth and style
- Died tragically in a car crash in Paris in 1997 at the age of 36
Age: Dec. at 36 (1961-1997)
Born: Diana Frances Spencer
- Was born in 1982 to a family that became millionaires through their party supply business and met Prince William when they went to University of St. Andrews together
- Their marriage at Westminster Abbey in April 2011 was a worldwide spectacle
- She is best known for her sense of style and has been credited for spearheading the Heads Together Campaign, a major mental health initiative from Kensington Palace
Born: Kate Middleton
- Was the daughter of a Scottish lord and spent her teenaged years getting to know wounded World War I soldiers who were being nursed at her stately homes
- Married the future King George VI in 1923 - but only after she had refused his first marriage proposal to her
- Britain's darkest hours were some of her finest, and her strength led her husband and the nation through World War II
Age: Dec. at 102 (1900-2002)
Born: Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon
- Has perhaps the humblest origins of any current Royal Family member: her father was a salesman and her mother was a secretary
- Had a successful career of her own in PR before marrying Prince Edward, the queen's youngest child, in 1999
- Despite working tirelessly at royal engagements, she does not stand on ceremony and is known to be low key
Born: Sophie Helen Rhys-Jones