Weird History

Every Person Who Married Into The Royal Family In The Last Century, Ranked 

Setareh Janda
534.9k votes 83.3k voters 2.2M views 30 items

List Rules Vote up the most inspiring figures to have married into the Royal House of Windsor.

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have had to seek the monarch’s permission before marrying - thanks to the Royal Marriages Act of 1774, which wasn’t repealed until 2013 - they have increasingly chosen to marry outsiders.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.

Diana, Princess of Wales... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Every Person Who Married Into The Royal Family In The Last Century, Ranked
Photo:  John Mathew Smith/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0
  • 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

Children: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (b. 1982), Prince Harry of Wales (b. 1984)

Should they be higher or lower?

More Diana, Princess of Wales 

#19 of 275 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #9 of 926 People We Wish Were Still Alivefeaturing Prince Charles And Princess Diana's 'Fairytale Romance' Was Less Lovely Than It Looked

Catherine, Duchess of Ca... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Every Person Who Married Into The Royal Family In The Last Century, Ranked
Photo:  Surtsicna/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Age: 38

Born: Kate Middleton

Children: Prince George of Cambridge (b. 2013), Princess Charlotte of Cambridge (b. 2015), Prince Louis of Cambridge (b. 2018)

Should they be higher or lower?

More Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge 

#57 of 202 The Most Beautiful Women Of 2020, Ranked #55 of 556 The Most Beautiful Women Of 2019, Rankedfeaturing A Day In The Life Of William And Kate

Queen Elizabeth The Quee... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Every Person Who Married Into The Royal Family In The Last Century, Ranked
Photo:  Richard Stone/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Age: Dec. at 102 (1900-2002)

Born: Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon

Children: Elizabeth II (b. 1926), Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon (1930-2002)

Should they be higher or lower?

More Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother 

#33 of 51 The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Timefeaturing Elizabeth II's Mother, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, Was As Feared As She Was Loved

Sophie, Countess of Wess... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Every Person Who Married Into The Royal Family In The Last Century, Ranked
Photo: Carfax2/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0
  • 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

Age: 55

Born: Sophie Helen Rhys-Jones

Children: Lady Louise Windsor (b. 2003), James, Viscount Severn (b. 2007)

Should they be higher or lower?