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What Kept Royal Women From Around The World Busy Before They Became Royal

Meghan Markle, an American actress with no royal lineage, has just taken Prince Harry off the market. Life is sure to change for her once they tie the knot, the same way that life changed for other royal women who were once commoners before marrying into monarchy — something once unheard of in the histories of many of the world's monarchies. So what were some of these non-royal up to before they become queens and princesses? Take a look. 

Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge 

Photo by Laura Warshauer 


With her beautiful wardrobe and glossy hair, Kate Middleton may be the most recognizable female royal of our time (aside from the Queen, of course!). She's engaged in countless philanthropy efforts these days and is also a full-time mom, but did you know that she worked in her family business before becoming a member of British royalty? Yup, she worked a full-time job just like many of us. The History of Art degree-holder ran Party Pieces, a party needs supplier, alongside her parents, where she was in charge of the company's marketing and product design and production. She also worked as a part-time buyer for the clothing company, Jigsaw Junior. Before being thrust into the public eye, this busy lady de-stressed after a long work day by playing a few tennis matches, going swimming, sailing, painting, and taking photographs. Being well-rounded then has certainly helped her keep up with the demands of being the Duchess to the Duke of Cambridge. 


Meghan Markle 


Did anyone predict that Rachel Zane was going to marry a real-life prince one day? Probably not. Meghan Markle, a Hollywood actress best known for her role on television show Suits, was recently engaged to Prince Harry. While not officially part of British monarchy just yet, Meghan is expected to make a handful of lifestyle adjustments to prep herself for this new role. After all, life as dictated by Buckingham Palace couldn't be any more different than life Tinseltown. We've noticed that her clothing choices seem to shift to more polished ensembles now, and on top of that, she has a list of royal protocols to learn by heart (i.e.: mastering her curtsy, properly addressing other royals, polishing banquet etiquette, appropriately posing for photos, and even calculating how much public affection with Prince Harry she can afford). We can't wait to see Meghan's transformation unfold!  


Queen Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano of Spain


Image taken from Boletín informativo presentado por Letizia Ortiz 2000 from YouTube channel letiziaortiz1972

When it comes to Spain's Queen Letizia, who is married to King Felipe VI, don't let her pretty face fool you into thinking she's anything less than a woman who knows how to work hard to succeed. Prior to marrying into Spanish royalty, she was a journalist that wrote for Spanish newspapers and was a respected news anchor for nightly news program, Telediario. She married King Felipe VI (who was then still a prince) in 2004. Interestingly, as Spain's reigning queen, she has unconsciously become a shining beacon for Spain's fashion industry and brands thanks to her phenomenal style choices (we dare you to not be green with envy when you see how stunning she looks in that olive green cape dress creative by Spanish designer Juanjo Oliva) — a ray of light for the Spanish economy that is findings creative ways to recover from a recession. She's a modern day queen, and she knows just how to rock it — elegantly, of course. 


Charlene Wittstock, Princess of Monaco


Like mother-in-law, like daughter-in-law. As reigning Princess of Monaco, Charlene Wittstock has followed in the footsteps of her mother-in-law, Grace Kelly. Born in what is now known as Zimbabwe and raised in South Africa, she too was not of royal lineage. Rather, the sporty Charlene enjoyed competitive swimming and even represented her country in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney with a team (they finished in fifth place, by the way). With water truly being her element, she met future husband Prince Albert II at a swimming competition in Monaco, and would become his wife 10 years later. Now as a European royalty, this previous athlete has been an advocate for the Special Olympics as she believes in the empowering experiences of sport. 


Masako Owada, Crown Princess of Japan 

Photo from Associated Press/East News 

Not a lot is known about the Japanese royal family as they are known to be one of the world's most conservative and low-key monarchs out there. The addition of Crown Princess Masako Owada to the family was a huge break from tradition (that proved to be a welcome one), considering that she wasn't just not royal, but was raised in the United States for majority of her life. Before taking on the full-time role of helping rule Japan alongside Crown Prince Naruhito, she majored in Economics at Harvard University, pursued further studies in International Relations and Law at Oxford and the University of Tokyo, and worked tirelessly in the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Underneath that delicate and refined facade is an educated woman who is without a doubt qualified to fill her post. 

Sorry, Disney classics, but these women have proven that it takes so much more to become a real-life princess than just having a great singing voice and an uncanny ability to communicate with animals. Beauty, brains, and  — that's the new formula!

Cover and content images by Stephen Lock