The American actress Meghan Markle was not the first woman or man from the USA to marry into nobility or royalty. Already in the late 18th century the first American women married into noble families, and this continued all through the 19th century until today. According to Crowning Glory the American invasion in the British society really started with the marriage in 1874 of Jennie Jerome and Lord Randolph Churchill, a brother of the 8th Duke of Marlborough. They were the parents of Sir Winston Churchill.
The USA was full with rich heiresses, who had money but lacked a title. While in Great Britain only the eldest son of a nobleman would inherit the title, and younger ones would not be more than a Lord or Hon., in most European noble and royal families all members of a family had a title. Nobles and royals didn’t always have the money to keep up with a certain lifestyle. Of course some people married out of love, but often the exchange of titles and money was the most important reason to get married. When the heiress didn’t have as much money as she was expected to have, engagements could even be broken off. Nobles sometimes even advertised in a US-newspaper to find themselves a wife. In these times royals and nobles seldom married for love.
First it were mainly royal men marrying American women. Only after World War II it became more common for royal women also to marry Americans. Nowadays it is not very unusual for a royal anymore to marry someone who is not noble/royal, and even comes from another country. It also not necessarily leads to loosing succession rights to a throne. The world has become so much smaller that it is easier to meet people coming from other countries and even other cultures.
Who were the Americans that married into royal houses? I had a look at the royal houses over the past two centuries to see which Americans actually made it to royalty, sometimes even long before Meghan Markle was even born. Any more suggestions are welcome. I didn’t have a very close look at Americans marrying non-European royals and just entered a few known ones.
- Louise Augustine d’Arcy (Pennsylvania ca. 1820-Philadelphia, 19 December 1890) married in 1860 as his second wife Prince Adolf zur Lippe-Weissenfeld (1812-1888).
- Therese Eichhorn (Reading, Pennsylvania 12/15 May 1815-Carlisle 21 July 1859) married in 1839 as his first wife, Prince Adolf zur Lippe-Weissenfeld (1812-1888). Their issue used the surname Lippe.
- Marie Alice Heine (New Orleans, Louisiana, 10 February 1858-Paris, France, 22 December 1925) married secondly in 1889 (separated 1902) Prince Albert I of Monaco. She married firstly in 1875 the 7th Duke of Richelieu (1847-1880) and had issue. She had a German-French Jewish father and a French Alsatian mother and grew up in France.
- Elise Friederike Hensler (La Chaux-de Fonds, Switzerland/Vienna, Austria, 22 May 1836-Pena Castle, Portugal, 21 May 1929 married in 1869, King Ferdinand II of Portugal (1816-1885). She received 1869 the title Countess of Edla. She and her family moved to Boston, Massachusetts, USA, when she was 12 years old, and therefore by some is regarded as American, although most of her life she lived in Europe.
- Mary Esther Lee (New York City 3 October 1837-Hannover, Germany, 4 July 1914) married in 1864 as his second wife Prince Friedrich Emil August zu Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg (1800-1865), who was created Prince von Noer. No issue.
- Elizabeth Patterson (Baltimore, Maryland, 6 February 1785-Baltimore, Maryland, 4 April 1879) – whose father had come from Ireland – married in 1803 (annulled 1805) Prince Jérôme Bonaparte (1784-1860). Their son was born in Great Britain, but raised in the USA, married an American woman, as did their two grandsons The great-granddaughter, Louise, returned to Europe and married a nobleman, the great-grandson was born in Paris but returned to the USA, married and died there.
- MaryBeth Andrews (* Lynchburg, Virginia, 20 May 1964) married in 1999 as his second wife Prince Jan Hendrik zur Lippe-Weissenfeld (* USA 1970).
- Michael Dale Bain (* Rockwood, Tennessee, 4 January 1962) married in 1997 as her second husband Archduchess Constanza of Austria-Tuscany (* 1960), daughter of Archduke Stefan and Jerrine Soper (see below).
- Richard Dudley Baker (* Biddeford, Maine, 30 March 1936) married in 1999 Princess Marie Louise von Baden (* 1969). They have one daughter. From a previous marriage he has two daughters.
- Victoria Ann Bee (* New York 6 March 1951) married in 1973 Prince Georg von Hannover (* 1949). They have two daughters. Victoria is a daughter of Robert Bee and Countess Eleonore Fugger von Babenhausen.
- Thomas Beverly Birch (New York 27 September 1927-Newport Beach, California, 10 December 2016) married secondly (?) in Los Angeles, California, 1966 (divorced 1970). Princess Anna-Luise von Anhalt (1933-2003). They had one son.
- Harrison Day Blair (Sterling, Colorado, 18 November 1901-New York 27 February 1981) married in 1951 (divorced 1954) as her second husband Princess Gabrielle von und zu Liechtenstein (1905-1999).
- Elizabeth Ann Blanchette (* Peoria, Illinois, 22 January 1967) married in 1987 (divorced 1994) Archduke Christopher of Austria-Tuscany (* 1957), son of Archduke Stefan and Jerrine Soper (see below).
- Avery Brundage (Detroit, Michigan, 28 September 1887-Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, 8 May 1975) married in 1973 Princess Marianne Reuss (1936-2003). He was the fifth president of the International Olympic Committee.
- Margarita Carmen Cansino “Rita Hayworth” (Brooklyn, New York, 17 October 1918-Manhattan, New York, 14 May 1987) married thirdly in 1949 (divorced 1951) as his second wife Prince Aly Aga Khan (1911-1960). They had one daughter.
- Valeda Gay Cantoli married in 1991 at Clark County, Nevada, Prince Clemens zur Lippe-Weissenfeld (* 1937). She is likely from the USA.
- Ashley Byrd Carrell (Nashville, Tennessee, 23 August 1966-Hiram, Ohio, 24 October 2002) married in 1991 Archduke Anton of Austria-Tuscany (* 1964), son of Archduke Stefan and Jerrine Soper (see below).
- Sidney Ashley Chanler (New York 16 November 1905-New York 14 November 1994) married in 1934 (annuled 1954) Princess Maria Antonia de Bragança. They had issue.
- Hope Cooke (* San Francisco, California, 24 June 1940) married in 1963 (divorced 1980) the 12th Chogyal (King) of Sikkim (1923-1982). They had two children.
- Joan Douglas Dillon (* New York City, 31 January 1935) married in 1967 Prince Charles of Luxembourg (1927-1977). They had two children.
- John Howard Dobkin (* Hartford, Connecticut, 19 February 1942) married in 1969 (divorced 1994) Archduchess Maria Immaculada of Austria-Tuscany (* 1945).
- Cassandra Doswell (Lynchburg, Virginia, 10 April 1943-Madison Heights, Virginia, 6 March 2018),married in 1999 Prince Clemens zur Lippe-Weissenfeld (1937-before 2018).
- Alice Eilken (Chicago, Illinois, 30 May 1923-Skokie, Illinois, 21 October 1996) married in 1944 (divorced 1951) Prince Rostislav Alexandrovich of Russia (1902-1978). Their son and his descendants live in the USA.
- Audrey Emery (New York City 4/5 July 1904-West Palm Beach, Florida, 25 November 1971) married in 1926 Grand Duke Dimitri Pavlovich of Russia (1891-1942). Their descendants live in the USA and use the title Prince(ss) Romanovsky-Ilyinsky.
- Jean Ann French (Des Moines, Iowa, 12 October 1917-Honolulu, Hawaii, 28 July 2005) married in 1945 as his second wife Prince Johann von und zu Liechtenstein (1899-1979).
- Alice Gibson (New York 20 January 1894-New York 25 August 1960) married secondly in 1932 as his second wife Archduke Leopold of Austria-Tuscany (1897-1958), naturalized as US-citizen as Leopold Lorraine.
- Eleanor Margaret Green (New York 5 November 1895-Copenhagen 3 July 1966) married in 1924 Prince Viggo of Denmark (1893-1970). He rennounced his rights to the throne and became Prince Viggo, Count of Rosenborg. No children.
- Lisa Halaby (* Washington 23 August 1951) married in 1978 King Hussein I of Jordan (1935-1999). They had four children.
- Ellen Jane Hamilton (Atlanta, Georgia, 25 November 1922-Bad Homburg vor der Höhe, Germany, 18 October 2003) married in 1952 Prince Waldemar von Hessen (1919-2002), son of Elizabeth Reid Rogers, see below.
- Clyde Kenneth Harris (Maud, Oklahoma, 18 April 1918-Amarillo, Texas, 2 March 1958) married in 1949 Princess Cecilie of Prussia (1917-1975). They had one daughter.
- Dorothy Haydel (St Louis, Missouri, 29 May 1893-Kitzbühel, Austria, 11 April 1961) married secondly in 1950 (divorced) as his third wife Prince Ferdinand von und zu Liechtenstein (1901-1981).
- Peter Ladd Jensen (* San Diego, California, 16 February 1951) married in 1972 (divorced 1998) Princess Ubolratana of Thailand (* 1951).
- Eileen Johnson (Chester, England, 2 September 1922-New York 1 September 1985) married secondly in 1966 Hereditary Prince Carol Victor of Albania (1913-1973). No issue. She moved to the USA at the age of 3 and had an American mother.
- Tara Ninette Jones (* Lynchburg, Virginia, 26 May 1972) married in 1993 (divorced 1996/97) Prince Jan Hendrik zur Lippe-Weissenfeld (* 1970), who was born in the USA.
- Herman Jud (Hicksville, Long Island, New York, 14 February 1911-Harrisonburg, Virginia, 22 August 1987) married in 1946 Princess Xenia Georgievna of Russia (1903-1965).
- Grace Patricia Kelly (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 12 November 1929-La Colle, Monaco 14 September 1982) married in 1956 Prince Rainier III of Monaco (1923-2005). They had three children.
- Reginald Kazanjian (Newport, Rhode Island, 7 August 1905-Geneva, Switzerland, 7 August 1990) married in 1972 as her second husband Princess Anna Monika Pia of Saxony (1903-1976). His parents had come from Europe. No children.
- Walter Frederick Kingsland (New York 23 April 1888-New York 20 July 1961) married in 1928 Princess Marie Louise d’Orléans (1896-1973), as her second husband. They didn’t have children.
- Sumner Moore Kirby (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 5 September 1895-Leau, near the concentration camp Buchenwald, Germany, April 7 or 11, 1945) married in 1934 (divorced 1937) Princess Leonida Bagration of Georgia (1914-2010). They had one daughter, Helen Louise Kirby, in 1935. In 1948 Leonida married Grand Duke Vladimir of Russia and became the mother of Grand Duchess Maria. He had been married twice before.
- Lauren Ann Klaus (* Detroit, Michigan, 9 May 1956) married in 1989 as his second wife Archduke Peter of Austria-Tuscany (* 1959), son of Archduke Stefan and Jerrine Soper (see below).
- Elizabeth Jane Kunstadter (* Chicago, Illinois, 13 July 1966) married in New York 1992 Archduke Géza of Austria (* 1940). They had one daughter.
- William Bateman Leeds (New York City 19 September 1902-St Thomas, Virgin Islands, 31 December 1971) married in 1921 (divorced 1930) Princess Xenia Georgievna of Russia (1903-1965).
- Mark Lee Matheson (* Grosse Point, Michigan, 15 February 1958) married in 1987 (divorced 1995) Archduchess Constanza of Austria-Tuscany (* 1960), daughter of Archduke Stefan and Jerrine Soper (see below).
- Aleene McFarland (Parker County, Texas, 25 January 1902-Lubbock, Texas 10 March 1983) married in 1931 (divorced 1943) as his first wife Prince Johann von und zu Liechtenstein (1899-1979).
- Douglas Barton Miller (* San Francisco, California, 8 December 1929) married in 1970 Princess Marie-Alexandra zu Schleswig-Holstein (1927-2000).
- Marie-Chantal Miller (* London, UK, 17 September 1968) – an American citizen until 2011 – married in 1995 Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece. Her sister Alexandra married (divorced) Prince Alexandre von Fürstenberg.
- Julia Mullock (Pennsylvania 18 March 1928-Hawaii, USA, 26 November 2017) married in 1959 (divorced 1982) Prince Yi Gu of Korea (1931-2005). No issue.
- Jan Douglas Nesset (* Billings, Montana, 30 June 1960) married in 1999 Princess Christine-Elisabeth zur Lippe-Weissenfeld (* 1973), who was born in the USA.
- Isabel Neilson (New York City 3 February 1895-London 13 July 1981) married in 1932 as his third wife Prince Hermann von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1886-1964), who upon his first morganatic marriage in 1909 was created Count von Ostheim.
- Natalie Oelrichs (Cheyenne, Wyoming, 12 October 1880-San Francisco, California, 23 February 1931) married in 1915 (divorced 1921) Duke Heinrich Borwin zu Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1885-1942).
- Julie Elizabeth Huston Ongaro (* Louisville, Kentucky, 9 June 1966) married in 1994 Prince Robert of Luxembourg (* 1968), son of Joan Douglas Dillon, see above.
- Myra Abigail Pankhurst (Cleveland, Ohio, 21 March 1859-near Cannes, France, 26 June 1938) married thirdly in 1913 Prince Alexis Karageorgevich of Serbia. She took the name of Daria. She had previously married Herbert A. Wright and Thomas Huger Pratt.
- Kirby William Patterson (Springfield, Missouri, 24 July 1907-Springfield, Missouri, 4 June 1984) married in 1946 (separated 1962) Princess Viktoria Marina of Prussia (1917-1981). They had three children.
- Elizabeth Bleecker Tibbits Pratt (New York City, 27 January 1860-Yugoslavia, November 1928 or Berg, Stanberg, Germany, 14 September 1929) married secondly in 1911 (divorced 1913) Duke Heinrich Borwin zu Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1885-1942). She married first in 1881 Amedee Gasquet James (1845-1903; comte de de Gasquet James de la Mettrie?) and had issue.
- Thomas Gwyn Reich Jr (* Guilford, North Carolina, 11 September 1956) married in 1991 (divorced 1993) Princess Hope Leezum Namgyal Tobden of Sikkim (1968-)
- Shari Suzanne Reid (* Highland Park, Michigan, 1 September 1960) married in 1981 (divorced 1985) Archduke Peter of Austria-Tuscany (* 1959), son of of Archduke Stefan and Jerrine Soper (see below).
- Catherine Ripley (* Pontiac, Michigan, 5 September 1958) married secondly in 1994 (divorced) Archduke Christopher of Austria-Tuscany (* 1957), son of Archduke Stefan and Jerrine Soper (see below).
- Elizabeth Reid Rogers (Jackson, Tennessee, 17 August 1893-Cannes, France, 2 February 1957) married in 1915 Prince Christian von Hessen-Philippsthal-Barchfeld (1887-1971).
- Peter Eric Rosden (* Washington 10 January 1947) married in 1982 Princess Eleonore von Sachsen-Meiningen (* 1950).
- David Scott Snyder (* Pontiac, Michigan, 18 November 1956) married in 1979 Archduchess Ileana of Austria-Tuscany (* 1958), daughter of Archduke Stefan and Jerrine Soper (see below).
- Mary Jerrine Soper (Boston, Massaschusetts, 19 June 1931-Commerce, Michigan, 14 July 2015) married in 1954 Archduke Stefan of Austria-Tuscany (1932-1998).
- Anita Rhinelander Stewart (Elberon, New Jersey, 7 August 1886-New York 15 September 1977) married in 1909 Prince Miguel of Bragança (1878-1923). They had three children surnamed de Bragança. Both sons married American women, as did the grandson and granddaughter. Anita in 1946 married Lewis Gouverneur Morris (1882-1967).
- No(n)nie May Stewart “Nancy” (Zanesville, Ohio, 20 January 1878-London 29 August 1923) married thirdly in 1920 Prince Christopher of Greece (1888-1940). She married first 1894 (divorced 1899) George Ely Worthington, and secondly in 1900, William Bateman Leeds (1861-1908). With the second husband she had a son, William Bateman Leeds (see above).
- Sarah Nevada Stoody (Sandyville, Tuscarawas, Ohio, 21 October 1870-Tampa, Florida, 11 January 1941) married thirdly in 1917 Prince Afonso of Portugal (1865-1920). No issue. She married first (div. 1906) Lee Agnew Sr (died 1924) and had one son. She married secondly in 1906 William Henry Chapman (died 1907), and married thirdly in 1909 (divorced 1914) Philip Van Valkenburgh. She is also listed as Nevada Stoody Hayes.
- Allene Tew (Janesville, Wisconsin, 7 July 1872-Cap d’Ail, France, 1 May 1955) married fourthly in 1929 (divorced 1935), Prince Heinrich XXXIII reuss of Köstritz (1879-1942). No children.
- Lia Georgia Triff (* Great Lakes, Illinois, 23 February 1949) married in 1996 Paul Lambrino aka Prince von Hohenzollern (* 1948), Romanian royal family.
- Engel von Voss (Houston, Texas, 31 March 1937-Vienna, Austria, 27 September 2010) married 1960 (divorced 1999) Archduke Dominic of Austria-Tuscany (* 1937). Her father was European.
- John Wesley Walker (* Douglas, Missouri, 30 December 1945) married in 2007 Princess Irina of Romania (* 1953).
- Wallis Warfield (Blue Ridge Summit, Monterey Inn near Hagerstown, Pennsylvania, 19 June 1896-Paris 24 April 1986) married thirdly in 1937 Prince Edward, The Duke of Windsor, previously King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom. She was married first from 1916 to 1927 to Earl Winfield Spencer Jr., and from 1928 to 1937 Ernest Aldrich Simpson. No children.
- Margaret Carrington Watson “Peggy” or “Marguerite” (Richmond, Virginia, 12 February 1899-Bayonne, France 27 December 1993) married in 1928 Prince Charles Philippe d’Orléans, Duke of Nemours, Vendôme and Alençon (1905-1970). No children.
- Catherine Whitenack-Hurt (* Wilmington, Delaware, 13 December 1941) married 1961 (divorced 1962) Prince Albrecht-Wolfgang zu Schaumburg-Lippe (* 1953).
- Thelma Jeanne Williams (Nashville, Tennessee, 15 November 1930-Rutland, Vermont, 5 June 1988) married 1960 (divorced 1977) Prince Carol Mircea von Hohenzollern aka Mircea Gregor Carol Lambrino (1920-2006). One son.
- Leondra/Leontra Carol Breeden (* Brooklyn, New York, 31 May 1982) married in 2013 Archduke Franz of Austria (* 1967). They have one daughter. She had previously married Jonathan Yitzchok Greenspan.
- Sarah Butler (* Houston, Texas, 1 August 1972) married in 2000 Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad of Jordan (* 1964). They have three children.
- Natalie Corder married in 2014 Archduke Stefan of Austria-Tuscany (* 1990).
- Marc Howard Coumeri (* USA, ca. 1975/6) married in 2002 Princess Norodom Pekina of Cambodia (* 1970).
- Jacquelyn Denise Frisco (* Los Angeles, California, 17 November 1965) married in 2011 Archduke Gregor of Austria-Tuscany (* 1968).
- Ashmita Goswami (* Michigan, 12 August 1972) married in 2005 Archduke Konrad of Austria. They have a daughter.
- Bryan Samuel Goswick (* Dallas county, Texas, 23 March 1972) married in 2014 Princess Caroline-Luise von Hannover (* 1965).
- Matthew Jeremiah Kumar (* Ventura County, CA, 15 December 1983) in 2018 became engaged to Princess Theodora of Greece (* 1983).
- Rachel Meghan Markle (* Los Angeles, California, 4 August 1981) married in 2018 Prince Henry of Wales (* 1984).
- Christopher Paul O’Neill (* London, UK, 27 June 1974) – who has the American and British citizenship – married in 2013 Princess Madeleine of Sweden (* 1982). They have three children.
- Kelly Jeanne Rondestvedt (* Pensacola, Florida, 10 January 1975) married in 2009 Hereditary Prince Hubertus von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha (* 1975). They have three children.
- Kathleen Elizabeth Walker (* Cincinnati, Ohio,17 April 1986) married in Washington D.C. in 2012 Archduke Imre of Austria (* 1985). They have two children.
Furthermore in 1909 it was reported that Luigi Amedeo, The Duke of the Abruzzi (1873-1933)y, a grandson of King Vittorio Emanuele II of Italy, had become engaged to Katherine Hallie Elkins (1886-1936). His family apparently opposed against the union. The couple met in 1907 and courted until 1912. Encouraged by her father and brother she ended the courtship and in 1913 married William Hitt, whom she divorced and remarried in 1933.
There surely are many more examples in mediatized houses and noble families, also in Asia. But then the list would really become too long. I excluded members of royal families from morganatic and illegitimate branches of families.
In which states of the USA were these American royals actually born? I just made a quick table based on the information above. Not surprisingly most of them seem to have come from New York, but other states might surprise you a bit more. Just be aware, the state of birth might not be the state someone grew up in.
- Hutto, Richard Jay, Crowning Glory. American Wives of Princes and Dukes (Henchard Press, Macon, GA 2007)