What Grace Kelly And Meghan Markle Have In Common

In 2018, California-born actress Meghan Markle was thrust into the international spotlight when she did something that few American women had done before: She married a member of a European royal family. Specifically, the actress, who at the time was best known for her role on the cable series "Suits," married Prince Harry, the younger brother of the heir apparent to the throne of the United Kingdom. Since her marriage, Markle and her husband have dealt with more than their share of negative press, which has taken the couple to task for their spending, their move to the United States, and just about anything else you can think of.

Decades earlier, another American woman, also an actress, married into a royal European house. Although Grace Kelly's experience was, in several ways, different from that of Markle, the two women also experienced several similarities in the way their lives panned out, both before and after marrying royalty.

Both women gave up acting careers

In the 1950s, according to South China Morning Post, Grace Kelly was one of the biggest actresses on the silver screen. The 1952 film "High Noon" had launched her career to stratospheric heights, and by 1955, she had earned an Academy Award for Best Actress in "The Country Girl." She had also made millions — or the equivalent of tens of millions in today's dollars. Unfortunately, as Insider reports, Kelly had to part with most of her own money when she was forced to pay half of her own dowry to marry Prince Rainier of Monaco.

Markle, by comparison, was a successful actress before marrying Prince Harry, in the sense that she had a resume showing years of steady, if somewhat low-profile, work. She had not attained the heights of popularity, status, or wealth that her counterpart had, though she had been a regular on the series "Suits" for several years before giving up her career to marry Prince Harry.

Neither woman sought to marry royalty

Despite what the press on either side of the Atlantic Ocean may suggest, hint at, or openly claim, neither Grace Kelly nor Meghan Markle were gold-diggers or social-climbers bent on marrying their way into European royalty. In fact, both women met their future husbands through no effort of their own.

In Kelly's case, in 1955 the actress was at the French Riviera for the Cannes Film Festival, as The Monaco Tribune reports, when the prince invited her and her entourage to tour the palace. The two met that day, and would be married within a few months.

Markle, for her part, met her future husband on a blind date. Specifically, as Town & Country Magazine notes, an unidentified mutual friend set them up. It seems that the young actress was less concerned about a date with a royal than she was a date with a nice guy. "If he wasn't kind, it just didn't seem like it would make sense," Markle said of her feelings at the time.

Both women remained U.S. citizens

International marriages are complicated enough when the participants are just regular people; matters of residency, citizenship, and similar legalities will have to be worked out. When it comes to high-profile international marriages involving celebrities — and in particular, when those marriages involve sovereign royal houses — things could get even more complicated. However, in both Meghan Markle's case and Grace Kelly's case, both American-born women chose to keep one of the things conferred to them at birth: their American citizenship. Specifically, according to the Princess Grace Foundation, Kelly retained her U.S. citizenship, while at the same time being a citizen of Monaco.

As for Markle, though European royals — and in particular, British royals — are generally expected to stay out of politics at all costs (per Vogue), she famously voted in the 2020 presidential election, according to a companion South China Morning Post report, something she was allowed to do by virtue of having retained her U.S. citizenship. Her children, Archie and Lilibet, have dual U.S. and British citizenship, as Cosmopolitan reports.