Kate Middleton is the young soon-to-be princess who will also become a queen one day – roles which she’s had time to think about and prepare for. She joins the list of commoners who have captured the hearts of royalty.
With the help of her future husband, she hopes to be able to take on the responsibilities of her new position. Speaking at a press conference after the engagement was announced in November she said: “It’s quite a daunting prospect, but you know, hopefully I’ll take it in my stride. William’s a great teacher so he’ll be able to help me along the way.”
Another commoner almost caused a constitutional crisis in Britain. In 1936, Edward VIII abdicated – giving up the throne so he could marry American divorcee, Mrs Wallis Simpson – a shocking act at the time.
However, it was a return to blue blood for the wife of Edward’s brother – the next George V. Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, better known as the Queen Mother, was the daughter of an earl and came from Scottish nobility.
Prince Charles tried to follow convention when he married the daughter of Earl Spencer, Princess Diana. She was also a descendant of King Charles 2nd. After that union failed, Charles married down – wedding his long-time love, divorced commoner, Camilla Parker Bowles.
Times have changed and the monarchy has tried to keep up. Queen Elizabeth agreed to William and Kate’s union – but getting this approval is not mandatory, though it is preferred. If British royals have to choose within their ranks, the options are limited – especially because they are not allowed to marry Roman Catholics.
The preference for love matches can be seen all over Europe. From Spain, to Sweden, through to Denmark – royals have decided to marry their soulmates, including a publicist, a journalist and a gym instructor. Across the continent, a loving and lasting marriage is seen as more important than a noble one.
So although there is still a lot for commoner Kate Middleton to learn in her new role as a princess, some are saying she already has a noble heart.