Five American women who married into royalty

From left: Rita Hayworth, Queen Noor, Meghan Markle, Wallis Simpson, and Princess Grace of Monaco.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US actress Meghan Markle, who is to wed Britain's Prince Harry next year, will become the latest American to marry into a royal family.

Here is a brief look at five other American women who became princesses or queens.

Grace Kelly

The actress was at the peak of a glittering Hollywood career when she gave it up to marry Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956.

Grace Patricia Kelly was born in Pennsylvania, the third of four children in a wealthy Irish-Catholic family. She made her film debut in 1951 and shot to fame the following year alongside Gary Cooper in High Noon.

She won an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for Mogambo in 1953 and the Academy Award for Best Actress the following year for The Country Girl.

But Kelly is perhaps best known for her roles in three Alfred Hitchcock movies - Dial M For Murder, Rear Window and To Catch A Thief.

Kelly married Prince Rainier after a whirlwind courtship. They had three children: Caroline; Albert, the reigning monarch in Monaco; and Stephanie.

Kelly died in 1982 when her car ran off the road after she suffered a stroke at the wheel.

Prince Rainier III of Monaco and US actress and princess of Monaco Grace Kellysaluting the crowd as they leave Saint Nicholas' Cathedral after their wedding ceremony. PHOTO: AFP

Wallis Simpson

She was a twice-divorced woman whose marriage to Britain's King Edward VIII led to him relinquishing the crown in 1936.

Bessie Wallis Warfield was born in 1896 in Pennsylvania. She married US naval aviator Win Spencer in 1916, divorced him in 1927, and wed shipping executive Ernest Simpson the following year.

She became involved with then-Prince Edward in 1934. His relationship with an American divorcee was frowned upon by Britain's royal and political class.

He became king in 1936 but abdicated that same year and married Simpson - "the woman I love" - in June 1937.

The couple were named the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. He died in 1972 and Simpson in 1986. They had no children.

Portrait of American-born Wallis Simpson, who became Duchess of Windsor by marrying Edward of England, Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII of England. PHOTO: AFP

Rita Hayworth

The actress married Prince Aly Khan - son of Aga Khan III, the then spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims - in 1949 after the breakup of her marriage to actor-director Orson Welles.

Hayworth was born Margarita Carmen Cansino in Brooklyn, New York, to show business parents. After moving to Los Angeles as a teenager, she had bit parts in several movies before adopting the screen name Rita Hayworth and going on to stardom.

Nicknamed the "Love Goddess" by Life magazine, she appeared alongside Fred Astaire in the 1941 film You'll Never Get Rich and a host of other hits including Gilda, in which she performed a strip scene which was seen as scandalous at the time.

In 1949, a pregnant Hayworth married Aly Khan. She gave birth to a daughter in 1949.

She got divorced in 1953 and went on to marry two more times. She suffered from Alzheimer's disease in her later years and died in 1987.

A photo taken in 1946 of US actress Rita Hayworth during the shooting of American film 'Gilda'. PHOTO: AFP

Queen Noor

Jordan's Queen Noor married King Hussein in 1978.

Lisa Najeeb Halaby was born in 1951 in Washington to a prominent Christian Arab-American family. Her father was chief executive of the airline Pan American.

A graduate of Princeton University, she married King Hussein in 1978, converting to his Muslim faith and becoming Queen Noor al-Hussein.

They had four children. Since the king's death in 1999, she has been active in philanthropic activities.

Jordan's Queen Noor attending the opening day of the Global Zero, a summit to put a halt to all nuclear weapons. PHOTO: AFP

Hope Cooke

The New York socialite married the crown prince of the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Sikkim in 1963. She was born in 1940 in San Francisco.

She met Palden Thondup Namgyal, the widowed crown prince of Sikkim, during a 1959 trip to India as a college student. They married in 1963 and she became the queen consort when he took the throne in 1965.

Sikkim was annexed by India in 1973 and Cooke returned to the United States with their two children. She divorced her husband in 1980 and he died two years later.

Cooke recounted her life in 1981 autobiography Time Change.

Hope Cooke married the crown prince of the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Sikkim in 1963. PHOTO: ECLECTIC NORTHEAST/FACEBOOK

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