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The Brides Who Came Across the Sea to Marry into Windsor

After a frenzy of excitement about a possible royal engagement on Friday, it's back to the waiting game this weekend. Any upcoming royal nuptials are still top secret but that doesn't change the fact that just about all of us have decided Prince Harry is going to marry Meghan Markle. And if when he does, his bride will be joining a rather select club. For the House of Windsor has brought mostly homeborn brides into its ranks. Despite that, some of those saying 'I do' have travelled across seas to marry into Windsor and Meghan will (probably) be the latest with that claim. So as we keep on waiting (it really only heightens the excitement more), here's a look back at some of the brides from other lands who have wed a Windsor....

The Duchess of Windsor

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Bride Bessie Wallis Warfield Simpson

Born Pennsylvania, United States of America on June 19th 1896
Married Edward, Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, Emperor of India

When June 3rd 1937

Where Chateau de Cande, south of Tours in France

Before the wedding Twice married Mrs Simpson caused a sensation when news of her relationship with the then King Edward VIII broke. When her lover demanded she become his wife, the Abdication Crisis ensued and Edward gave up his throne to ensure their marriage in December 1936.

After the wedding Wallis became the Duchess of Windsor but was never given the HRH title both she and her husband wanted. The couple lived in exile for their whole married life. Edward died in Paris in 1972 and Wallis passed away in the same city in 1986.

Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent

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Bride Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark

Born Athens, Greece on December 13th 1906

Married George, Duke of Kent, fourth son of George V and Queen Mary

When November 29th 1934

Where Westminster Abbey, London

Before the marriage Marina's grandparents included King George I of Greece and Tsar Alexander II of Russia. Along with her parents, Prince Nichoas of Greece and Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia, she was forced into exile. Marina was just 11 and she spent the rest of her youth in Paris before meeting the handsome if rather racy fourth son of George V and Queen Mary in London in 1932.

After the marriage Marina became HRH The Duchess of Kent and took on a wide range of engagements for her new royal household as well as filling her regal nursery with two sons and a daughter. Marina was widowed on August 25th 1942 when the Duke of Kent was killed in a plane accident while on active service with the RAF. She continued to be a high profile member of the House of Windsor and died on August 27th 1968 at Kensington Palace, London.

The Duchess of Gloucester

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Bride Birgitte Eva van Deurs, born Birgitte Eva Henrikson
Born Odense, Denmark on June 20th 1946

Married Prince Richard of Gloucester, second son of Henry, Duke of Gloucester and a grandson of King Georeg V and Queen Mary

When July 8th 1972

Where St Andrew's Church, Barnwell, Northamptonshire

Before the marriage Birgitte van Deurs met Richard of Gloucester at Cambridge in the 1960s when they were both students there. She worked at the Danish Embassy in London in the years before her marriage.

After the marriage Six weeks after their wedding, Richard and Birgitte's lives changed forever when the groom's older brother, William, was killed in a plane accident. Richard was now heir to the Dukedom of Gloucester and inherited when his father, Henry, died in 1974. The new Duke and Duchess of Gloucester quickly took on a wide range of royal engagements as well as building a family of two daughters and a son. They continue to be active working royals today.

Princess Michael of Kent

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Bride Princess Michael of Kent
Born January 15th 1945, Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic (then called Carlsbad and part of the Sudetenland)

Married Prince Michael of Kent, grandson of King George V and Queen Mary

When June 30th 1978

Where Vienna, Austria

Before the wedding Marie Christine von Reibnitz was a rather controversial royal bride. She was divorced when she wed Prince Michael and for that reason their marriage took place overseas. Marie Christine had lived part of her early life in Australia following her own parents' divorce. She married Thomas Troubridge in London in 1971 but they separated in 1973 and were divorced in 1977. The marriage was annulled by the Pope in 1978.

After the wedding The couple set home in England and have carried out public engagements since. Marie Christine is also an author and has an interest in conservation work. Prince and Princess Michael of Kent have a son and daughter and two granddaughters.

The Countess of Snowdon

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Bride Serena Alleyne Stanhope

Born County Limerick, Republic of Ireland on March 1st 1970

Married David, Viscount Linley, only son of Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones, Earl of Snowdon and grandson of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother

When October 8th 1993

Where St. Margaret's Church, Westminster

Before the wedding Serena Stanhope is the daughter of the Earl of Harrington and spent the early part of her life in Ireland.

After the wedding David and Serena have two children together, Charles and Margarita. They became Earl and Countess of Snowdon in January 2017 on the death of Antony, Earl of Snowdon.

Mrs. Peter Phillips

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Bride Autumn Patricia Kelly

Born Montreal, Quebec, Canada on May 3rd 1978

Married Peter Phillips, only son of Princess Anne, the Princess Royal and her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, and eldest grandson of Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh

When May 17th 2008

Where St. George's Chapel, Windsor

Before the wedding Autumn Kelly grew up in Canada and went on to work as a model and actress before getting a job with a technology firm in England. Before then she had already met Peter Phillips, eldest grandchild of the Queen and Prince Philip. Ahead of her marriage, Autumn converted from Catholicism to Anglicanism - without that decision, the couple's children would not have been eligible to succeed to the throne.

After the wedding The first of the Queen's grandchildren to marry, Peter Phillips attracted controversy when he and his new bride agreed a deal with Hello magazine for some of their wedding photos. Following their marriage, the couple lived briefly in Hong Kong before settling again in England. Autumn is the mother of the Queen's eldest great grandchild, Savannah Phillips, who was born in December 2010. She and her husband welcomed a second daughter, Isla, in March 2012.

Photo credit: Wiki Commons


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