Giving Up Royalty: Royal Heirs Who Gave It All Up For Love

Giving Up Royalty: Royal Heirs Who Gave It All Up For Love

Would you sacrifice the crown for a chance at love?



We’ve seen it in Disney movies and films like The Prince & Me, A Christmas Prince and The Princess Switch; commoners run into royalty, dazzle them and somehow marry into the royal family. Kate Middleton turned that fiction into reality in 2011 after marrying Prince William, who was then second in line to the British throne. 


But before the reigning Prince and Princess of Wales made history, those born into royalty had to make a difficult choice: the crown or love? Today we’re taking a look back and some of those individuals who arguably made the ultimate sacrifice—symbolically turning their backs on their country, their people and the throne—to follow the loves of their lives.



King Edward VIII

Just three generations before Prince William, there was King Edward VIII.


Giving Up Royalty: Royal Heirs Who Gave It All Up For Love


King Edward VIII started his reign on January 1936 and stepped down from the throne in December of the same year to marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee. In doing so, he ultimately changed the course of the British Royal Family; his abdication transferred the throne to his younger brother, Prince Albert (who then took the name of King George VI) and ultimate Queen Elizabeth II. 


Despite the many concerns and other issues that the Duke of Windsor (as he was later known following the abdication) came across in his life, he did stay married to Wallis Simpson until he died in 1972.


Prince Harry

Keeping the discussion within the same family, we now have Prince Harry.



While his older brother made headlines for marrying a commoner, Prince Harry was in the exact same situation as his grand-uncle, the Duke of Windsor. Harry was in love with an American divorcee, Meghan Markle, and they wed in 2018. 


Harry and Meghan stayed to serve the British Royal Family until they decided to step back as senior members in 2020—for reasons you’ve probably already heard about


Princess Mako

Princess Mako of Akishino was born in 1991. She’s the eldest child of Crown Prince Fumihito and Crown Princess Kiko, but she’s now simply known as Mako Komuro, a Japanese art historian.


Giving Up Royalty: Royal Heirs Who Gave It All Up For Love


She met Kei Komuro while studying at the International Christian University, and the two married in 2021. And under the Imperial Household Law, that meant that Mako had to give up her title—but she did decline around USD1.3 million, which is usually provided to women who leave the Imperial Family. 


Princess Märtha Louise

Norwegian Princess Märtha Louise kept her title while working in her capacity as a royal, but it was in 2019 when she agreed to stop using her designation for “business activities” like a speaking tour she had with her American fiancé, Shaman Durek. 



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A post shared by Durek Verrett (@shamandurek)


It wasn’t until a few years later, in 2022, when she formally relinquished all her royal patronages and stopped her responsibilities as a working royal. 


Princess Ubolratana Rajakany

When Princess Ubolratana Rajakany, eldest child of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit of Thailand, went to the United States to study, she fell in love with Peter Ladd Jensen. After the two wed, she had to relinquish her royal title.


Giving Up Royalty: Royal Heirs Who Gave It All Up For Love


She has since returned to Thailand, but not after bearing three non-royal children and getting a divorce. But even now, she is still only referred to as “Tunkramom Ying,” which means “daughter of the Queen Regent.”


While it might seem strange to have to sacrifice family and duty for the sake of love, this is the reality of being born into royalty. But if they’ve taught us anything, it’s that it is possible to start over—especially when you have someone worthy by your side.



Art Alexandra Lara


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