Kate Middleton is on the verge of becoming a princess in a world obsessed with royalty and everything that goes with it. As the longtime girlfriend of the handsome and refined Prince William, Kate's well-acquainted with some of the pitfalls of life in the public eye, such as intrusive paparazzi and high expectations for personal conduct. Although we don't know exactly how the nuptials or marriage will pan out, it's safe to say that Kate will do her best to carve her own specific legacy as a blushing bride, princess and future queen.
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Grace Kelly first captured the hearts of moviegoers around the world as a major motion picture star and classic beauty. She gave up her life in Hollywood after her 1956 marriage to Monaco's Prince Ranier Grimaldi, with whom she had son Albert and daughters Caroline and Stephanie. Unfortunately, their happily-ever-after was cut short when she had a stroke while driving, resulting in a fatal crash.
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Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan always expected to remain a princess when she married Prince Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein. The couple was unexpectedly elevated to the nation's ultimate royal status when the prince's father named his eldest son, rather than his own brother, for the role. The glamorous Princess Rania traded her title for Queen Rania in 1999. Since then, the former commoner has become one of the most prominent female figures in the world and an advocate for a range of charitable causes.
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Princess Caroline is living proof that life as a royal is anything but fancy-free, particularly when it comes to lifelong commitment. Her first marriage ended in divorce after only two years, followed by her second husband's untimely death in a boating accident. Her current marriage to Prince Ernst August of Germany is on shaky ground following publication of lovey-dovey photos of him and another woman.
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Technically speaking, actress Olivia Wilde was a princess ... until she split from her husband, Tao Ruspoli, in February 2011. Before their separation, the couple chose to live in California, rather than in one of his family's castles in his native Italy. It seems Wilde preferred the glitz of Hollywood to the glamour of the throne, having skyrocketed to fame as the star of movies like "Tron: Legacy." She also claimed the top spot on Maxim's Hot 100 list in 2009. Not too shabby for a teenager who wed her boyfriend in secret on a bus, huh?
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Has there ever been a more famous and beloved princess? The whole world watched as Diana wed Prince Charles in a fairy-tale ceremony in 1981 at St. Paul's Cathedral. Sadly, the marriage seemed doomed to fail from the start, despite the birth of their two handsome princes, William and Harry. The couple divorced in 1996 following a substantial separation, and the people's princess, as Diana was commonly known, was tragically killed in a car accident the following year.
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When Disney released "The Princess and the Frog" in 2009, we cheered for Princess Tiana, who became the first African-American woman in the animated royal lineup. Voiced by Anika Noni Rose, Tiana might not be a flesh-and-blood princess, but her presence on the silver screen certainly felt very real to millions of little girls.
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Believe it or not, the matriarch of Britain was once just a princess herself. Her marriage to Prince Philip seems to possess the same staying power as her tenure on the throne; the couple have been happily married since their elegant post-war nuptials at Westminster Abbey in 1947.
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A former television anchorwoman in Spain, Princess Letizia was no stranger to the limelight by the time she married Prince Felipe of Spain in 2004. Although she has been criticized by some old-school Spanish royalists for her previous divorce and status as a commoner by birth, the princess has enjoyed rising popularity among her people as a fashion icon and formidable force in political circles.
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Maybe the Beatles were right, and all we really need is love. That sure seems to be the case for Sayako, former princess of Japan, and her husband, Yoshi Kuroda, the commoner she married in 2005. According to Japanese royal policy, by marrying a commoner and taking his last name, Sayoko effectively relinquished the many perks of being a royal. For love, she chose to take up a life of domesticity among the citizens she used to rule over.
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Forget that stodgy old glass slipper! Princess Victoria instead placed the metaphorical running shoe of royalty on the foot of personal trainer and commoner Daniel Westling when she married him in 2010. Not surprisingly, 500 million people around the world enjoyed the televised nuptials of this backward, but still adorable, Cinderella story.
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