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Japan's Princess Mako is set to marry Kei Komuro, her college sweetheart. But for the wedding to take place, sacrifices must be made: Mako will give up her royal title and place in the Japanese imperial family to marry Komuro. This is due to the Imperial Household Law, which restricts membership in the imperial family. Women who marry commoners must give up their royal status — and seven other women in the family have done the same since the law passed in 1947.
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KING EDWARD VIII
Perhaps the most infamous marriage between a royal and a commoner happened when King Edward VIII gave up the British throne after less than a year to wed American divorcée Wallis Simpson. Parliament and the Church of England disapproved of the King marrying a divorcée. And when push came to shove, Edward VIII chose love, handing the throne to his younger brother, King George VI. Edward married Simpson in 1937, the year after he abdicated, and in exile, moved to France, where he lived for the rest of his life.
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Before she became a princess, Grace Kelly was Hollywood royalty. With the loss of her commoner status came the loss of other freedoms. After she married Prince Rainier of Monaco, Kelly never made another film, and dedicated her life solely to her royal duties.
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He may have had a royal upbringing, but Prince William couldn't have met his wife in a more common way: in college. While he was studying at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, William met Princess Kate — then, Kate Middleton — who lived in his freshman year dorm, St. Salvator's Hall. They continued dating throughout college and the years to follow before getting engaged in 2010. They wed in a fairy tale royal wedding in 2011.
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Akihito broke years of tradition in the Japanese royal family when he married Michiko Shōda, the daughter of a wealthy businessman, after they met at a tennis match. Traditionally, Japanese royalty — in particular, heirs to the throne — only married other members of the imperial family, or the former court nobility. Though the public embraced Michiko, Akihito's family was slower to warm up to her. According to CBS News, it was said that Akihito's mother, Empress Kōjun, disapproved of her and intimidated her during the early years of her marriage to Akihito.
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CROWN PRINCE NARUHITO
Akihito set something of a precedent. His own son, Crown Prince Naruhito, also married a commoner: Masako Owada, who was a budding diplomat before marrying into the Japanese royal family in 1993.
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PRINCE CARL PHILIP
Now one-half of one of the world's most attractive royal couples, Princess Sofia wasn't always famous for her royal connection. Before she started dating Sweden's Prince Carl Philip in 2010, she worked as a model, posing for Sweden's Slitz magazine in 2004, and then going on to compete on the reality show Paradise Hotel. Her past caused a stir when the couple's engagement was announced in 2014, but Sofia shrugged off any criticism. "For me it’s pretty boring," she said in the documentary The Year with the Royal Family. "It happened 10 years ago and I’ve moved on with my life. But no regrets. Experience shapes a person.”
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CROWN PRINCESS VICTORIA
The gym is a great place to meet men — just ask Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria, who met her husband, Prince Daniel, when he was working as her personal trainer in 2002. Though Daniel's background was initially questioned by the public, Victoria was vocal in defending him. "There has been a big change and it is important that the right people that will live with each other," she said. "If you are not happy and feel comfortable with each other, I can not do a good job." They married in 2010.
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KING ABDULLAH II
Before King Abdullah married Queen Rania, she was Rania Al-Yassin, and worked for companies such as Citibank and Apple. The couple met at a dinner party in August 1992 and were engaged just six months later, marrying in 1993.
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KING FELIPE VI
Queen Letizia was working as a journalist covering an oil spill when she met then-Prince Felipe. When their engagement was announced in 2003, it came as a shock to the public. This was primarily because Letizia was divorced — not because of her "commoner" status. But because her first marriage, which lasted less than a year, was only a civil ceremony, the Catholic Church didn't demand an annulment for the couple to marry — which they did, in 2004.
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CROWN PRINCE FREDERIK
While attending the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark met Mary Donaldson, an advertising professional, at the Slip Inn, a bar in the city. He introduced himself as simply "Fred," and the two chatted for hours before Mary realized who he was. After a transcontinental relationship (and Danish lessons!) the couple married in 2004.