US heiresses, actresses and models have all wed the world's Princes.
Her beauty mark and long legs earned Seattle-born Kendra the moniker "Little Cindy" in reference to supermodel Cindy Crawford. They also helped her sashay from the international catwalk into the arms of Prince Rahim, the eldest son of the Aga Khan – billionaire spiritual leader of the world's Shia Ismaili Muslim community. Once a fan of thrift shops and grunge, Kendra broke onto the fashion circuit aged 19 in the 2008 Ford Supermodel of the World competition.
She graced the covers of Elle and Vogue, campaigns for Diane von Fürstenberg and Prada and catwalk shows for Dolce & Gabbana and Marc Jacobs. And her story took a fairytale turn when her friend Naomi Campbell introduced her to Prince Rahim at a party. The pair fell in love and, on their 2013 marriage, Kendra became Princess Salwa Aga Khan.
Prince Rahim was following a family tradition. Not only did his father marry British-born model Sally Croker-Poole but his grandfather married screen star Rita Hayworth and his great-grandfather took Miss France as his fourth wife.
The most famous American princess of all, beautiful blonde Hollywood star Grace Kelly truly looked the part when she married Prince Rainier II of Monaco in 1956. From an affluent Philadelphia family, Grace was part ice queen, part passionate romantic, a contradiction which was exploited by legendary film director Alfred Hitchcock, who described her as "a snow-covered volcano". That could be exactly what captivated Prince Rainier when they met in 1954, during a magazine photoshoot at the Pink Palace in Monaco. Following the meeting, Rainier proclaimed himself charmed by Grace's freshness, maturity, sensitivity and culture.
Grace and Rainier began to exchange letters and soon the Prince was organising a US tour during which he spent a week with Grace and her family. The Prince was a huge hit with them and by the end of the week, he had proposed and she had accepted.
The wedding was, of course, a grand affair with MGM studios producing a half-hour documentary of the event entitled, The Wedding in Monaco. To any who doubted her motives, Grace was to say, "When I married Prince Rainier, I married the man and not what he represented or what he was. I fell in love with him without giving a thought to anything else."
The American socialite who triggered Britain's 1936 abdication crisis was a strong character. Her background probably contributed to that. Due to her father's death when she was very young, Pennsylvania-born Wallis and her mother were dependent on her uncle. He was generous enough to send her to the most expensive school in Maryland, where she learned the value of presenting oneself well. She made sure she was top of the class and immaculately dressed.
She had married twice - and was married to her second husband, London-based shipping executive Ernest Simpson - when she first met the then Prince of Wales. The occasion was a hunting weekend, hosted by his mistress Lady Furness. Wallis and the Prince hardly spoke, but there were other house parties and soon Wallis' wit and style won her a place in the Prince of Wales' heart.
On the death of his father George V, the Prince of Wales was crowned Edward VIII, but his reign was to last all of ten months. Unable, as King, to marry a divorcée, he chose Wallis over the throne. Following his abdication he went into exile with her in France, where they named their home in the Bois de Boulogne 'Windsor Villa'.
Following boarding school in Gstaad and a stint working for Andy Warhol as an intern in New York, Marie-Chantal Miller had the world at her feet. The daughter of an American tycoon and an Ecuadorian beauty, in her early twenties she dipped into art history, singing and breeding horses – and then she met her match, Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece. Their first encounter came in 1992, and was a blind date engineered by a mutual friend. As it approached, Marie-Chantal got cold feet but, unable to call it off, she had no choice but to take her seat next to the handsome Pavlos at dinner. “It was love at first sight,” she later revealed. "I knew that he was the person I would marry.”