When royals tie the knot with commoners

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Britain's Prince William, who announced his engagement on Tuesday to Kate Middleton, becomes the latest royal around the world to decide to tie the knot with a commoner.

Marriages between royalty and commoners are becoming more and more frequent:

1937: In Britain Edward, the Duke of Windsor, marries commoner Wallis Simpson, who had been divorced twice. Crowned as Edward VIII, he is forced to abdicate.

1956: Prince Rainier of Monaco marries the American actress Grace Kelly.

1968: Norwegian King Harald V marries Queen Sonja who was born Sonja Haraldsen to the owner of a clothes shop. They had to wait nine years between their first meeting and their marriage.

1976: King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden marries a commoner, German-born Silvia Sommerlath, who becomes Queen Silvia.

1993: Prince Abdullah of Jordan marries Rania, a commoner from a Palestinian family.

1997: Cristina, the youngest daughter of Spanish King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, marries Inaki Urdangarin, a professional handball player of Basque origin. They are now the duke and duchess of Palma de Mallorca

1999: Britain's Prince Edward, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II, marries Sophie Rhys-Jones, an advertising executive, the daughter of a tyre salesman.

His older brother Andrew, had married in 1986 the commoner Sarah Ferguson, from whom he separated in 1992.

2001: Norwegian Crown Prince Haakon Magnus marries commoner Mette Marit Tjessem Hoeiby.

2002: Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander marries Maxima Zorrequieta from Argentina.

2002: Norwegian Crown Prince Haakon Magnus' sister, Princess Maertha Louise, is also married to a commoner, author Ari Behn.

2003: Belgium's Prince Laurent, the youngest son of King Albert II, is the only member of the royal family to have married a commoner Claire Coombs, a geometrist.

2004: Danish Crown Prince Frederik marries Australian-born Mary Donaldson.

2004: Spain's Crown Prince Felipe marries commoner and former journalist Letizia Ortiz.

2005: The sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, marries journalist Azrinaz Mazhar Hakim.

2005: Princess Sayako, the only daughter of Emperor Akihito of Japan, marries Yoshiki Kuroda, an urban planner.

2010: Swedish Crown Princess Victoria marries her former personal trainer Daniel Westling.

© 2010 AFP

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