Once upon a time....

European royals are treated as demigods by their subjects that commoners were not allowed to mix, let alone join their illustrious court. Tradition and practices during those times prohibit royalty to marry a commoner because a morganatic marriage could automatically remove a royal member from the line of succession.

Two grandsons of King Christian X of Denmark and King Gustav VI’s of Sweden lost their princely titles and inheritance for marrying commoners. Sons of King George III (after the death Princess Charlotte of Wales) abandoned their commoner lovers to look for royal brides to retain their places in the line of succession.

But years later, almost all European royals succumbed to what their ancestors dreaded most --- taking commoner spouses.

After World War II, royal marriages seemed disappeared together with the remnants of the war that royal houses began opening its doors to commoners, making their once revered royal courts more like celebrity playgrounds.

The disenchantment of the public soon withered and the scandals and controversies by ill-breed commoners began tarnishing the prestige of the crowns. So how it would revive the magic? Some analysts suggested, it would be better for the royals to choose a spouse within their circle to save their institution from crumbling. But it seems the modern world greatly influenced the lives of most royal members that eventually the existence of fairytale ultimately vanished.

The first European King to marry a commoner is King Harald V of Norway, second cousin of Queen Elizabeth II of Britain. In 1971 Harald married Sonja Haraldsen, a commoner University graduate amidst the prodding of his royal relatives to choose Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark, a daughter of King Paul I of Greece. King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden followed the trend by marrying a German commoner, Silvia Sommerlath, in 1978.

In Britain, the last aristocrat to marry a member of the royal family was Lady Diana Spencer. She was the daughter of the 8th Earl of Althorp, the Lord Spencer, a direct descendant of King Charles II. In 2005, Diana’s ex-husband, Prince Charles, married his long time mistress, Camilla Parker-Bowles, and because she was divorced at the time of her marriage, she would not be crowned as Queen when Charles ascend the throne but would just be styled as Princess Consort.

The last royal princess to marry into the British royal family was Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, first cousin of Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh, she married the Duke of Kent, Prince George, paternal uncle of Queen Elizabeth II, in 1936.

In 1970s, Charles' favorite uncle, Lord Mountbatten, warned him from falling in love to commoners, he said: “Love is not an option for a man who would be King of England”, within three decades, Charles’ son, Prince William, crossed the barrier of unknown territories traditionally prohibited to British heirs -taking a  commoner woman as a future wife.

I am wondering if the soul of Lord Mountbatten (who was dubbed during his lifetime as the King maker for largely helping King George VI on the Kingship and for training the young Prince Charles on his future role) could really rest in peace.

Among the current rulers of Europe, only King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Elizabeth II of Britain have royal spouses. Juan Carlos' wife is Sofia, the former Princess of Greece and Denmark, eldest child of King Paul I of Greece, Juan Carlos and Sofia are third cousins four times through Queen Victoria of Britain.

 Queen Elizabeth II's husband is the former Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, King Paul I's first cousin, he renounced his Greek royal title to be more acceptable to the British public for his marriage to the heiress presumptive, the then Princess Elizabeth, he was created the Duke of Edinburgh by his future father in-law, King George VI, who was his second cousin through King Christian IX of Denmark (Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are 3rd cousin through Queen Victoria).

Presently, among the future crown heads of Europe, only Prince Philipe of Belgium and Prince Alois of Liechtenstein have aristocrat spouses. Philipe’s wife, although not royal by birth, Mathilde, is a daughter of a Belgian Baron while Alois’ wife, Princess Sophia, is a German Duchess. The rest of the future crown heads married commoners. Swedish future monarch, Princess Victoria recently to Daniel Westling, a Swedish gym owner, Prince Frederick of Denmark to Australian Marketing Executive, Mary Donaldson, Prince Felipe of Spain to former TV anchor Letizia Ortiz, Prince Wilhelm of The Netherlands to Argentinian investment banker Maxima Zorreguieta, Prince Haakon of Norway to Mette Merit.

Aside from Prince William, another royal who will be getting married next year is 52-year-old bachelor ruler of Monaco, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II, his fiancĂ©e is Charlene Wittstock, a commoner South African Olympian. But his choice of a bride did not create much controversy in the royal circle as Monaco is just a tiny principality in the dot of Europe’s geography, unlike William who is destined to become King William V of the United Kingdom.

Diana’s biographer, Andrew Morton, once wrote, “Grafting commoners into the Hanoverian tree (William’s bloodline) proved to be very disastrous. The chronic instability of the marriages between commoners and royalty is far more than a personal tragedy. It is a signal that a necessary experiment born of changed historical circumstances has failed. There’s no obvious solution to the problem. This is a severe reality how the royal family relates to the outsiders. Anybody who married into the royal family welded in traditions and decorum which make the task to an outsider almost impossible to fulfill. The pursuit of personal happiness and freedom is out of the question, it is duty first

May these lines from Morton would not provoke another royal divorce in the years to come.

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