Hollywood love affairs, abdications and modern monarchs: A crash course on European royals

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Tomorrow is a red-letter day for continental royalty with the Belgian crown prince, Philippe, ascending to the throne vacated by his father, King Albert II, to become the seventh King of Belgium.

TIMELINE

HOLLYWOOD TALE

1956

Actress Grace Kelly marries Prince Rainier III of Monaco. They have three kids, Caroline, Albert and Stéphanie.

DARK DAYS

1966

There are violent protests as Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands marries Claus von Amsberg, a former member of Hitler Youth.

DAISY AGE

1972

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, known affectionately as 'Daisy', ascends to the throne after the death of her father, King Frederik IX.

REIGN IN SPAIN

1975

Franco dies and King Juan Carlos becomes first reigning monarch since 1931, helping steer the country towards democracy.

PRINCESS FROM WALES

1976

Miner's daughter weds Sweden's Prince Bertil, becoming Princess Lilian. The romance was long unofficial as she was a 'commoner'.

OLD GUARD

1991

Popular King Olav V, a symbol of resistance against Nazi Germany's occupation of Norway, dies after a heart attack – succeeded by his son, Harald.

REGAL CASE

2012

Inaki Urdangarin, the King of Spain's son-in-law, is accused of misusing millions in public funds given to a charity he ran.

DUTCH COURAGE

2013

Queen Beatrix, 75, abdicates saying it's time for a "new generation" to rule. Son Willem-Alexander, 46, becomes King.

GRACEFUL EXIT

2013

In a TV address, the King of the Belgians, Albert II, abdicates. The 79-year-old says he is too poorly to fulfil duties.

Profile: The record holder

On the taut face of it, the 18th Duchess of Alba appears to be a classic example of historic European royal excess.

With 44 noble titles and 150 inherited ones, María del Rosario Cayetana Alfonsa Victoria Eugenia Francisca Fitz-James Stuart y de Silva – Cayetana to her pals – has been declared the planet's most-titled noble by Guinness World Records.

She has so much land in Spain that, according to El Pais, "it is reputed she could travel from one end of the country to the other through her estates".

Her romantic life has long been followed by the Spanish press, with El Pais also speculating that "there have been rumours of lovers from the worlds of bullfighting and flamenco".

Two years ago, aged 85, she married her third husband Alfonso Díez, a stylish civil servant, a mere 24 years her junior. She is believed to have given up her large fortune to her children in order to win their support for the match.

Marrying for love not money? Sounds like rather a modern royal, actually.

By Luke Blackall

How to: Marry a Euro royal

Snagging a continental royal is a bit like marrying a footballer, but for posh people – and there's less scrutiny than with the Windsors, so you can enjoy the pomp without the pressure...

You might not have to try – just be in the right place at the right time. Marie-Chantal Miller, a London heiress, met Greece's Crown Prince Pavlos on a blind date. Lilian Davies was a hostess at a gambling club when she met Prince Bertil of Sweden. So stay focused and be ready to swoop.

Royals aren't above marrying the help, as was the case with Stéphanie of Monaco and her bodyguard – and Sweden's Princess Victoria who tied the knot with her fitness trainer. Perhaps you could tend to the royal gardens, or become a dashing butler.

In 2002, journalist Letizia Ortiz was covering an oil spill when she met the heir to the Spanish throne, who was on hand helping the needy. Need we say more? Creating an environmental disaster to bag a royal might take some doing, but then, nothing in life comes easy.

By Liam O'Brien

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower