It was back in 2009 when Two and a Half Men actor Sophie Winkleman wedded Lord Frederick Windsor, the son of the Queen’s first cousin Prince Michael, yet she says no one in Hollywood had any idea about her place in the British monarchy.
Compassionately known as “Winky and Windy”, the royal couple were engaged on 14 February in 2009 and married in September that year, after which they immediately left the royal life behind and moved to Los Angeles for her career.
By opting not to utilise her significant other’s imperial last name, Winkleman kept her royal connections under wraps before finding success writing screenplays for Salma Hayek and Penélope Cruz.
In 2011, she secured a recurring role for two seasons alongside Ashton Kutcher in Two and a Half Men, one of the most successful shows in American sitcom history.
Winkleman was not new to acting when she moved to America, having started out in plays while studying at Cambridge University and going on to appear in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, not to mention TV roles in the likes of Peep Show.
She told Insider in an interview that she was known as Sophie Winkleman in acting circles - but that keeping her royal identity a secret was also key for another reason.
“People in my business in America didn’t know anything about it, because they’d just see ‘Sophie Winkleman’ on the sheet and I’d go and do the audition and then get the job or not,” Winkleman said.
“And they didn’t find anything out about me. They just knew me from my acting, which was quite important to me.”
Winkleman and Lord Frederick wound up moving back to London in 2013 to be nearer to the family, whom the actress described as “positive” and “caring.”
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“I can only speak from personal experience, but when I first went to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen for the Christmas lunch, she was incredibly welcoming and kind,” Winkleman said. “I’ve only had positive, caring, warmth from all of them.”
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