Meghan Markle’s story can seem like a fairytale at times — a famous actress meets a prince and they marry and start a family. Best known for her role as Rachel Zane in “Suits,” in which she appeared for seven seasons out of the show’s total nine, Markle also had a wide-ranging career outside of acting, which included everything from fashion to calligraphy and even being a lifestyle influencer. After it was confirmed she and Prince Harry were engaged, Markle announced her retirement from acting in order to focus on being a full-time member of the royal family.
But while her story is certainly a fairytale romance of our generation, Markle is not the first woman to lead such a life. Back in the 1950s American actress, Grace Kelly had a very similar story. Considered one of Hollywood’s greats, Kelly had an incredibly short career for a film star, working for only six years. However, she was very prolific during that time, appearing in over a dozen movies and winning an Academy Award and Golden Globe.
After dominating Hollywood in her short acting career, Kelly met Prince Rainier III of Monaco while at the Cannes Film Festival in 1955. Swept off her feet by the charming prince, Kelly chose love instead of her career, quitting Hollywood and becoming Princess of Monaco. Together she and Rainier had three children — Caroline, Princess of Hanover, Albert II, Prince of Monaco, and Princess Stéphanie.
While Markle has only been a royal family member for a few years, the similarities between her and Kelly are clear. Let’s take a look at how the two are similar as well as different.
Winning The Hearts Of Real-Life Princes
Besides sharing the fact that both Meghan Markle and Grace Kelly were famous American actresses who met real-life princes, both of their relationships also started as whirlwind romances that developed quickly.
While attending the Cannes Film Festival in 1955, Kelly was asked by fellow Hollywood actress Olivia de Havilland if she would be open to meeting Prince Rainier III, a friend of de Havilland’s French husband Pierre Galante. Kelly confirmed she would, provided her film studio, MGM, approved of the meeting during a work trip. After a series of mishaps, Kelly met the prince in his palace in Monaco and the rest as they say is history. De Havilland told People many years later:
“I guessed things had gone wonderfully well by Grace’s manner upon returning from her presentation to Rainier. … She was in a state of enchantment.”
Famously, Markle was also set up with her prince on a blind date. After being introduced by a mutual friend, the couple opened up about how their first meeting went during their engagement interview. When asked at what point he knew Markle was the one, Prince Harry replied:
“The very first time we met.”
Both Left Behind Hollywood In Pursuit Of Love
Kelly’s acting career was famously short, but in that time she’d already managed to make a huge impression on Hollywood, as well as win an Oscar for “The Country Girl.” Some might say that she’d already reached the top of her career in that short time, so perhaps it was easier for her to say goodbye to the glitz and glamor of Hollywood, which she did once she married Rainier in April 1956.
What’s more, not only did Kelly leave the film industry in Hollywood, but she also left America, as she relocated to Rainier’s home of Monaco, which is situated on the French Riviera on the Mediterranean Sea. There, the royal couple had their three children.
While Markle had never even been nominated for an Oscar, she had built herself a solid career in Hollywood, most notably her role on “Suits,” as well as a number of Hallmark movies. After becoming engaged to Harry, Markle left her acting career to become a full-time working royal. However, she makes it clear that she didn’t give anything up but instead made a change.
Just like Kelly, Markle also became a mother soon after marrying her prince, with Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor born in May 2019 and Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor born in June 2021.
One difference between Kelly and Markle is that the latter didn’t stay a working royal for long, with her and Harry announcing their desire to step away from their roles in early 2020. However, their situations were different, with Rainier ascending the throne, while Harry was only in the line of succession and not expected to become king.
Humanitarian, Charitable, And Fashion Icons
Another similarity between the two former actresses is their dedication to humanitarian causes. Kelly was an advocate of children’s rights and even served as the president of the Red Cross in Monaco.
On top of being humanitarian icons, Kelly and Markle are also well known for their impeccable sense of style. Kelly was a fashion icon from her acting days, as she always appeared perfectly dressed in gorgeous gowns. She continued her love of fashion by donning local Monaco designers when she was a princess. Meanwhile, Markle started a charity organization with Harry named Archewell Foundation, while her charitable work has been evident even before she became a royal.
Also well known for her fashionable outfits, Markle has even dabbled in fashion design and used her former blog The Tig to show off her great taste. Ever since becoming a royal, Markle’s outfits have set trends themselves, as she always looks stunning. Now based in Montecito, California, Markle differs from Kelly in that she moved back to the United States after a few years abroad, but otherwise, the two are more alike than they’re different.