Who doesn’t love hearing about royal romances? On May 19, 2018, around 29 million people in the United States rose early to watch Prince Harry and Meghan Markle marry, according to CNN. Some fans who tuned in from the eastern time zone woke up well before dawn as to not miss a minute of the big day. In the United Kingdom alone, the royal couple’s wedding garnered about 18 million viewers. With a population that is one-fifth the size of the U.S., 18 million is a whole lot of people. The Guardian reported that the wedding was “by far the biggest television event of the year” in the U.K.
It’s true — most of us love a royal wedding. Arguably more exciting than the matrimony of a royal couple, however, is the royal romance that led up to the big day. Some were scandalous, some were — and still are — romantic, and some are just positively strange. Here’s the truth behind some of your favorite royals’ relationships.
King George VI and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon: Third time’s a charm
Although King George VI and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon married well before our time, many may be somewhat familiar with this royal couple’s relationship from Netflix’s royal adaptation The Crown — or from Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter’s portrayal in the Oscar-winning film The King’s Speech. Although the television series and the film are based on true stories, both are set long after King George and the Queen Mother said their vows.
In 1920, King George, who was then Prince Albert, met his future wife. According to BBC, she was an outgoing young woman and the daughter of a Scottish aristocrat. Albert was immediately interested in Bowes-Lyon, but, as The Queen Mother reveals, he wasn’t the only one vying for her attention. Still, Albert persisted. In the end, the young prince ended up proposing to her a total of three times before she would accept the invitation to become his wife and join the royal family.