May 9, 2011 reveals “Three-quarters of European Princes marry commoners”

Three-quarters of European Princes marry commoners”, reveals global study by Badoo


• Few royal brides today are themselves royal, finds study of 107 women wooed by princes since World War II

• Like Kate, 10% met their prince at university

• Princes today marry for love not lineage

• Several princesses are from humbler backgrounds than Kate


Kate Middleton might be the first commoner in almost four centuries to marry a future heir to the British throne but her background, reveals a new global study, is far commoner – more typical of a modern royal bride – than we are led to think.


Barely one in four princes across the world today marry brides of royal blood, reveals the study of 107 princely romances since World War II, while just one in 17 European princes do so. Indeed, nearly three-quarters of European princes now marry commoners, rather than royals or aristocrats.


A surprising number of royal brides also resemble Kate in having first met their prince at university, according to the study conducted by (, the world’s largest social networking site for meeting new people.


No less than 11 (10%) of the 107 romances analysed began, like Kate and William’s, at university. Nor is Kate’s “humble” background uncommon. Indeed, she has far from the humblest background among recent royal brides.


“There has been a lot of fuss and attention about Kate being a ‘commoner’”, says Lloyd Price, Badoo’s Director of Marketing “But the truth is, our research reveals she is a role model and embodies the modern royal bride.”  


Badoo’s team of researchers studied 107 marriages or serious romances involving princes across the world since the end of World War II. Over 90% of these have led to marriage or engagement, while the rest have been “serious relationships”, defined as lasting at least a year.


Barely a quarter (26%) of the 107 women wooed by princes in the study have themselves been of royal blood, while over a third (36%) have, like Kate, been commoners. The rest have been aristocrats – like Princess (originally “Lady”) Diana, from families with hereditary titles.


These figures, however, are skewed by the fact Asian and Middle-Eastern royal families remain more traditional in their marriage patterns than European ones, with far less opportunity for women to meet men outside the context of a family arrangement.


If we restrict the focus just to European princes, then almost three-quarters (71%) of the women they have wooed have been commoners, while only 6% have been of royal blood.


The princes in the study came from 30 countries, 33 royal families and four continents. They included both princes from reigning royal families and a few European noblemen still legally entitled to call themselves “Prince”.



Student Romance


Kate might be the first woman ever to marry a future heir to the British throne after meeting him at university but she is far from the first woman from any country to marry a prince she met at college. Indeed, nine others in the study married their prince after meeting as students.


Katie is not even the first Englishwoman to marry a prince she met at an English university; at least two others have done so, although both cases involved foreign princes.  


Jessica Sainsbury, of the famous Sainsbury family, was studying Archeology and Anthropology at Cambridge when she met Prince Peter Frankopan, a Croation prince, who became her husband.


Louise Leakey, part of the famous Leakey family of anthropologists, was doing a PhD in paleontology at University College London when she met Prince Emmanuel de Mérode, a fellow doctoral student, Belgian prince and her future husband.  


Humble Stock


Kate might be of humbler stock than other recent British royal brides, but she is a long way from being the humblest royal bride anywhere.


Indeed, while Kate went to Marlborough, an elite private school and has prosperious parents, Princess Letizia in Spain is the daughter of working-class parents, while Princess Tessy of Luxembourg is the daughter of a tiler.


Prince Louis of Luxembourg first met Tessy Anthony, as she then was, in 2004 when she was on a mission with the Luxembourg army in Yugoslavia and he was paying a royal visit to the troops.  


Nor is Kate the only recent royal bride to have worked in the fashion industry – in her case as an accessories buyer for the womenswear chain, Jigsaw.


Princess Angela of Liechstenstein first met her future husband, Prince Maximillian, in 1997 in New York when she was plain Angela Brown and working for the fashion designer Adrienne Vittadini, while also running her own small fashion label.



“Princes marry for love not lineage”


Princes today marry for love not lineage, says Dr Shaun Marcom, an historian and former London University lecturer, who has written a paper based on the Badoo research. This is especially true of European ones.


“In today’s less hierarchical, more globalised society, the expectations on monarchies to act as a model for the whole of society are less than they used to be. The demand now is that princes act much like the rest of us and make their own choices, on the basis of love.”  


“So, in a way, princes themselves are becoming more common, more middle-class. Whereas 70 or a hundred years ago, marrying a commoner could be deeply unpopular for a prince to do, today it is a good way to gain public support.”


Has anyone, however, yet met a prince on Badoo? “Not as far as we know”, says Lloyd Price.  “But it’s probably only be a matter of time.”








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