Most of us grow up watching movies like Cinderella, dreaming that someday, someone will knock us off our feet and rescue us from real life, riding off into the sunset on a white horse. Unfortunately, for the vast majority of kids who grow up hoping to become royalty, that dream never comes true. But there are people who are living out Cinderella stories in real life. Hey, we might not all grow up to become a princess, but with stories like these, we can dream.
Kate Middleton's Love Story With Prince William
One of the most popular modern-day Cinderella stories is Kate Middleton, who was a "normal" girl from the U.K. when she met Prince William in college. They dated and fell in love just like any other couple...except for the part where millions of people tuned in to watch their wedding from the comfort of their own homes.
Now, Kate is the Duchess of Cambridge and living out every girl's dream. These days, she's expecting her third child with Will and generally looking absolutely flawless everywhere she goes, always showing off her impeccable royal style.
Grace Kelly Went From Actress To Royalty
Like Meghan, Grace Kelly started out as an actress, starring in all kinds of films and even scoring Oscar awards and nominations along the way. And then, her life became even more charmed. In 1955, Grace met Prince Rainier of Monaco at the Cannes Film Festival, and they totally hit it off. They were married a year later, despite the fact that Grace's family had to hand over a $2 million dowry — yikes.
Their wedding was a huge, star-studded event, with more than 30 million people tuning in to watch, and later, they had three children together and stayed together for the rest of her life.
Matt Damon Swept Luciana Barroso Off Her Feet
Many of us have dreamed of marrying Matt Damon, but sadly, he already has a wife, and together they've created a Cinderella story of their own. While filming Stuck On You in Miami in 2003, Matt met Luciana Barroso when she was his bartender... and let's just say she hasn't had to do much bartending since. They tied the knot two years later on December 9, 2005, and since then, the couple has had three children together, plus Luciana's daughter from her previous marriage, Alexia.
12 years later, they're still going strong. What are the chances that a celebrity would ever pop into your job and fall in love with you? They have to be really tiny. Luciana is a lucky lady.
This Girl Went From Homeless To Harvard
When Dawn Loggins was in high school, she had a really difficult life. Her parents abandoned her out of nowhere, she had to bounce from place to place just to have somewhere to sleep, and she even worked as a custodian at her own school. But despite the massive obstacles she had to overcome, Dawn was accepted into Harvard and has since worked to help other homeless students who have faced similar situations to hers.
Now, she's about to graduate with a Bachelor's Degree in linguistics and she's already been working as a motivational speaker. If anyone can offer up the motivation to work harder, it's gotta be her.
Natasha Muslimorova Became Royalty
Once upon a time, a sheik from Dubai — Sheik Sayyid bin Maktoum al-Maktoum, to be exact — visited Belarus for a clay pigeon shooting competition, met a waitress named Natasha who was working at his hotel, fell in love with her, and they lived happily ever after. This is a true story, and it only took a month from the time they met until he proposed marriage to Natasha Muslimorova.
Could you imagine being 19 years old, working as a waitress, and then meeting a prince from Dubai and suddenly becoming royalty? It's so hard to believe that things like this actually happen, but they totally do.
From Personal Trainer To Duke
Could you imagine going from working in a gym to being a royal? For Daniel Westling, it happened. After scoring a gig as a personal trainer to Sweden's Princess Victoria, he realized he was working for the love of his life.
After asking for permission to marry her and dealing with a scary kidney transplant, Daniel was finally able to tie the knot with Victoria at Stockholm Cathedral in 2010, officially becoming Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland. Together, Daniel and Victoria have had two children, a boy and a girl, and are still married to this day.
Wallis Simpson Made Serious Waves In The Royal Family
Meghan Markle is hardly the first American to marry into British royalty. Before she came along and stole Prince Harry's heart, there was Wallis Simpson, who left her second husband to pursue a romantic relationship with Prince Edward. However, no one in the prince's family, including the Queen Mother, approved of their relationship, so there was only one thing left to do.
Rather than break things off, Edward decided to abdicate the throne just so he could marry Simpson, which is true love for sure. Giving up his place in the royal family just so he could be with Wallis? That's a Cinderella story if we've ever heard one.
Ariana Austin Met A Prince At The Club
Most solid relationships don't start in nightclubs, let alone ones that involve royalty, but that's exactly what happened to Ariana Austin. As the story goes, she was at a Washington, D.C. club with her friends when she met an Ethiopian prince named Joel Makonnen, and that ended up being day one of living happily ever after.
There's a fun plot twist in this story, though: Joel didn't tell her that he was a prince at first, and acted like he was just your run of the mill lawyer. That didn't change anything for Ariana, and they got married in September 2017. Let's just say this love connection probably won't ever happen again. In a club? Really?
Princess Sofia Started Out On Reality TV
As much as any given member of the Kardashian family would have probably loved to become royalty (Lord Disick, anyone?), reality stars becoming princesses almost never happened... except in the case of Sofia Hellqvist. Before she married Prince Carl Philip of Sweden, Sofia had an illustrious career as a model, a pageant contestant, and even competed on a reality show called Paradise Hotel.
Although it was rumored that the Swedish royal family disapproved of her past, that didn't stop Carl from marrying her in 2015, when she officially became Princess Sofia, Duchess of Värmland. What a life she's had already!
Jetsun Pema Became An Actual Queen
Most of these love stories involve princesses and princes, but this one ramps it up a bit. Even though Jetsun's family includes nobility and governors in Bhutan, she wasn't really royalty at first. She went to school at London's Regents College, learning about art history, and was generally like your average college student... until she met the King of Bhutan.
They got married in 2011, and she became Queen, right then and there. Fun fact: Even though in Bhutan, polygamy is a normal part of their culture, the King has promised that Jetsun would be his only wife and that he will never take another. So that's... kind of romantic, right?
Lalla Salma Came From Difficult Beginnings
Lalla was born into a middle-class family, and after her mother died, she and her siblings were raised by her grandmother. But even after she had to cope with losing a parent at a young age, Lalla was destined for greatness. After a very, very mysterious courtship, Lalla married King Mohammed VI in 2011, becoming Princess Lalla, and they have two kids together.
Now, Lalla focuses on her charity work, especially in helping those who have been diagnosed with HIV and AIDS. She likes to stay out of the limelight (and with all that pressure, could you really blame her?), but it's still incredibly cool that she grew up as a normal kid and went on to marry a king.
Mett-Merit Became The Princess Of Norway
Does anyone ever really grow up assuming they'll become the princess of whatever country they're living in? Unless they're already part of the royal family, probably not, but it happened for Mett-Merit. She met Prince Haakon of Norway at a party during a music festival, but she was married at the time. However, they met again, they were both single, and it was love at first sight.
She was a single mother during that second meeting, so honestly, could the prince have come back into her life at a better time? They got married in 2001 and had two children together, and if her husband ever becomes king, she will only be the third queen who started life as a commoner.
Queen Maxima Now Rules Over The Netherlands
Maxima Cerruti started off the life in her hometown of Buenos Aires, Argentina the way most of us do: she made friends, went to school, and did all the usual normal kid stuff. But little did she know that her life was about to change forever. She met a guy she thought was just Willem-Alexander, regular dude, but as it turns out, he was actually the Prince of Orange.
Later, he revealed his real identity to her, and even though their relationship caused a bit of controversy in the Netherlands, they eventually married. When her husband became king she became the queen consort... something she probably never imagined would actually happen to her. Did any of these people?!
Princess Tatiana's Life Story Is Fascinating
Tatiana Blatnik started her career as an event planner and even worked for Diane von Furstenberg, but then, she fell in love with Prince Nikolaos of Greece and Denmark, and everything about her life changed. She even had to quit her job to focus on her new gig as a princess, which had to be pretty insane.
But even though she's officially royalty, that hasn't really changed the way she feels about herself and her life. “I do not feel like a princess,” Tatiana has said. “I do not feel that I married a prince, with a title. Well actually, yes, he is my prince, but nothing more.”
Prince Harry & Meghan Markle's Engagement
This is one of the most recent Cinderella stories to date, and it's already drumming up tons of excitement. Meghan's entire life has basically been a fairytale — she grew up as a regular girl, then became a well-known actress while starring in Suits... only to meet and fall in love with Prince Harry, who popped the question in November 2017. Now, she's planning a May wedding, when she will officially become a duchess herself.
Sounds exciting, but a little stressful. Thankfully, Meghan has Kate to consult with if she has any questions about the whole regular-girl-becoming-royalty process. Is anyone else insanely jealous?
Charlene Wittstock Was An Olympian & Is Now A Princess
Much like Grace Kelly went from commoner to Princess of Monaco, Charlene Wittstock followed in her footsteps — although she didn't exactly start from humble beginnings. Charlene is actually an Olympic athlete who represented South America as a competitive swimmer in 2000, and she met Prince Albert at another swimming competition. In 2011, they married after a yearlong engagement, and now they have two children.
Even without being a princess, Charlene has won all kinds of medals and accolades for her swimming, so who needs royalty? Okay, yeah, it'd still be cool to be a princess. Nobody is going to turn that down.
Silvia Sommerlath Is Breaking Records As Queen
Silvia started out as a regular girl with familial ties to royalty like Princess Madeleine via her parents' friends, but that went into overdrive when she actually became royalty herself. She had a bunch of cool jobs, working as a flight attendant and as a host, but it wasn't until her gig as an interpreter at the 1972 Summer Olympics that she met the crown prince of Sweden.
It didn't take long before they were married, and they had three children together. And for that record-setting part? Queen Silvia is now the longest reigning queen of Sweden, which is obviously really impressive.
Michiko Shoda's Love Story Started With Tennis
Michiko didn't exactly come from humble beginnings — she was born into a family that had plenty of money. And they were pretty picky about who she could date, but apparently, dating a prince surpassed all of their expectations. She and Prince Akihito met during a tennis game, and even though some believed that the prince should be marrying nobility like himself, that didn't stop them from spending the rest of their lives together.
Now, she's an Empress and has stayed by her husband's side ever since their wedding. She can speak multiple languages and even wrote a children's book, so let's just say that Michiko is a seriously impressive woman.
Alice Kim & Nicolas Cage's Love Story
Thanks to his many movies, all of the memes, and that time he stole the Declaration of Independence, most people know exactly who Nicolas Cage is. But his ex-wife, Alice Kim? Her story is even more interesting. When Nicolas and Alice first met, she was a waitress in Los Angeles, and just two months later, they were married, welcoming their son into their lives two years after that.
They have since divorced, 12 years after they walked down the aisle, but earlier this year, rumors ramped up about them finally reconciling. Maybe their love story isn't over quite yet? After all, who could give up on something that had such a magical start?
Princess Diana, Of Course
Most people know the story of Princess Diana, but that doesn't make it any less incredible. Of course, she wasn't exactly born into a regular family — she was Lady Diana Spencer long before she married into the British royal family, after all — but after she met Prince Charles, everything changed.
Suddenly, she became a household name, giving birth to Princes William and Harry and was known for being a philanthropist until her untimely death. Her story came to a sad end in 1997 after she died in a car crash, and people from all over the world mourned the enormous loss.