Surprising Former Careers of Queens and Princesses

These women wear many hats – and one of them is a tiara.

Although royalty always looks elegant when they step out into the spotlight, there are many women who toiled away at jobs like the rest of us, before finding their prince and having the fairytale wedding. The current princesses and queens around the world have worked in everything from bioethics to journalism, with extensive tertiary education to back up their impressive credentials.

So while Meghan Markle is transitioning from our favourite Suits actress to a Princess, let’s take a look at the other women who’ve similarly changed their lives:

Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark


Image via Shutterstock

An Aussie born to Scottish parents, Mary Donaldson worked primarily in advertising before meeting the Crown Prince of Denmark in a Sydney pub. As an account executive, she was employed at agencies in Melbourne, Edinburgh and Sydney until 2002, when she had a brief stint as an English teacher at a Parisian business school. She even worked in Denmark for a spell, working as a project consultant for Microsoft Business Solutions until a month before her official engagement.


Grace, Princess of Monaco


Image via Grace Kelly in To Catch A Thief

Like bride-to-be Meghan Markle, Grace Kelly was the world’s foremost female actress before giving up life on the screen for her prince, who belonged to the royal household of Monaco. Throughout her career, she worked with some of the largest names in cinema of old – Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, Bing Crosby, Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra. She won three Golden Globe Awards and an Academy Award (Oscar) for Best Actress in 1955, forever cementing her place in film’s hall of fame.



Princess Claire of Luxembourg


Image via Shutterstock

Before she became the wife of Prince Fèlix of Luxembourg, Claire Lademacher had a busy and illustrious career. While working for the New York and Munich branches of Condé Nast Publications, she studied for a master’s degree in Bioethics and worked for the UNESCO Chair of Bioethics and Human Rights – multitasking at its finest. In 2012, she began her dissertation in Organ Donation Ethics, and is currently working her way towards a PhD.


Charlene, Princess of Monaco

In addition to winning the heart of Prince Albert II of Monaco, Charlene Wittstock was a medal winning Olympic swimmer. As a member of the South African team, she won silver at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, three golds and a silver at the 1999 All-Africa Games in Johannesburg, and competed in the 2000 Summer Olympics before retiring from competitive swimming in 2007.


Queen Máxima of the Netherlands


Image via Robert Hoetink on Shutterstock

Although Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti is the current queen consort, even as an average citizen, she was a marvel – with a career that spanned software research to sales, she’s worked as the VP of institutional sales at HSBC. Post HSBC, Máxima was appointed the VP of the emerging markets divisions at Dresdner Kleinwort Benson in New York, worked with Deutsche Bank in Brussels, and then as an English and Mathematics tutor.


Queen Letizia of Spain

Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano, prior to becoming queen, had a career every bit as brilliant as her current crown, working as a journalist after attaining both Bachelor’s and Master’s qualifications in Journalism. At the peak of her career, she anchored the weekly news program Informe Semanal and the evening news Telediario 2, the most viewed newscast in Spain. During her journalism career, she reported on everything, from Ground Zero following 9/11 to Galicia in northern Spain, where the oil tanker Prestige sank.


Princess Sofia, Duchess of Värmland


Image via Robert Holm on Shutterstock

Sofia Hellqvist turned in her pop culture, Kim-Kardashianesque career for the chance to be a real-life princess when she married Prince Carl Phillip of Sweden. Although her most notable career highlights were as a contestant on reality TV show Paradise Hotel and a glamour model, she also worked as a part-time waitress and a New York Yoga instructor. She’s also got brains to match her beauty – she studied accounting, global ethics, child and youth science, amongst others.