Royals Who Moved To The US And Never Looked Back - Nicki Swift (2024)


Royals Who Moved To The US And Never Looked Back - Nicki Swift (1)

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ByMadison Troyer/

In March 2023, Sweden's Princess Madeline announced she'd be moving back to her native country by the end of the year. The relocation is a big deal, as the royal has been living in the US for well over a decade, moving first to New York City and then later to Miami, Florida. Her decision to live in North America, which was motivated by her desire to work for her mother's World Childhood Division and her determination to give her family a more normal life, didn't come without consequences. According to Royal Central, it likely caused her children to lose their places in the line of succession and cost them their royal titles (according to Swedish succession laws, future Kings and Queens must be raised in the country). As a result, we can't imagine that the decision to return was an easy one.

And while we're happy for the princess and her family, we have to admit we are a little sad to be losing another royal resident. There have been plenty of princes and princesses who have called America home over the years— Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice both lived here for a bit in their early 20s, Thailand's Princess Ubolratana Rajajkanya spent decades in the country, and even former King Edward VIII spent a good chunk of time here after marrying Wallis Simpson— but their numbers are dwindling. So today, we're looking at the royals who moved to America and never looked back. Our list is, essentially, a complete rundown of every royal family member who still calls the good old US of A home.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

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We'll start with the most obvious. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle officially moved to California in March 2020, after stepping back as senior working members of the UK's royal family. Their cross-continental move was quite sudden and dramatic (at least, in the eyes of outsiders who hadn't been privy to the drama unfolding behind the scenes), so the couple initially didn't even have a home of their own. As a result, they spent several months living in the LA-area mansion of actor/producer Tyler Perry before eventually buying their own $14 million, nine-bedroom mansion in Santa Barbara, California. It was this secondary move, according to a source who spoke to People, that really allowed the family to feel settled and confident that they had made the right decision for their family.

Three years on, Prince Harry now says he considers the US home. In an interview on Today, the royal told Hoda Kotb, "Home for me now, at the time being, is in the states. It really feels that way. We've been welcomed with open arms, and have such a great community up in Santa Barbara." He also told the journalist that it didn't feel weird to think of his new country that way, despite the fact that he's spent the bulk of his life in the UK, and we'd have to imagine it has something to do with the fact that his entire nuclear family is here with him.

Prince Pavlos

In the mid-1970s, Greece officially abolished its monarchy, ridding the country of even a superficial figurehead in favor of a more classical democracy. As a result, King Constantine II and all of his descendants were banished from their homeland and stripped of their citizenship. Etiquette, however, allowed the family to retain their (ultimately powerless) titles, which is how we've wound up with His Royal Highness Crown Prince Pavlos.

The heir to the Greek crown would have taken the throne following the death of his father in 2023 had the monarchy not been abolished. Instead, he's spent much of his life outside Greece. As an adult, Pavlos splits his time between London, where his wife, Crown Princess Marie Chantal runs a clothing line and New York City where he works for a financial firm.

Prince Pavlos' NYC base is an Upper East Side townhouse that he purchased with Marie Chantal for $7.5 million in 2000. Photos of the impeccably decorated manse were published recently in Hello! Magazine, where the princess described it as "...very much stripped back to show off the real beauty of the house's bones, nothing too fussy." Although the use of the phrase "stripped back" here seems to be more in comparison to the ornate palaces Prince Pavlos spent his childhood in than to the average American home.

Following King Constantine's death, there were rumors that Prince Pavlos would be returning to Greece more permanently, but sources close to the couple maintain they have no intentions of selling their NYC home.

Prince Joel Makonnen

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Like Greece's Crown Prince Pavlos, Prince Joel Makonnen wasn't raised in his native country. A member of the Solomnic dynasty, which ruled the Ethiopian Empire from the 13th century up until the mid-1970s, Prince Joel was born in Rome after his parents fled a coup. He spent much of his early life moving around Europe and Africa, eventually moving to the US in 2003 to attend The American University at Washington DC and Howard University. It was during his time here that he first met his future wife, Ariana Austin, at a nightclub.

It seems that their marriage, more than anything else, is what's kept him in America all this time. After tying the knot in 2017, the pair settled down in Washington, D.C. where he works for a law firm and she's involved in philanthropy. In an essay for Town & Country, Ariana wrote that her life with her prince is fairly ordinary — they enjoy staying in, cooking together, and taking international trips when their schedules allow. As far as flaunting their royal status, they both prefer to keep their titles under wraps. Prince Joel told Insider it's because he was raised to do so, while Ariana feels as if the title isn't hers to use as "it was [not] given to [her] by the Ethiopian people," the way her husband's was.

Princess Mako

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In 2021, Princess Mako, a member of Japan's imperial family, left behind everything she had ever known in order to marry her "commoner" husband. According to Page Six, the princess had met her future spouse, Kei Komuro, at a restaurant in 2012 when they were both studying overseas. Their courtship was initially approved by the palace and the public, but when Komuro found himself embroiled in some embarrassing family drama of his own that approval was quickly revoked. Unwilling to give up her love, Princess Mako decided she'd relinquish her title, an official imperial wedding, and her inheritance for a chance at her own happily ever after.

So at the end of the year, following their scaled-back ceremony where Mako reiterated that "Kei is irreplaceable for me. For us, marriage is a necessary choice to live while cherishing our hearts," the couple moved to New York City, desperate for some distance from the media storm that had surrounded them in Japan and the chance to live a more normal life. In the US, Komuro works for a prominent law firm and the former princess interns at the MET. By all accounts, it seems the couple really does lead a fairly typical life (as demonstrated by the way the American press largely leaves them alone), though paparazzi still land the occasional picture of the pair wandering the streets of their new hometown.

Prince Joachim

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Of all the royals on our list, Prince Joachim and his family are the newest arrivals to the United States. It's believed that some heir-and-spare drama, similar to that of Prince William and Prince Harry, is what drove the sixth in line to the Danish throne to leave his home country.

According to The New York Post, there have been tensions in the family for several years, but things really came to a head in early 2023 when Queen Margarethe stripped all of Prince Joachim's children of their royal titles. According to the palace, this was done as a way to streamline the monarchy to fit the needs of modern times (several other countries, including the UK, have taken similar steps in recent years). However, the prince and his children were deeply hurt by the move, especially as they had been given little warning. Wanting some space from his offending family, the prince, his wife, Princess Marie, and their two young children decided to move to Washington D.C.

While here, Prince Joachim will be working for the Danish embassy. His position will be unpaid, but the palace has agreed to continue to give him his royal stipend which comes to about $48,000 US a month. With that kind of cash, the royals should have no problem leading a lifestyle fit for a king.

Princess Martha Louise

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Japan's Princess Mako wasn't the only royal to leave her home country behind for love in 2021. Norway's Princess Martha Louise also took the plunge, ditching her European palace and royal duties for a shot at happiness with a Los Angeles-based shaman and healer named Durek Verrett.

The pair met in 2019 and got engaged shortly after. There was concern, almost immediately, that the happy couple was using the princess' title and connections for their own commercial gain (thanks to things like their European speaking tour called "The Princess and the Shaman"), so Princess Martha Louise did what she felt was best and essentially gave up her role as a working member of the royal family. The move, which resulted in her no longer representing the royal house, was seen as the best way to "create peace around the royal household," a representative told CBS News. Free of her royal obligations, the princess then decided that the time was right to join her fiance stateside.

The pair, along with Martha Louise's two younger daughters, now live somewhere in LA. Shaman Durek, as he's more commonly known, still works as a spiritual guide and healer, and has stayed close to many of his well-known celebrity clients like Gwyneth Paltrow and Nina Dobrev.

Prince Amadeo

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Lest you just think it's princesses giving up their place in the line of succession and moving to the US to be with their soulmates, let us introduce you to Prince Amadeo.

At the time of his engagement, Prince Amadeo was sixth in line to the Belgian throne. His fiancé, Elisabetta Maria Rostock von Wollenstein, hailed from a family of Italian aristocrats and was, on a purely political level, a quite suitable choice for the young royal. Nevertheless, for reasons that have never been fully explained, the prince decided not to obtain a royal decree for the marriage from his uncle, King Phillipe, and, as a result, lost his right of succession. So, after tying the knot in Rome, the young couple (now royal only in name) moved to New York City in pursuit of what The Daily Mail described as "an independent life... free of any official role."

And live independently they have. As of 2011, Prince Amadeo was working as an analyst at Deloitte. He prefers to keep a more quiet profile these days, so not much is known about his current job title or where, exactly, the couple lives. And without those exact details, we're forced to imagine that they're just living a happy, ordinary life, blending in with the thousands of other New Yorkers who've moved from places all over the world and who have interesting backstories they only ever share with their nearest and dearest.

Prince Dimitri

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Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia may not be a household name the way Prince Harry is, but he's actually the descendent of several royal houses, including those of Italy, Russia, and Greece. His family's official reign ended during WWII when Yugoslavia was invaded by axis powers, but, like Prince Pavlos, they've kept their royal titles, believing them to be theirs by birthright if nothing else.

Dimitri spent his younger years in Paris but moved to New York City in 1983 after graduating from university. He pursued a more traditional route at first, working in finance at a major brokerage firm, but eventually tired of the rat race and began following his true passion— gemology. After working in Sothbey's jewelry department for several years, he started his own line of opulent accessories, founding the Prince Dimitri Company in 2007. According to The New York Times, who wrote a profile of the royal focusing on his work as a designer, pieces in his collection tend to go from anywhere between $150,000 to $2 million.

Aside from his obvious professional success, Prince Dimitri says the ability to live anonymously is what's kept him in the US all of these years. He told Insider, "In New York, nobody cares as long as you are nice and fun and intelligent and mind your own business. Anything goes, it's very relaxed."

King Peggy

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Finally, there is one royal who's chosen to live in America not because they're desperate for some space from their family, or because love brought them here, or because their entire house is in exile, but simply because this is where they were raised, and where they learned, well into adulthood, that they were, in fact, royalty.

King Peggy was 55, and working as a low-level administrative assistant at the Ghanaian Embassy in Washington D.C., when she received a phone call that would change her life. At the other end of the line was a cousin, who informed her that their uncle, the previous King of Otuam (a town of about 7,000 people in Ghana) had died, and the village had elected Peggy as their next leader. After some contemplation, Peggy decided to accept the position, telling CNN she felt that the new role would allow her a platform that could be used to help a lot of people.

Despite her desire to make lasting change in her native country, King Peggy wasn't quite ready to jump ship and leave the entire life she'd built for herself in the US behind. After all, she'd moved to Washington D.C. decades earlier and had become a citizen in 1997. So she now splits her time between America (where she still works at the embassy) and Ghana, traveling to her kingdom for at least a month every year.

Royals Who Moved To The US And Never Looked Back - Nicki Swift (2024)
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