Being born into royalty may seem to be the ultimate life advantage for the vast majority of people who only ever view royal living from the outside. 

However, throughout the ages, there have been tales of royals and nobles born into the most elevated positions in society who were unhappy or dissatisfied with their destined role or their responsibilities. Some of these disgruntled royals embarked on scandalous trajectories that led to their downfall or demise.   

Other royals who failed to find happiness or fulfillment in their native lands chose to simply move to another country in a bid to create the lifestyle they feel is more appropriate or rewarding. 

Unsurprisingly, these regal emigrations are quite rare, and are met with a good deal of surprise or even controversy when they do occur. It seems that being born into royalty appears to suit the vast majority of the world’s royals, or perhaps they are raised in such a strong culture of duty and obligation that they endure their roles despite any personal reservations. 

When royals do choose to reject the country of their birth and the royal subjects they were born to serve, it can make headlines around the world.

Here are some of the modern royals who have emigrated to the United States rather than remain in their ancestral nation to fulfill the royal role they were born into.   

Prince Harry, English Prince

It’s hard to miss the ongoing headlines on both sides of the Atlantic regarding Prince Harry of England and his American wife, Meghan Markle, or to use her latest title since her marriage, the Duchess of Sussex. 

The royal couple’s decision to emigrate to America has shocked many and delighted others, as they opted for a stateside lifestyle in preference to the traditional roles of British royals in England. 

Prince Harry famously made the controversial decision to step away from his royal duties and move his family across the Atlantic for what they hoped would be a peaceful and happier life. 

Princess Mako, Japanese Princess 

Princess Mako during the New Year Greeting 2015 at the Tokyo Imperial Palace – Kounosu1, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Another royal to emigrate to America in search of a life less royal is Princess Mako. The young Japanese Princess has spent the majority of her life playing the dutiful role as a high-ranking member of the Imperial family, yet her priorities seem to have altered since her marriage in 2021.  

The young couple sought education in universities beyond their native Japan, something not uncommon with modern royals. Yet it was their surprising decision to step away from traditional royal duties to live a ‘more peaceful’ life in New York that made headlines in both countries. 

Princess Madeleine, Swedish Princess

Princess Madeleine of Sweden, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland, is another royal princess to move away from her regal roots and ancestral land in the pursuit of a different way of life in America. 

Princess Madeleine married an American financier and opted to join him in the countries he worked in, initially England and later America. Her husband also declined a role within Swedish royalty, preferring not to obtain Swedish citizenship which was required for him to be granted a royal title upon his marriage. 

The couple has three children who are officially styled as a Prince and Princesses, yet their parents are keen for them to enjoy lives as more private individuals and their royal status has been adjusted to reflect that. 

In 2018, the Swedish Princess and her family moved to Florida for the latest phase of their emigration and move away from the traditional roles of Swedish royalty.

Famous Americans Who Emigrated To Become Royalty

The United States and the world’s royalty have long enjoyed mutually beneficial relationships, and the pattern of European royals and nobles emigrating to America also plays out in the opposite direction. 

A number of notable American citizens have left their homeland to embark on royal lives elsewhere. Here are some famous Americans who emigrated from the United States to start new lives in a foreign royal family. 

Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco

Perhaps the most legendary American Princess is the famous Hollywood actress of the 1950s who emigrated to Monaco in southern Europe to marry a royal prince. 

The fairytale wedding of the beautiful movie star and the royal sovereign of the Principality of Monaco was screened around the world and watched by millions. Though it’s believed that Princess Grace, who was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, did at times pine for the lifestyle of her homeland, she dutifully remained in her role as a royal princess until her untimely death in 1982. 

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex

Another example of an American actress leaving her Hollywood life and embarking on a royal role in a foreign land is the California-born Meghan Markle. 

While the new Duchess of Sussex may be more famous for her exit from royal life in the UK, just a few years ago she left the nation where she was born to start her new life as a royal in England. 

Queen Noor of Jordan

The American-born stateswoman, Lisa Halaby, is more widely known for her role as Queen Noor of Jordan. 

Born in Washington DC to Syrian-Lebanese American and Swedish American parents. Lisa became Queen of Jordan in 1978 upon her marriage to King Hussien, changing her name to Noor Al-Hussein, which means Light of Hussein

Queen Noor embraced both her husband’s religion and his homeland, as she forged a successful new life for herself in her royal role, swapping the American way of life for the role of queen in her new Middle Eastern home. 

The royal way of life may seem enviable to many, a seeming non-stop whirl of glamour, splendour and power. Yet for some the lives they were born into may not feel like the lifestyles they were destined to live, and they seek out an alternative, sometimes in a foreign country. 

Perhaps the appeal of royals who choose to emigrate to America opt for the United States precisely because it has a more modern culture and less of a sovereign tradition. Whereas the Americans who leave their nation’s shores in the opposite direction are often drawn by love and romance into their new royal roles abroad.