20 photos of royals before their very regal transformation

Photo: © Getty Images

1/21

Joining a royal family means giving up your day job to serve your sovereign and country, whether that’s carrying out official engagements, going on tour or visiting charities.

But for many, it also means going through a very regal, physical transformation. From actors to sportsmen, here at HELLO!, we take a look at some of our favourite royals before they married their Prince or Princess…

The Duchess of Cambridge

Before her wedding to Prince William in April 2011, Kate was one of the most famous royal girlfriends, having dated William since their university days. She could dress as she pleased, wearing cowboy hats and low-rising jeans and didn’t have to worry about looking picture-perfect for every outing.

But when she joined The Firm, her style distinctively changed and she started wearing designers that have long aligned themselves with the royal family. The Duchess also gave up her role at Jigsaw and her work with the Middletons’ family business, Party Pieces.

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WATCH: Before they were royal

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3/21

The Duchess of Sussex

Meghan Markle was a popular TV actress before her marriage to Prince Harry in May 2018. She is best known for her role as paralegal Rachel Zane in Suits, but confirmed she would give up acting during her engagement interview with Harry. “I just see it as a change… It’s a new chapter, right?” she said.

“And also keep in mind I’ve been working on my show for seven years. So we were very, very fortunate to be able to have that sort of longevity on a series, and for me once we hit the 100 episode marker I thought, you know what, I have – I have ticked this box and I feel really proud of the work I have done there and now it’s time to, as you said work – work as a team with – with [Harry].”

The Sussexes stepped down as senior royals in March 2020 and are now living in the US with their children, Archie and Lilibet. 

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4/21

Jack Brooksbank

After skipping university, Jack Brooksbank kickstarted his career in hospitality working in various pubs and bars. In his youth, he managed the popular London nightclub and celebrity hotspot Mahiki which was often visited by Princess Eugine’s cousins Princes William and Harry in their younger years.

Before he married Princess Eugenie, Jack started as a wine merchant and brand ambassador, for Casamigos tequila, which is George Clooney’s brand. Jack hasn’t left his hospitality history behind because he recently confessed that his dream is to open a chain of pubs – a royal approved boozer, anyone?

Jack first met Eugenie in 2010 while skiing at the royal hotspot Verbier in Switzerland after being introduced by mutual friends… and the rest is history.

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5/21

Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi married Princess Beatrice in 2020 but the pair are said to have known one another for years. Before they began dating, the property developer was among the guests at Beatrice’s sister Princess Eugenie’s wedding to Jack Brooksbank in October 2018. Beatrice and Edoardo welcomed their daughter, Sienna, in September 2021. 

MORE: Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi’s relationship in 8 sweet photos

6/21

Beatrice Borromeo

Beatrice Borromeo was born an Italian aristocrat but became royalty after she married Pierre Casiraghi of Monaco. However, before taking to her royal duties, Beatrice had many untraditional jobs for an upcoming royal. The blonde beauty dipped her toes into modelling, TV presenting and radio hosting but she also trained as a journalist from the age of 19. Working as a contributor to Newsweek and the Daily Beast, she later became a reporter for Il Fatto Quotidiano. Beatrice then moved into TV journalism interviewing many famous public figures. She can now be found excelling in her royal duties and being a doting mother to two sons.

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7/21

Mike Tindall

Sports star Mike met his wife Zara Phillips during England's Rugby World Cup-winning campaign in Australia in 2003. Before he retired, Mike was best known for playing for Bath Rugby and Gloucester Rugby, and for captaining the England team.

It was seven years before Mike popped the question, with Buckingham Palace announcing the engagement just before Christmas in 2010, some weeks after Prince William and Kate's engagement was also confirmed. Zara and Mike married in July 2011 in Edinburgh and they have since welcomed two daughters: Mia, five, and Lena, who turns one in June.

Mike famously had his nose fixed in 2018 after struggling with his breathing for years; he broke his nose eight times during his 12-year sports career. Three years before his operation, Mike admitted: "I don't really want to get it fixed but it looks like I might have to because I can't actually breathe very well. The problem is that if I get it done, will people say I've had it just because I'm doing TV stuff now? Because it's definitely not." Mike showed off his new nose in early 2018.

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8/21

Autumn Kelly

Canadian beauty Autumn met her future husband Peter Phillips at the 2003 Canadian Grand Prix. She didn't know Peter was the Queen's eldest grandson until weeks later when she saw him on TV. Romance blossomed and Autumn moved to the UK, where she lived in an apartment in Kensington with Peter, as well as a cottage on Princess Anne's Gatcombe Park. Upon moving to London, Autumn worked as a personal assistant to presenter Michael Parkinson while also attending royal events.

Autumn and Philip's engagement was announced in July 2007. They married the following May at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, with 300 guests in attendance, but sadly announced their split in 2019, finalising their divorce in 2021. Autumn and Peter are the proud parents to two daughters – Savannah and Isla.

MORE: Royal children and their beloved nannies in photos

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9/21

The Countess of Wessex

Sophie Rhys-Jones, as she was known before her wedding to Prince Edward, began her career in public relations. She worked for different agencies, including four years at Capital Radio, before setting up her own firm, RJH Public Relations, with her business partner Murray Harkin in 1996.

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10/21

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway

One of the biggest royal transformations has to go to Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway. By her own admission, Mette-Marit had a rebellious streak in her pre-royal years. She worked at a restaurant in Oslo and was a single mother to son Marius when she met Crown Prince Haakon at a music festival. At the time of their engagement, some royal watchers questioned Haakon's choice in partner because of her colourful past.

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11/21

Princess Sofia of Sweden

Another pre-royal rebel was Sofia Hellqvist, Prince Carl Philip of Sweden's wife. Prior to her marriage, the stunning brunette was a model, waitress and reality TV star who found fame in Paradise Hotel. Sofia, who is now styled as Her Royal Highness Princess Sofia, Duchess of Värmland, also made headlines when she kissed American adult film star Jenna Jameson in Las Vegas.

She met Carl Philip during a lunch with mutual friends, saying it was "love at first sight". "The first thing I noticed about Carl Philip was that he seemed very humble," Sofia told Swedish channel TV 4. "When I got to know him, I saw that he was incredibly natural, very intelligent and very humble." The Prince returned his wife's compliments, saying: "Above all, she's beautiful and has beautiful eyes. But she's also a fantastic person. She's down to earth and has a wonderful personality. There are so many good things to say about her."

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12/21

Sarah, Duchess of York

Sarah Ferguson was 25 when she married Prince Andrew, but before her royal life, she trained as a secretary. The Duchess went on to work for an art gallery, two PR firms and a publishing company before settling down with Andrew. Despite the couple's divorce in 1996, Sarah and Andrew remain the best of friends and catch up regularly with their daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

Speaking to HELLO! in 2018, Sarah revealed: "A table can't stand on three legs, really, so you have the Duke and I, and the two girls. We're a family unit and we lead by example. We support each other emotionally, and we support each other health wise. At least every two weeks we sit down together and communicate, the four of us."

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13/21

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark

Before beginning her charmed life as a royal, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark was an accomplished executive in the world of marketing and advertising, based in her native Australia. The then Miss Mary Donaldson met her future husband during the 2000 Sydney Olympics, while the prince was attending the sporting event Down Under.

The couple were introduced by friends at the Slip Inn, a pub in the city, and quietly started dating. Mary had no idea Frederik was a Danish prince, but romance blossomed and three years later, they were engaged. The couple have four children together, including twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine.

GALLERY: The most beautiful royal weddings of all time

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14/21

Princess Charlene of Monaco

Before her marriage to Prince Albert, Charlene was a celebrity in her own right, making waves as an Olympic swimmer. She represented South Africa at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, as well as the 1998 and 2002 Commonwealth Games. Charlene had planned to compete in the 2008 Beijing Olympics but sadly did not qualify. She first met Prince Albert in 2000 at a swimming event in Monaco, but the couple didn't go public with their romance until 2006. Four years later, they were engaged.

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15/21

Queen Letizia of Spain

King Felipe and Queen Letizia surprised many when they announced their engagement in November 2003. It's not known exactly when the couple started dating, but royal watchers may have recognised Letizia; she worked as a TV anchor for Informe Semanal, Telediario Matinal and Telediario 2. Some of her biggest reports included broadcasting live from Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks, and filing reports from Iraq post-war.

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16/21

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands

The gorgeous mother-of-three was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. With a degree in economics, Maxima went on to work for HSBC, Deutsche Bank and Kleinwort Hambros. She met her future husband William-Alexander during the Seville Spring Fair in Spain in 1999, not knowing that Willem-Alexander was a Prince. Their relationship and engagement caused some controversy in the Netherlands due to Maxima's late father Jorge Zorreguieta; Jorge, who passed away in 2017, was Minister of Agriculture during General Jorge Rafael Videla's dictatorship in Argentina.

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17/21

Princess Grace of Monaco

The Princess of Monaco is still known by many as Hollywood star, Grace Kelly. The actress was dating French actor Jean-Pierre Aumont when she was introduced to Prince Rainier III of Monaco, but romance blossomed and the couple married in 1956. Grace gave up acting at the age of 26, but by then she had won a Golden Globe Award and received an Academy Award nomination for her role in Mogambo. She also won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her film, The Country Girl.

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18/21

Crown Princess Masako of Japan

The wife of Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan initially refused to marry the prince, reluctant to give up her freedom and independence. But she finally accepted Naruhito's third proposal in December 1992 and the engagement was officially announced one month later. The couple have one daughter, Princess Aiko.

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19/21

Crown Prince Daniel of Sweden

Daniel was employed as Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden's personal trainer when he met his future wife in 2001. He ran a company named Balance Training with three gyms in Stockholm, but stepped down as its CEO when he became a prince in 2010.

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20/21

Princess Marie of Denmark

Like her sister-in-law Princess Mary of Denmark, French-born Marie has a background in advertising. She worked for various agencies as well as Reuters financial news agency Radianz in Switzerland before giving up her day job to become a princess. She made regular weekend visits from Geneva to Denmark to see her royal boyfriend and in 2007, the couple's engagement was announced. They have since welcomed two children, Prince Henrik and Princess Athena, while Marie is also a stepmother to Princes Nikolai and Felix.

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21/21

Queen Mathilde of Belgium

Mathilde, the eldest of five children from Ukkel, Belgium, was a speech therapist before becoming a full-time royal. She had her own practice in Brussels from 1995 to 1999 and earned a master's degree in psychology in 2002. Mathilde married King Philippe, who was then a prince, in December 1999.

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