Royals who changed their religion to marry

crown princess mary denmarkPhoto: Royal Hashemite Court

Religion is an important part of the vast majority of royal families across the globe, and many have had to change their religion to marry into a royal family.

Some who changed their religions are more well-known than others, like the late Duke of Edinburgh or Queen Noor of Jordan. However, others have had to change how they worship or what they believe to become royal.

The late Duke of Edinburgh, born a Prince of Denmark, was Greek Orthodox. He married the future Queen Elizabeth II and converted to Anglicanism as his wife would one day be the head of the church. Greek Orthodox is a different form of Christianity, but they still believe in God and that Jesus was the Saviour.

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark was raised Presbyterian, but upon marriage, she converted to the Church of Denmark as she is a future Queen. Like Prince Philip, Mary stayed a Christian but had to change her denomination. There are only minor differences she would have to adapt to, but changing even a denomination can be difficult.

Mary’s sister-in-law, Princess Marie, also changed her religion. The Princess converted from the Roman Catholic Church to the Church of Denmark upon marriage.

Queen Sofia of Spain was born a Princess of Greece and Denmark and, as such, was raised Greek Orthodox. Upon her marriage to King Juan Carlos of Spain, she converted to his religion of Catholicism.

In Monaco, Princess Charlene, who was raised a Protestant in South Africa, converted to Monaco’s state religion, Catholicism, upon her marriage to Prince Albert.

The majority of the Japanese practice the Shinto religion, which is the religion of the Imperial Family. Empress Emerita Michiko was raised a Catholic but had to convert to Shintoism to marry Emperor Emertius Akihito.

Even Meghan Markle (now known as the Duchess of Sussex) had a religious change. Raised Catholic, she became a member of the Church of England ahead of marrying Prince Harry.

Many have changed their form of Christianity, but some have had to convert to an entirely different religion to marry. This is most common in the Middle Eastern monarchies. Both Queen Noor and Princess Muna of Jordan were raised Christians but had to become Muslim when they married the late King Hussein of Jordan. Princess Salwa Aga Khan (born Kendra Spears) converted from Christianity to Islam for her marriage to Prince Rahim Aga Khan.

While many have changed their religions to marry, some have elected to keep their personal beliefs. Queen Maxima of the Netherlands is an example of this as she remained a Roman Catholic upon her marriage to King Willem-Alexander, who is Protestant as a member of the Dutch Reformed Church. Likewise, Chris O’Neill remained a Catholic when he married Princess Madeleine of Sweden, who is a member of the Church of Sweden.

Of course, this is not an all-encompassing list. Some royals from history also changed their religions, but we chose to focus on those from recent memory in this piece.

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About the Author

Brittani Barger
Brittani is from the United States and has been researching, writing and reporting on the royals for over a decade. Successfully gaining exclusives and interviews with royals across the globe, Brittani left her role as an editor for another news site to help bring you Royal News. She's been seen on BBC World, WION News and other news programs to discuss the royal families.

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