Royals and sororities are not something you hear combined very often. However, there are a couple of royal sorority women. Meghan Markle, now The Duchess of Sussex, and Crown Princess Märtha of Norway are two royals who “went Greek” and were members of American sororities. Meghan was a Kappa Kappa Gamma (ΚΚΓ) and Märtha was a Delta Zeta (ΔΖ).
As a Greek member myself (I was a Sigma Kappa ΣΚ), I wanted to highlight these sorority women with royal pedigrees, as well as show how sororities are not what is constantly portrayed in movies and the news.
Sigma Kappa was founded in Waterville, Maine, at Colby College in 1874. We work, with our motto of “One Heart, One Way” in our local chapters in raising awareness and funding for our five philanthropies: Sigma Kappa Foundation, Inherit the Earth, Gerontology, Maine Sea Coast Mission and Alzheimer’s Disease research.
The first known royal who was a member of a sorority was Crown Princess Märtha of Norway. She became fascinated with sorority life and its role in the lives of women while living in the United States during the Second World War. The Crown Princess was initiated, alongside her lady-in-waiting, Countess Ragni Ostgaard, into Delta Zeta after visiting the University of North Dakota in 1939. The ceremony was presided over by the National President, Myrtle Graeter Malott. It was later on that year that, while on a trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Her Royal Highness and the Countess were presented with corsages by Bobye Lou Utter and Rena Charnley who were members of the Delta Zeta chapter at the University of Pittsburgh.
Delta Zeta was founded at Ohio’s Miami University in 1902. Their philanthropies are Speech and Hearing, The Painted Turtle and The Starkey Hearing Foundation.
The next soon-to-be royal who was a sorority girl during her university years was American actress Meghan Markle. She was a Kappa Kappa Gamma at Northwestern University. Upon the announcement of her engagement to Prince Harry, the chapter at Northwestern released a composite photo of her from the 2000-2001 academic year. She graduated from Northwestern in 2003.
Kappa Kappa Gamma released a congratulatory statement on their Facebook for their sister, as well, saying, “We are pleased to learn of Meghan Markle’s engagement to Prince Harry and send best wishes for a lifetime of happiness! Meghan was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma Upsilon Chapter, Northwestern, from 2000 – 2003. We hope Meghan remembers her something blue (and blue) on her special day!”
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Once upon a time, there was a Wildcat. In her hunt for purpose, she took a #NorthwesternDirection that inspired pursuits in theatre and international relations. We celebrate the sparkle that is @nuschoolofcommunication alumna @MeghanMarkle ’03 and send our best wishes for her story’s #happilyeverafter. #TBT
Kappa Kappa Gamma was founded at Monmouth College in Illinois in 1870 with its selected philanthropy as Reading Is Fundamental and The Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation.
There have been rumours for years that American actress Grace Kelly, later The Princess of Monaco, was a member of Delta Delta Delta (also called Tri Delta ΔΔΔ). After speaking with Tri Delta Headquarters, this rumour is not true. Grace was not a Tri Delta, and it is not believed she was a member of any sorority.
Delta Delta Delta was founded in 1888 at Boston University. They work to raise money and awareness for their national philanthropy, Children’s Cancer Research which is partnered with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
While the media portrays sorority women as drunks stumbling out of parties who pay very little attention in class because they are only there to find a husband, the reality is entirely different. Sorority women have some of the highest GPA (grade point averages) on their campuses and raise some of the highest amounts for their respective charities. For example, the colours of Alzheimer’s awareness (purple) are due to Sigma Kappa and its work in raising money and awareness for the disease. Connections made in sororities provide valuable references and connections for the women as they climb the ranks in their chosen profession, many of whom are in law, politics and medicine.