The British Royal family has been around for centuries and with so many members married off to other European monarchs, there has been a lot of intermingling over the years. Each member has made their mark on history for various reasons. Some are for their long reigns, others are for their political acumen and yet some are for scandalous events, particularly relationships. With every move being watched by the world and reported on by the media it is next to impossible to retain any sort of anonymity. This means that something that should be kept under wraps usually has a tendency to get out. Nobody is without fault and even the Royals sometimes make mistakes. You also cannot choose who you end up loving which history has definitely shown for this family.
Looking at the present members of the Royal family and some of the most notorious ones from the past we have collected some of the most scandalous moments that have made it to the public sphere. From love triangles to poorly chosen costumes this list has it all.
Before the lavish televised events of Prince William and Kate, and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle there was that of Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles. To the world, it looked like a love match as the young Diana wed Prince Charles. In reality, it was a love triangle between her, Charles, and Camilla Shand and then Parker Bowles.
Charles had been in love with Camilla before he even met Diana but she was not considered a suitable match for the Prince; Diana was. Camilla and Charles would see each other throughout his marriage to Diana. This is what would ultimately lead to their divorce in 1996.
A Very Naughty Prince
Now Prince Harry is nice and settled with his wife the Duchess of Sussex and their newborn son but in the past, he most definitely was not. In 2005 he was invited to attend a fancy dress event in which each guest had to don a funny costume. Instead of going the traditional route of a superhero or other regular costume he chose to wear a highly offensive uniform that related to one of the worlds saddest times.
As a prince, he is expected to keep a low profile and act with unquestionable integrity and public morality. This was a poor outfit selection and it offended the world. He was splashed on the front of papers and condemned by the press by multiple news sources. It was evident that he was not thinking when he made this decision.
Heir It Is
This would not be Prince Harry’s last scandal. Just seven years later he would be photographed behaving badly on a trip to Las Vegas. While public and private morality is a rather Machiavellian discussion, when it comes to being a prince, image is everything even what happens behind closed hotel room doors.
Harry was pictured in a state of undress while playing pool with some friends which caused another very public stir. These were the shenanigans of your typical college-aged boy and his subjects expected much better from him. This was not the kind of behavior fit for a prince.
The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson ended up in hot water when she began doing some under the table trade deals trying to earn some quick cash to keep her out of the poor house. After her divorce from Prince Andrew, she was not doing very well financially and thought that she could use him to her advantage as he was the special trade representative.
The journalist, Mazher Mahmood, exposed her scheme when she tried to take money from him which brought her shady dealings to light. After a video of her stating what she could do in terms of trade help if given £500,000 was released publicly, she quickly recanted and apologized.
A Visitor In The Night
Due to some poor scheduling of security guards back in 1982, Queen Elizabeth II was surprised to find an unknown man in her bedroom upon waking. The Queen kept her cool when she found Michael Fagan in her chambers. He had managed to scurry his way up some plumbing outside her room and enter through the window.
The two had a quick chat until Fagan decided he needed a cigarette which the Queen did not have. This gave her a reason to ring for some help without alerting her companion that he was about to be removed by security.
The Royal family has always been known for their love of dogs and Princess Anne has kept this tradition strong. However, in 2002 her dog Dotty who was a rambunctious English bull terrier decided to attack two small children.
While neither was seriously wounded, this did prompt police action and Anne had to pay a fine and funds to the family of the two boys for this unwarranted altercation. Dotty needed to be leashed at all times when in public after this.
Watch Your Mouth
As Prince Charles prepared for his upcoming nuptials with Camilla Parker Bowles he decided to have some rest and relaxation with his two sons before the big day. They decided to head to Switzerland for a ski trip. Naturally, the paparazzi found them and one asked him how he felt about the wedding.
He smiled and made some quip about being glad they knew about it but then muttered to his sons about his dislike of that particular reporter. The media did not like this break in his normally respectful facade towards them.
Fire In The Palace
Caused by a curtain in the Windsor Castle’s chapel catching on fire back in 1992, the blaze quickly roared into the castle proper itself causing millions of pounds worth of damage.
It took 250 firefighters to get the blaze under control and finally put it out but the damage was done. A total of 115 of the castle’s rooms were damaged and it would cost over $60 million to restore it to its former glory.
Not The Same
After the fire at Windsor Castle in 1992, Prince Philip talked to the media about it and decided to use a not so similar example of a great tragedy from 1988. In Lockerbie, Scotland hijackers had taken hold of a Pan Am flight and bombed it which killed a total of 270 people.
In memory of this event Prince Philip was dispatched to talk at the memorial where he decided to use the water damage at Windsor Castle in a comparison to the fire after the bombing of the flight. Nobody died during the Windsor fire, there was only property damage. The public found this extremely insensitive.
Prince Philip Strikes Again
It seems that Prince Philip cannot help but get his foot caught in his mouth. During a trip to Australia in 2002 with his wife Queen Elizabeth II, Philip had to make small talk with one of the leaders of an Aborigine group. As he talked to William Brin, he made what sounded like a serious question about whether or not the Aborigines still used spears to fight each other.
The statement was incredibly uninformed and in extremely offensive as it showed that the old colonial mindset was still very much alive.
Just A Little Grass
Like most teenagers Prince Harry went through a rebellious phase. He wanted to try all of the things that his peers did like certain substances and drinks. In 2002, it was reported that he had been seen drinking at a local pub and smoking illegal substances.
He was just 16 at the time but he was reportedly swiftly punished for his actions, especially since the press caught wind of it. He got to visit a substance abuse center and see first hand what can happen if you are not careful.
Like Father, Like Son
Prince Harry had actually followed in his father’s footsteps with his underage imbibing. When Prince Charles was 14 years old he too was caught drinking cherry brandy in Scotland. As luck would have it, as he placed his order for the sweet drink a reporter was in attendance back in 1963 and was able to break this little tidbit of royal news to the country.
While it reflected poorly on the Royal family and their supposed watchful eye over their Royals, they had to confirm the story.
It seems like Prince Harry really was up to some shenanigans back in his youth and 2004 was no different. Sarah Forsyth, formerly an instructor at Eton College which Harry attended was told to help Harry pass his art exams as he was a poor student.
She was then fired which is how the cheating scandal came to light as she named it as one of the reasons she was let go in a court case. She would win the case and be paid £45,000 for the wrongful termination.
A Poorly Chosen Brooch
When Meghan Markle became engaged to Prince Harry she was then invited to a variety of Royal events. One such event was a luncheon in which Princess Michael of Kent was in attendance.
Not thinking about a brooch she had worn many times as an object of offense, she donned it without considering the fact that it was a “blackamoor” and its depiction of African people was not appropriate. Princess Michael would go on to issue a public apology for her thoughtless choice.
An Almost Kidnapping
When Princess Anne was 26 years old she was the subject of what could have quickly become a hostage situation. A young man called Ian Ball, who would later be confirmed as mentally ill decided to try and grab her after she left a movie in 1974.
He managed to stop her limo and shoot one of her guards but there were a lot of people swarming around trying to prevent her kidnap and that forced him to abort his plan.
A Kiwi Affair
Princess Anne was already separated from her then-husband Captain Mark Phillips in 1991 when she found out some astonishing news. Her husband had had an affair with a school teacher by the name of Heather Tonkin in New Zealand seven years earlier.
And he had a child with her from that time. This was not welcome news. That seemed like the final straw and their divorce was quickly finished one year later in 1992.
A Hard Choice
If you have watched the Netflix historical series The Crown then you know that Princess Margaret was deeply in love with Group Captain Peter Townsend. He was divorced and she wanted to marry him but was given an ultimatum by the British government. If they married she would be stripped of her royal privileges and forced to live a normal life.
Ultimately, she chose her country over her love and their relationship ended in 1955 with her decision.
Rock And Roll Baby
Princess Margaret was known to be slightly wild which was detailed in many biographies about her. One instance that was truly shocking was that she decided to partake in the rock and roll lifestyle while hanging out with The Rolling Stones before one of their concerts.
In 1967 before heading backstage to watch their show she was said to have joined Mick Jagger and Keith Richardson in the consumption of some illegal substances right before they went on stage.
Love Versus The Crown
There was one Royal who did decide to give up his crown and abdicate from the throne of England in 1936 when he fell deeply in love with an American divorcee. This was King Edward VIII. When he met Wallis Simpson he knew that she was his “one” and that no matter what he had to marry her.
After abdicating he immediately married Simpson and they would stay together for the next 36 years until he passed away.
Queen Victoria was known for her long reign, a multitude of children and her great love for her husband Prince Albert. But upon his death, it was rumored that she had two companions. The first was John Brown and the second was Abdul Karim.
It was believed the relationship with Karim was more like that of a confidante than anything romantic but it is hard to be sure. Her family was not thrilled with it and when she passed away in 1901 her family revoked his British papers and forced him to go back to India.
The father of the Church of England was Henry VIII. It was not out of any sort of religious fanaticism though, it was all so that he could divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon so that he could remarry. The Catholic Church would not allow him to do this, so he broke from them and created his own church effectively making him supreme ruler.
He would go on to marry five more women after putting two to death and the others passing away. It would seem that Catherine got off lightly in comparison.
Not So Illustrious Ties
When Hitler and his Nazi party were starting to reach the height of their power in Germany back in 1937, a newly abdicated Edward VIII now the Duke of Windsor decided to meet with him.
It would later come to light that the Germans wanted to use Edward VIII in their attempt to conquer the British Isles and have him set up as King once more as they felt he was sympathetic to their cause. This did not come to pass.
Guy Fawkes Night
Now a well-known night that is celebrated annually, the original Guy Fawkes decided that he wanted to contribute to the demise of King James I. In 1605, he attempted to do this in a rather explosive manner.
He procured 36 kegs of gunpowder which he then placed in the cellars of the House of Lords. The attempt on the king’s life was all for naught as somebody sent details of the plan to those in charge of security at the time.