Ah, royalty. It’s a status most people dream about and few people actually have. With it comes the glitz and glamour of royal titles, being rich beyond compare, having land and palaces in different areas, and being a media darling. There are duties of course, but what’s a little charity event for publicity now and then? Work doesn’t exactly seem like “work,” but that’s what being a royal is all about.
Being a royal also comes with its fair share of scandal and pressure. If the work doesn’t get to you, the public will, and they will do it with gusto. Being in the public eye for most of one’s life is exhausting, and keeping a lot of secrets is tough work if you are not used to having a persona made for the masses. What was once private will be made public, if one isn’t careful.
While we are on the subject of privacy, here is a list of slip-ups and secrets that the Royal Family would rather have us forget. From terrible friendships to possible murders, the history of the Royal Family is filled with events that they would rather keep secret. Read on, and maybe you’ll reconsider that wish to be royalty.
15. Prince Andrew’s terrible taste in friends
Andrew Albert Christian Edward, more commonly known as Prince Andrew, is the second son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. As of right now, he is sixth in line to the throne. He is also Britain’s special representative for International Trade and Investment. This position deals mainly in arms, which has been quite controversial.
Prince Andrew has been highly criticized for his choice in friends, mainly Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein has been accused of pedophilia after he was caught soliciting an underaged girl for prostitution. It has also been reported that he runs in the same circles as Ilham Aliyev, the president of Azerbaijan who has been under fire for violating human rights. The Royal Family couldn’t help but be thrust further into the spotlight after news of these friendships surfaced.
14. Prince Charles’ distasteful marriage
Prince Charles’ affair and subsequent marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles sparked a controversy that shook the world. For the Royal Family, this was a distasteful union that some members still disapprove of to this day. Princess Diana has famously mentioned that it felt like there were three people in her marriage. Prince Charles’ affair with Camilla is often discussed as one of the main causes of the decline of his and Princess Diana’s marriage.
With Princess Diana’s mental health struggles and the pre-existing marital struggles, this affair was the final blow for the couple. A scandal of this nature really cast the Royal Family in an unflattering light. Despite Prince Charles making an honest woman out of Camilla, the public still has some leftover apprehension over the union, and many are still pretty iffy about it. Talk about a wild wedding!
13. Princess Margaret’s affair with the gardener
Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, was the only sibling of Queen Elizabeth II, and the younger daughter of King George VI and Elizabeth the Queen Mother. After her paternal uncle King Edward VIII abdicated his position to marry Wallis Simpson, she ended up second in line to the throne, after her sister. But her reputation took a blow when rumors of her affair with a gardener surfaced. After all, she was already married!
In 1973, the then-married princess met a landscape gardener named Roddy Llewellyn on one of her many vacations. Llewellyn was seventeen years younger than Margaret when the affair began. Photos of the two were snapped and leaked to tabloids and the Sunday paper while they were on a private getaway, leading to a messy divorce with her husband. Margaret was always known as a “party princess,” but this was way too much.
12. Prince Philip’s multiple affairs
The Royal Family often keep mum about extramarital affairs and rifts in marriages. It’s a way that they keep up the appearance of being without reproach. However, when it came to Prince Philip, it was hard to keep a lid on his extramarital affairs. Despite his claims of being loyal to Queen Elizabeth II, Philip has often been the subject of controversy due to his numerous slip-ups, crude comments, and media gaffes.
In the book Queen Elizabeth II: Her Life In Our Times, it is mentioned that The Queen apparently knew all about Philip’s philandering. She mentions that he prefers non-famous women who are usually beautiful and highly aristocratic. She was also always very aware of his affairs. Imagine bearing all that stress from the marriage, plus the responsibility of being queen!
11. Kate Middleton’s spending sprees
It seems that the Duchess of Cambridge has been having a little too much fun being a new royal! Kate Middleton, Prince William’s university sweetheart and commoner-turned-Cinderella, has reportedly gone on a few spending sprees in the years since she joined the family. Nothing too extravagant, but nothing to scoff at, either. The Royals often find themselves the subject of public ridicule when they are seen to be spending money needlessly, something that Kate has learned all too well.
Before coming into the Royal Family, Kate Middleton came from a well-off family. She isn’t new to having a bit of money to spend, and clearly spends more than the average Jane. She also received numerous gifts after her marriage to Prince William, and even more after giving birth to little George and Charlotte. When they moved into Kensington Palace as newlyweds, Kate apparently spent 5.9 million pounds on renovations alone! For this, she garnered negative comments for her “shameful” spending habits.
10. Sarah Ferguson’s mystery man
Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York and wife to Prince Andrew, became the subject of scandal in 1992. She was labelled an adulteress when photos of her and a mystery man surfaced in tabloids and on newsstands, despite being married. She had been on holiday when she was snapped by paparazzi topless and frolicking with a man in the South of France. Quite the scandal!
This man was apparently John Bryan, a Texan financial adviser who was also Ferguson’s man on the side. Aside from John Bryan, the Duchess of York carried on different affairs with various men. These affairs were a main factor in the decline of her marriage to Prince Andrew. What made the photos more embarrassing was the fact that Bryan was caught sucking on Sarah Ferguson’s toes in one photo!
9. The possibility of a non-royal bloodline
For centuries, the Royal Family has been marrying amongst themselves and the other royal families of Europe to keep the bloodlines pure. Cousin to cousin, and sometimes, in the most dire of cases, sisters and brothers were made to wed, all to keep power within the family. But new findings after a DNA test suggest that some new blood non-royal was introduced into the bloodline in between the decades. Isn’t Science great?
In 2012, King Richard III’s bones were found underneath a parking lot situated on the battlefield where he was thought to have fallen. Even though the skeleton matched the physical characteristics that historians know Richard exhibited, a DNA test was performed to ensure he truly was who people assumed he was. Surprisingly, the test yielded no matches on the Y-chromosome area. This means that an illicit affair had taken place and the child borne of that affair was passed off as a true member of the Royal Family.
8. The unexpected death of a controversial prince
The dashing Prince George, Duke of Kent and brother of Edward III was notorious for his cocaine habit, being a Nazi sympathizer, and having affairs with both men and women. As wild as he was handsome, Prince George earned the distaste of the Royal Family as soon as rumors of his infamy began spread. But his behaviors were not the only source of scandal for the Prince. What was more controversial was the way he had died.
In 1942, Prince George and fifteen of his closest friends boarded a flying ship on a so-called “special mission.” Soon after, the flying ship crashed, killing all passengers except one flight sergeant. The sergeant was made to sign an official contract that banned him from telling anyone what went on in the ship when it was in the air. For such a public death, it’s suspicious how little is known about it.
7. Prince Harry’s rehab
Prince Harry walks in his late mother’s footsteps in more ways than one. Aside from being an advocate for mental health awareness, Harry also nurses a bit of a wild streak. Throughout university, Harry was known for being part of big parties, having a string of girlfriends, and indulging in heavy drinking. But his father, Prince Charles, finally drew the line when rumors of Harry being a fan of marijuana and other “smokeables” surfaced.
Prince Harry was then sent to Featherstone Lodge, a recovery center in South London, to help wean him off of his vices. He was not officially checked in, but he joined the discussions and learned about the consequences of such vices. And with Meghan Markle set to make a married man out of him, here’s to hoping he stays out of trouble. It is even reported that he’s completely given up smoking for her!
6. King Edward VIII’s Nazi leanings
If King Edward VIII’s abdication of his title wasn’t controversial enough, his Nazi sympathies and close ties to Adolf Hitler were sure to cause further damage to his already dwindling reputation. Edward first caused a stir when he announced his plans to abdicate the throne so he could marry Wallis Simpson, and American divorcée. After their marriage, Edward reportedly frequently had dinner with the Hitlers. Things got so bad that the public suspected Wallis Simpson of being a German spy.
And that was not the end of it! Sources also mentioned that the Germans promised Edward his throne again once they won the war. Britain’s MI5, or the country’s security service, remained wary of the newlyweds as their alliance with Germany (and the Fuhrer) was abnormally strong. The rest of the Royal Family currently do not boast of this unlikely alliance, but the world does not let them forget about it, either.
5. Richard III’s possible murder case
When a king’s position as the head of the Royal Family is threatened, he will often do whatever it takes to stay in power. The same goes for Richard III, who allegedly had his two young nephews imprisoned and then killed to stay on the throne. Though it has never been proven, rumor has it that Richard had the young boys locked in the Tower of London and smothered to death with pillows to end their chances of rising to the throne. Talk about a dastardly uncle!
It has not been explicitly proven, but it seems like the most likely scenario because after young boys were sent to the tower, they were never seen or heard of again. In the 1600s, a box containing two small skeletons surfaced. It is speculated that these were the skeletons of Richard’s nephews. DNA tests have yet to be performed, so there is no way to know for sure.
4. Diana’s poor mental health
Princess Diana won the hearts and minds of the public, but the pressure of being part of the Royal Family caused her mental health take a turn for the worst. Apart from not living up to the standards of some royal elders, Diana also suffered through postpartum depression after giving birth to her sons. Postpartum depression is a lot of any woman to handle, let alone a woman also struggling with the pressures of her position. It ended up being too much for her to handle, and her downward spiral began.
She also had to handle her own husband’s affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, along with the stress of her own royal duties as a princess. Her mental and emotional states were in shambles, and her being in the public eye was not helping anything. After years of enduring her husband’s affair, she went and had one of her own. Unfortunately, this further damaged her reputation in the eyes of many member of the Royal Family.
3. Elizabeth I’s affair with a married man
Queen Elizabeth I faced an enormous amount of pressure as one of the first women to rule England in her own right. One of these pressures was the constant barrage of suitors. Despite being known as the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I was also famous for having romantic affairs with many men. One of these men was Robert Dudley, a married man.
In the mid-1500s, Queen Elizabeth wanted to include Dudley into her inner circle, but could not do so because the man refused to abandon his wife. Of course, this did not please the Queen. Amy Robsart, Dudley’s wife, then died of suspicious causes, being found at the bottom of a staircase with a broken neck and wounds to the head. Some say it was an unfortunate accident, while some claim that Dudley and the Queen herself were behind the fall. Whichever it was, the situation left a stain on the Royal Family’s reputation.
2. A prince hidden from the limelight
Prince John Charles Francis was a favorite of the Royal Family, being the youngest son of King George V and Queen Mary. He was the palace sweetheart. That is, until he began displaying signs of epilepsy. By the age of four, he was having frequent seizures and epileptic attacks.
His parents decided that his seizures would cast the family in a negative light, so they made the decision to hide him from the public eye. They sent the young prince to a wood farm in Sandringham, along with a waitstaff that would take care of him. He was cut off from his family and the public eye until he died in 1919. He was one of the Royal Family’s best kept secrets, because the public has little to no idea of his existence.
1. Princess Beatrice’s Bad Boyfriend
Not everyone will approve of one’s romantic choices off the bat. This also applies heavily to royalty, as Princess Beatrice, daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, was found out to be dating a murderer. The two apparently met when Beatrice was in her late teens, and continued dating for about a year. His name was Paulo Liuzzo.
Paulo was convicted of manslaughter and was imprisoned for a year. There are not too many details about the crime that took place, but it is said that it was a pretty grisly scene. He was imprisoned for a year and was then put on probation. The only official statement that the Royal Family has released regarding this was that Beatrice was to be trusted with the decisions she makes as an adult.