Since they were small children, Prince William and Prince Harry have been in the public eye. Fans all over the world embraced the two young men as the only children of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, especially after Diana’s tragic death in 1997. Even as they grew and matured into adults, they remained close.
However, Harry and William are at odds these days, with conflicting reports as to what caused the rift between the two royals. With all of the awkwardness and drama between the two brothers, this isn’t the first time the royal family has been in the news. In fact, there have been numerous major royal family scandals over the years that have kept fans around the world completely enthralled. Who among the royal family is the most scandalous? That may be a subjective answer, but here are some past scandals that make the current drama seem insignificant.
In the 1930s, King Edward VIII was embroiled in a major scandal.
When Edward VIII became King of the United Kingdom in 1936, citizens of the country were filled with optimism for the future. However, King Edward VIII abdicated the throne just one year later in order to pursue a relationship with Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American socialite. The monarch could not marry a divorcee while on the throne, and he eventually decided that love was more important to him than power. The scandal shook the world, but it was all worth it to Edward VIII and Simpson, who eventually married and remained together until his death in 1972.
Princess Margaret’s love affair made headlines several decades later. Margaret, Queen Elizabeth’s younger sister, is said to have fallen in love with Captain Peter Townsend, a married Royal Air Force officer who divorced his wife to propose to Margaret. Church of England rules prohibited the two from marrying at the time, so they split up in 1955.
Margaret’s romance with Townsend wasn’t the only time she caused a stir. Margaret became the subject of tabloid headlines after marrying photographer Anthony Armstrong Jones, with many publications reporting on the couple’s alleged fights. Margaret became the first royal to divorce since Henry VIII in 1976 when the couple divorced.
Princess Diana’s leaked phone call and Princess Anne’s love affair
Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth’s and Prince Philip’s only child, married Olympic equestrian Mark Phillips in the 1970s. The marriage, however, was not said to be happy, and in the late 1980s, rumours began to circulate that Princess Anne was having an affair with a British naval officer named Timothy Laurence. By 1992, the royal had indirectly confirmed the rumours when she announced her divorce from Phillips in order to pursue a relationship with Laurence. Laurence and the princess eventually married and are still together today.
The royal family’s love lives had become a hot topic by 1992. People all over the world sat up and took notice when a transcript of a conversation between Diana, who was married to Charles at the time, and an alleged lover named James Gilbey was published. Diana later confirmed that she had spoken with Gilbey, but denied that they were romantically involved.
Diana was famous for her role in several royal family scandals, including her explosive 1995 interview with Martin Bashir. Diana slammed the royal family, as well as her husband, Charles, for his alleged infidelities, in the interview. In the interview, Diana admitted, “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a little crowded.”
The infamous toe-licking incident involving Sarah Ferguson
— InStyle (@InStyle) April 14, 2019
Not long after the transcript of Diana’s phone call was made public, Charles fell into the same trap as his estranged wife. A conversation between Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, was reportedly published in an Australian magazine, revealing the nature of their alleged romance. The transcript caused quite a stir, and it’s possible that it played a role in Charles and Diana’s divorce announcement later that year.
The royal family had a difficult time in the early 1990s, and it wasn’t just because of the Prince Charles-Princess Diana scandal. Sarah Ferguson, Prince Andrew’s estranged wife, was photographed on vacation in 1992, appearing to have her toes licked by her financial adviser, John Bryan. The royal family scrambled to contain the fallout, but Ferguson and Andrew’s romance was over — the two divorced the following year.
Ferguson has also been a tabloid favourite and has been involved in at least one other major scandal over the years. Ferguson was accused of accepting a bribe in exchange for access to Andrew in 2010, despite the fact that he had been divorced from Andrew for years. Ferguson admitted to making a “mistake in judgement,” but the scandal did not appear to have harmed her deep friendship with her ex-husband.