There are plenty of things to envy about the royal family: their extreme wealth and access to anything they could ever want, the fact that they live in literal castles filled with history, their fame, their impeccable wardrobes, and the idea that they are literal queens, kings, princes, and princesses. Monarchy may be outdated to some, but it will probably never stop feeling impossibly elegant and interesting to many.


But all good things come with a negative side as well, and being a member of the royal family is no exception. With all of that fame and recognition comes an undeniable truth: there is almost nothing about their lives that isn’t made public. That means we are privy to all the little details, from how much their clothes cost to bigger things, like their embarrassing royal scandals. And um, there have been a lot of those. In fact, some are so dramatic that they actually make us happy we’re “normal” citizens, and not part of the royal family.

Here are a few examples of royal scandals we’re glad we’re not a part of:

1. The War Between Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and the British Tabloids

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Prince Harry issued a public letter stating he will take legal action against Daily Mail’s publisher, Associated Newspapers, over a private letter, in addition to two more British papers, The Sun and the Daily Mirror, over an alleged phone hacking.

It’s no secret that the British press has demonized Meghan Markle from her previous marriage, age and race to clothing choices and parenting style. Ultimately, the words have taken a toll on the newest addition to the family.

In a statement on the Sussexes’ official website, Prince Harry announced that he will be going after Daily Mail’s publishers for the misuse of private information, infringement of copyright, and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018.

He wrote, “Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences—a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son.”

In perhaps the most heartbreaking statement of all time, he fears his wife will suffer the same fate of his mother.

“I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces,” he wrote.

2. Kate Middleton’s topless photos

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It’s hard to believe that Kate Middleton could be embroiled in a royal scandal, but that’s exactly what happened in 2012, when paparazzi invaded her privacy and photographed her sunbathing topless at Prince William’s cousin’s chateau in France.

The photographers used a long lens to capture the photos without her knowledge.

St. James Palace released a statement saying, “Their Royal Highnesses have been hugely saddened to learn that a French publication and a photographer have invaded their privacy in such a grotesque and totally unjustifiable manner. The incident is reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, and all the more upsetting to the Duke and Duchess for being so.”

3. The love triangle between Diana, Charles, and Camilla

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The details of the love triangle between these three are so scandalous that they could have been taken out of a soap opera. Here’s the short story: before he met Diana, Prince Charles had dated and fallen in love with Camilla. Things didn’t work out and forced to find a wife, Charles met and quickly proposed to Diana.

Their marriage wasn’t exactly happy, probably because Charles was still in love with Camilla.

Eventually, Charles and Camilla began a long affair, and Diana had her own affair with her horse-riding instructor, James Hewitt.

In 1992, Charles and Diana announced their separation. In 1995, Diana told the BBC, “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.” Yikes!

4. Prince Harry’s Nazi costume

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Why, oh why, Harry?

In 2005, photos of Harry dressed as a Nazi at a costume party surfaced in the press.

They featured Harry in a desert uniform with a swastika armband, and were on the cover of the British tabloid The Sun.

The obvious backlash to the costume led to Harry releasing a statement in which he said, “It was a poor choice of costume, and I apologize.”

5. Prince Harry’s rehab stint

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Before Harry married Meghan Markle and became a much more adult version of himself, he was a bit of a wild child.

When he was 17 years old, in fact, he spent one day in rehab. This might not sound like a big deal to us, but for the royal family, it was huge.

So, why was he sent there?

He admitted to his father, Prince Charles, that he had smoked marijuana more than once and participated in underage drinking.

Charles sent him to a drugs rehabilitation clinic for one day.

6. Scandal, staged paparazzi photos, and heartbreak just before the royal wedding

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Meghan Markle’s estranged dad Thomas Markle’s official role in the Meghan and Harry’s ceremony was to walk his daughter down the aisle. After a series of staged ridiculous paparazzi photos of himself preparing for the wedding were released, an international scandal began.

After an overwhelming amount of media scrutiny, Thomas told TMZ he suffered a heart attack and had to undergo surgery to repair the damage.

While palace sources claimed he faked the heart attack, he provided documents to The Daily Mail proving he was in hospital for a day and a half before the wedding.

“Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding,” Meghan announced in a statement. “I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health. I would like to thank everyone who has offered generous messages of support.”

Ultimately, Princes Charles stepped up to walk his daughter-in-law down St. George’s Chapel to her husband.

7. And also that time Harry got caught in the buff.

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Harry truly went through a rough patch.

In case you needed more proof that Harry was the “bad kid” of the family, here it is: In 2012, when he was 27 years old, Harry played a game of strip billiards in Las Vegas, where he got into his birthday suit, as one does.

Unfortunately, he was also photographed as such, a picture that ended up on lots of tabloid covers.

He eventually had to release a statement saying, “At the end of the day I probably let myself down, I let my family down, I let other people down. But it was probably a classic example of me probably being too much army, and not enough prince. It’s a simple case of that.”

Margaret, especially since her eventual marriage to someone else ended in divorce.

 8. When King Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry a divorcee

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Oh, the things we do in the name of love…

In 1936, Edward VIII took the throne as King of England… but a year later, he abdicated (in other words, gave it up) so that he could marry American socialite Wallis Simpson. Why did he have to give up his royal life for Simpson? She hadn’t only been divorced once, but twice, and her background was peppered with stories of cheating and adultery — it was something the Church of England was not about to stand for.

He was given a choice, and in the end, he chose Simpson.

It was easily one of the biggest royal scandals of all time, as this changed the entire royal succession, and is basically the reason why Queen Elizabeth became, well, the queen.

9. Princess Margaret’s divorce from Antony Armstrong-Jones

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Poor Margaret. Her love life couldn’t really seem to catch a break for a while. After being forced to choose between her family and Townsend, Margaret ended up meeting photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, who she eventually married.

In 1976, they officially separated and went through an extremely high-profile divorce that included rumors that Armstrong-Jones was bisexual and that they had both cheated on each other.

Why was the divorce itself such a huge deal? Margaret was the first royal family member to get a divorce since King Henry VII in the 1500s, and we can’t imagine it was easy for her.

10. Princess Margaret’s affair with Peter Townsend

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Then again, not everyone will choose love over royalty.

If you’ve watched Netflix’s series The Crown, then you’re likely familiar with the story behind Princess Margaret’s (Queen Elizabeth II’s younger sister) passionate affair with divorced royal equerry Peter Townsend. (An equerry is someone who assists the royal family.)

Remember how Edward VIII had to choose between his royal title and divorcee Simpson?

Well, Margaret was forced into the same situation — she wasn’t allowed to marry Townsend because of his past marriage, and unlike Edward, she chose the throne.

We can’t help but feel sorry for Margaret, especially since her eventual marriage to someone else ended in divorce.

11. When Sarah Ferguson tried to sell Prince Andrew

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How awkward.

In 2010, Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson tried to “sell” out her ex-husband, Prince Andrew for £500,000.

The paper “News of the World” had undercover reporter Mazher Mahmood pose as a businessman, and recorded her asking for the money and saying, “Look after me, and he’ll look after you. You’ll get it back tenfold. I can open any door you want.”

Ferguson was basically offering unlimited access to Andrew for money, and was forced to apologize with a statement that said, “I very deeply regret the situation and the embarrassment caused. It is true that my financial situation is under stress, however, that is no excuse for a serious lapse in judgment.”

12. Captain Mark Phillip’s love child

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For 20 years, Princess Anne, the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II, was married to Captain Mark Phillips.

But it was later discovered that Phillips had a one-night affair with a teacher from New Zealand named Heather Tonkin.

Not only that, but he got Tonkin pregnant, and she gave birth to a girl named Felicity Tonkin. It was revealed that the baby was Phillips’, and rumor has it that he had asked her to get an abortion.

Phillips and Anne ended up divorcing in 1992, according to the L.A. Times.

13. Princess Anne’s love affair with a royal staff member

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Hey, it happens! Clearly.

We’re sure Queen Elizabeth was not happy about this turn of events: Princess Anne became another royal to fall for a staff member, in a scandal reminiscent of Margaret’s.

In 1992, after divorcing Phillips, Anne fell for one of her equerries, Timothy Laurence, who was also a British Naval officer.

Although the relationship was frowned upon, Anne did end up marrying him.

It was the first time a monarch’s child had ever remarried. But imagine not being able to fall in love with whoever you want?!

14. When Anne’s dog attacked two children

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In 2002, Anne became the first senior member of the royal family to be convicted of a criminal offense, and the reason is kind of sad… and unexpected.

Her English bull terrier, Dotty, attacked two children ages 12 and 17.

They were taken to the hospital, although they didn’t need stitches. Anne was ordered to pay a £500 fine and provide an additional £500 in compensation to the families of the two boys. Awkward!

15. Princess Diana’s “Squidgygate” situation

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Cute name, sad story.

It’s probably not shocking that Diana was potentially having an affair, considering Charles was still in love and involved with Camilla.

But in 1992, it was all but confirmed when “The Sun” released a transcript of a recorded phone call between Diana and her supposed lover, James Gilbey, which had happened while she was still married to Charles.

In the phone call, Gilbey called Diana by the nickname “squidgy” 53 times and said he loved her. Thanks to the name, it was referred to as “Squidgygate.”

16. Prince Andrew’s relationship with a porn star

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Can you imagine a member of the royal family introducing Queen Elizabeth II to a porn star?

That’s exactly what happened in 1982, when Prince Andrew began dating Kathleen “Koo” Stark, an American soft-core porn actress.

After he introduced her to the queen, a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said, “We do not know if the queen was aware of the girl’s acting career before she was invited to Balmoral.”

17. Kate Middleton’s Marilyn Monroe moment

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Poor Middleton.

In 2014, another part of the Duchess’s body was unfairly photographed and circulated through the media.

During the 2014 Royal Tour of New Zealand and Australia, Middleton experienced a wardrobe malfunction when her dress was blown up in the wind, exposing her bare butt.

Unfortunately, German photographers snatched a photo and published it on the cover of a tabloid.

18. Charles and Camilla’s leaked phone call

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Diana wasn’t the only one who dealt with an embarrassing leaked phone call, although Charles’ may have been worse.

Not long after Squidgygate, an Australian magazine published the transcript of a phone call between Charles and Camilla that basically confirmed their longtime affair.

The weirdest part of the whole situation was definitely when Charles said he wanted to be a tampon so he could “live inside” Camilla’s trousers.

Um, to each their own.

19. Princess Michael’s racist brooch

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One of the more recent royal scandals is pretty upsetting.

In December 2017, Princess Michael of Kent went to lunch at Buckingham Palace wearing a brooch in the style of “blackamoor,” something that is considered offensive for exoticizing black people.

It was even worse because Meghan Markle, who is mixed race, was in attendance.

The backlash led to the princess’s rep releasing a statement and saying, “The brooch was a gift and had been worn many times before. Princess Michael is very sorry and distressed that it has caused offense.”

20. When Princess Margaret was accused of doing coke

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It’s totally possible that Margaret did cocaine in the dressing room before a Rolling Stones concert in London back in 1967… at least, according to Noel Botham’s 2002 biography of her, Margaret: The Last Real Princess.

The biography alleged that Mick Jagger had invited Margaret to the concert, then Keith Richards gave her the drugs.

Margaret supposedly said, “Ah, cocaine. Such an amusing drug, don’t you think?” She then went to the bathroom, and came back to say, “I’m going to enjoy your concert even more after that.”

21. Queen Victoria’s controversial relationship with an Indian man

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We wish this had a happier ending.

The current British royal family may have been involved in a lot of scandals, but that doesn’t mean those who came before them many years ago were innocent. Back in the 1800s, Queen Victoria was part of a big scandal when she reportedly started a relationship with an Indian attendant named Abdul Karim.

Although many believe their relationship was strictly platonic, it was still a big deal.

Karim was a servant who Victoria made into a very close friend. When she died in 1901, according to Smithsonian Mag, her family members even had him deported back to India and tried to erase his existence from the history books.

22. Edward VIII’s friendship with Adolf Hitler

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Well, this one is uncomfortable. Evidence points to the idea that Edward and Simpson were probably friends with Adolf Hitler, of all people.

British intelligence believed that Simpson was giving information to the Germans from Edward’s unsecured documents.

Obviously, the British government didn’t want this kind of information to get out, but in 1957, the American press published the Marburg Files, which proved that Edward was a Nazi sympathizer and was even involved in a plot that would help him get reinstated to the throne.

23. When Prince Charles ordered a cherry brandy

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At just 14, Prince Charles ordered a cherry brandy at a pub.

Unfortunately for the young prince, a tabloid reporter overheard his order at the village of Stornoway Harbor and it became big news.

A seemingly innocent prince recalled in an interview for Vanity Fair, “I said the first drink that came into my head, because I’d drunk it before, when it was cold, out shooting.”

The incident became a royal scandal, appearing in headlines on almost every tabloid.

24. When Prince Charles dated Princess Diana’s sister before her

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Lady Sarah McCorquodale, who is Princess Diana’s eldest sister, is known for having introduced her to Prince Charles.

But, not everyone knows McCorquodale is said to have dated the prince briefly in the 70s.

Their romance ended quickly after she said she’d never marry Charles “if he were the dustman or the King of England.”

25. Princess Diana’s self-harm incident.

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While she was four months pregnant with William, according to Andrew Morton to write his book Diana: Her True Story, Diana purposely threw herself down the stairs while four months pregnant with William, in an attempt to get Prince Charles’ attention.

In tapes recalling her stay at Sandringham, the Queen’s Norfolk residence, Diana said, “I had told Charles I felt so desperate and I was crying my eyes out. He said I was crying wolf. ‘I’m not going to listen,’ he said. ‘You’re always doing this to me. I’m going riding now.’

“So I threw myself down the stairs. The Queen comes out, absolutely horrified, shaking — she was so frightened,” she added.

In more tapes Diana recorded, she described feeling like “a lamb to the slaughter” the morning of her wedding. Just three weeks after marrying Charles, she admitted to wanting to cut her wrists with razor blades.

26. Rumors That Prince Charles May Not Be Harry’s Dad.

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Princess Diana had multiple affairs during her marriage to Prince Charles, so Harry’s paternity has been questioned.

The greatest conspiracy theory surrounding the youngest son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana is that his biological father is a man named James Hewitt.

James was Princess Diana’s riding instructor, and both him and Harry have red hair.

Diana herself admitted that she and Hewitt had an affair during a BBC Panorama program in 1995. And, Diana this started just two years after Prince Harry was born.

27. When Prince William was caught dancing with a model

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Well, well, well, it looks like William can get as wild as Harry.

Footage, which appeared several tabloids, showed William singing and dancing with friends during a boys-only skiing trip in 2017.

The Sun reported that one tourist, said William appeared “worse for wear,” and people were astonished by the future king’s behavior.

The clubber said: “He was dancing so wildly that I did a double take when I first saw him and thought it must be a lookalike.

“But before long everyone realised they really were partying with Prince William,” the same source added.

One female partygoer referred to William’s dancing with an Instagram picture of herself inside the club with the hashtag #slutdropwithaprince.

“It was William’s choice to go away, but make no mistake Kate wears the trousers in their marriage, and she won’t be happy with William’s antics. She thought his partying days and larking around with the boys was a thing of the past. I imagine she’ll find this humiliating and William will have come in for a pasting,” a source told Vanity Fair.

28. When it was revealed that Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillips are distant cousins

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The couple are both directly related to Queen Victoria, making them distant cousins, which is pretty disturbing, but not shocking.

The European royal families have been “closely related for years,” according to Business Insider, but that is a retiring trend, now that they can marry commoners.

“While Victoria is Elizabeth’s paternal great-great-grandmother, Philip is related to the monarch on his mother’s side” Business Insider reported.

29. A man broke into Queen Elizabeth II’s bedroom

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The incident was one of 20th century’s worst royal security breaches, which could have been deadly.

In 1982, an unemployed British man named Michael Fagan climbed up a drainpipe at Buckingham Palace and snuck into Queen Elizabeth II’s bedroom.

The Queen was sleeping, and when she woke up and found Michael there, she reportedly chatted with him for about ten minutes.

When the intruder asked for a cigarette, she immediately called for help. It turns out she had been unguarded because a police officer left before his replacement arrived.

30. The attempt to kidnap Princess Anne

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The 26-year-old suffered from mental illness and managed to overtake her limo with his Ford Escort, forcing the vehicle to stop.

Once he got out, according to Smithsonian Mag, he “ran toward the limo while wielding two guns, and shot her bodyguard in his shoulder.”

Luckily, too many people were around for him to grab Anne, “so he took off running and was ultimately caught.”

Once police investigated his car, they found handcuffs, tranquilizers, and a ransom letter demanding £2 million from the Queen.

31. An art teacher claims she helped Prince Harry cheat

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Prince Harry’s former teacher, Sarah Forsyth, claimed that the prince had cheated on an art exam and she was unjustly fired by the school.

“I assumed I had been asked to do this because Prince Harry was a weak student,” she said in the hearing in 2004.

In 2006, the employment tribunal did not find any evidence of Harry’s cheating but did acknowledge the prince had received help on “his A-level ‘expressive’ project,” according to the Guardian.

Forsyth was awarded £45,000 in damages.

Which of these royal scandals shocked you the most? Let us know!


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