The Price of Nobility: 11 British Royal Family Scandals - Arts & Culture

From Prince Andrew losing his title to King Edward VIII abdicating the throne—here are some of the most significant British royal scandals to date.

From the opulent lifestyle to prestigious status, being born into a royal family might be desirable for some. However, it doesn’t equate to the easiest life. Being part of the British Royalty comes with rules and expectations—which other members opted out from.

READ ALSO: Your Majesty: 7 Lesser Known European Royals And The Lives They Lead

Here are some of the biggest scandals coming from the world’s most popular monarchy. Whether they left their duties for love or were publicly betrayed by family members, we’ve rounded up ten of the most interesting,

King Edward VIII abdicating the throne 

In 1936, less than a year after his father died and took his place as King, Edward VII renounced his title to marry a divorced American woman.

According to the Church of England, royalty may not marry someone who’s been divorced. However, he chose to tie the knot with American society member Wallis Simpson over his royal duties. 

Edward and Simpson married in 1937 and remained together until his death 35 years later.

Princess Margaret falling in love with a married man 

Captain Peter Townsend was an “attendant” to the royal family as a Royal Air Force Officer. While most of his days were spent with Princess Margaret, they eventually fell in love—however, he was married.

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A post shared by Princess Margaret (@princessmargaretdiaries)

Townsend divorced his wife for the Countess of Snowdon, but the same rules of the Church of England applied. In contrast to her uncle Edward VIII, she didn’t choose love over duty and broke off the engagement with the Officer in 1955. 

Princess Anne escapes attempted kidnapping

After a charity event, a man named Ian Ball took over her car while returning to the palace. The ball was armed with two guns and meant to hold the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II for ransom money.

Fortunately, she escaped, but one of her bodyguards was shot during the scene. The attempted kidnapper was sentenced to life in a high-security psychiatric facility. 

Prince Charles’ affair 

Prince Charle’s love triangle with Camilla and Princess Diana is one of the royal family’s biggest modern scandals.

Allegedly, Diana was recorded saying she was “deeply in love with someone” while married to The Prince of Wales. Charles began having an affair with Camila, his former girlfriend, a divorcee. Diana and Charles eventually split up in 1996. 

Princess Diana’s death conspiracies

Princess Diana’s tragic death due to a car accident in Paris was over two decades ago. However, many conspiracies are still looming if it was really just a mishap. The motivating factors include the Princess of Wales thought the royal establishment might kill her. 

“This particular phase in my life is the most dangerous. […] is planning ‘an accident in my car, brake failure, and serious head injury to make the path clear for Charles to marry,” Diana wrote in a letter kept by her butler Paul Burrell. 

Prince Harry’s Las Vegas antics 

Before settling down, marrying actress Meghan Markle, the Duke of Sussex was highly known as the monarchy’s resident “party prince.” In 2012, he made headlines when photographed “playing a game of strip billiards.” The images showed him almost fully nude in a Las Vegas hotel room.  

Princess Diana and Prince Charles had the phone calls of their affairs leaked 

Meghan Markle’s father skips her wedding

Markle’s father, Thomas, told her last minute he won’t be attending her wedding in 2018. Initially meant to walk her down the aisle, the former technician instead watched the opulent ceremony from home “while eating Jello-O.” 

He also took advantage of her fame for money

Thomas was accused of staging paparazzi photos and selling them for up to £100,000. He was caught on CCTV posing “candidly” for photographers, sitting with a computer looking through news articles of his daughter and Harry.

Kate and William’s first public breakup

Before their fairytale wedding in 2011, Prince William and Kate Middleton briefly ended their relationship in 2007. In a London nightclub, the Duke of Cambridge was heard yelling, “I’m free!” as he ordered copious amounts of alcohol. Middleton also let loose during the breakup when she enjoyed the London social scene with her sister Pippa. 

However, the separation didn’t last long, and Middleton said it “made her a stronger person” in the couple’s 2010 post-engagement interview. 

Prince Harry and Markle are no longer “working” royal family members 

Less than two years after their wedding, the Sussex announced their stepping down from their royal duties. “We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honor our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages,” they announced on Instagram.

Talk about whether Markle was ever accepted, to begin with, sparked after their announcement. Shockingly, in January 2020, a source revealed that they publicized their statement even before the Queen’s blessing. By February 2021, the couple was no longer working members of the royal family. 

Prince Andrew’s sexual abuse allegations

Just this month, Prince Andrew requested a New York judge for a trial as he denies sexual abuse allegations. Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the victim, accused The Duke of York of abusing her while underaged, was one of the young girls trafficked by the late convicted financier Jefferey Epstein. 

Although the royal’s lawyers argued that he shouldn’t be involved as the incident dates over 20 years ago, Giuffre’s lawyers contended that her “allegations were clear.” Currently, the situation is developing.

The 61-year-old is still ninth in line to the throne. However, Andrew’s “His Royal Highness” (HRH) title and honorary military roles have been stripped by the Queen. 

Banner photo from @dianarememberedforever on Instagram.

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