We love the royal family, but no one can deny that they’ve had their fair share of scandals.
Here are some of the scandals that have happened that the royal family would probably rather you forgot…
Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson
On December 11th 1936, after being dogged by rumour and scandal, King Edward VIII followed his heart and abdicated the throne.
His decision to choose Wallis Simpson over his duty as King may have shocked some, but for those who understood their deep affection for one another, it would have come as no surprise.
In his speech announcing his abdication, Edward said, “At long last I am able to say a few words of my own. I have never wanted to withhold anything, but until now it has not been constitutionally possible for me to speak.
"A few hours ago I discharged my last duty as King and Emperor, and now that I have been succeeded by my brother, The Duke of York, my first words must be to declare my allegiance to him. This I do with all my heart.
"You all know the reasons which have impelled me to renounce the Throne. But I want you to understand that in making up my mind I did not forget the country or the Empire which as Prince of Wales, and lately as King, I have for twenty-five years tried to serve. But you must believe me when I tell you that I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as King as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love.”
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Princess Margaret’s forbidden love
Series 1 of The Crown turned this heartbreaking royal scandal into a key storyline for the show. The hit Neflix series re-told the story of how the Queen’s younger sister fell for Peter Townsend, a Captain who was not only 16 years her senior but already married. Despite the fact the age difference would have raised eyebrows at the time, it was the fact that Townsend was still married when his flirtation with the Princess began that was truly scandalous.
In the TV show, it’s the Queen who is portrayed as being the one to eventually forbid the relationship.
However, in reality, it wasn’t the Queen who was against the idea of them getting married. Alan Lascelles, the private secretary to George VI, was one of the main objectors to the partnership due to Townsend’s position as a divorcee.
Author Anne de Courcy depicts the heartbreaking ending to Princess Margaret’s love affair, “It was decided that the best plan would be for Townsend to leave the country for a year—at the end of which they were asked to wait another year [before they decided to marry]. Townsend and Margaret saw each other again for the first time on October 12, 1955.” Alas, “less than three agonizing weeks later, the two of them came to the conclusion that their love could have no happy ending.”
For his part, Peter Townsend rarely spoke of his doomed relationship with the Princess. However, he did mention it in his 1978 autobiography, Time and Chance. “She could have married me only if she had been prepared to give up everything—her position, her prestige, her privy purse,” he wrote. “I simply hadn’t the weight, I knew it, to counterbalance all she would have lost.”
Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles
The relationship between Camilla and Prince Charles after they split up and married other people was always scandalous for the royal family. Although many suspected the pair of having a love affair, it was not until leaked phone conversations between them surfaced that everyone’s suspicions were confirmed.
Not only was there a leaked phone conversation between the reportedly flirty pair, but the tapes were published in 1992. The conversation, in which the pair joke about Prince Charles ‘coming back’ as ‘a pair of knickers’ or ‘a tampax’ in order to ‘live inside Camilla’s trousers’ were highly embarrassing for both the royal family and Princess Diana.
Prince Charles and Camilla got married on the 9th April 2005, 9 years after Prince Charles and Princess Diana divorced. Camilla was given the title The Duchess of Cornwall after the marriage.
The tell-all Panorama interview
“There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”
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This famous Princess Diana quote, revealing her disdain and resentment towards Prince Charles and Camilla’s relationship during their marriage, came from an explosive, tell-all BBC1 Panorama interview with the Princess of Wales, broadcast in November 1995. The televised interview, with Martin Bashir, was a huge blow for the royal family.
Diana chose to be completely open and honest about many subjects the press continually speculated about surrounding her life.
Without holding back, she spoke candidly about the love affairs that plagued her royal marriage, her struggles with mental health issues, bulimia and self-harm. And while an explosive interview, many praised Diana for her incredible honesty.
The Duchess of York duped
After her divorce from Prince Andrew, it was exposed that Sarah Ferguson had offered to ‘sell access’ to her ex-husband in return for money. Footage surfaced of Fergie asking for cash and a sizeable sum of money via wire transfer in exchange for introducing a reporter to the Prince.
“I very deeply regret the situation and the embarrassment caused,” Ferguson said in a statement.
“It is true that my financial situation is under stress however, that is no excuse for a serious lapse in judgment and I am very sorry that this has happened,” she added.
James Hewitt and the question of Prince Harry’s paternity
This was said to be the royal rumour too far. There have always been rumours and theories that suggest that Prince Harry is not Prince Charles’ son. Many imply that Harry could be the result of Princess Diana’s love affair with James Hewitt – her riding instructor.
In that Panorama interview, Princess Diana admitted that she “adored him” and “was in love with him”. However, she never entertained the rumours about Harry’s paternity. Those close to the Princess revealed that the suggestion that Harry was James Hewitt’s son deeply upset Diana.
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By the time Diana sat down to give her explosive Panorama interview, the relationship between the two had broken down. Hewitt had sold his side of their story, making their affair public knowledge. “ I was absolutely devastated when this book appeared, because I trusted him” Diana said.
“It was very distressing for me that a friend of mine, who I had trusted, made money out of me. I really minded about that.”
James Hewitt recently gave an interview categorically denying that he is Prince Harry’s father.
Prince William’s partying days and Kate’s candid moments
They may be the crown jewels of the royal family now, but Kate and Prince William were not always snapped looking so composed!
As their private life together at university in St.Andrews came to an end, Kate Middleton and Prince William were often papped out and about in London. This included many an evening of the young couple spotted leaving various exclusive haunts and nightclubs looking a little worse for wear! Whether it was stumbling into a taxi or grinning at the paparazzi, both Kate and William were seen clearly enjoying their youth!
These days however, the couple have swapped late nights out clubbing for days on official visits and royal tours.
The picture of perfect family happiness with Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, it’s nice to know that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were once just like us and enjoyed letting their hair down after a tequila or two!
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Anna Bailey has been the editor of Goodto since 2018. Before joining the team she was Features Editor at MSN UK, where she oversaw Family Health and Days Out. Previously, she was Digital Lifestyle Editor for the broadcaster UKTV, and Lifestyle Editor for ITV.com. Anna studied Multi-Media Journalism at Bournemouth University and went on to gain her NCTJ and NCE journalism qualifications. Anna is responsible for driving the direction and editorial strategy of Goodto. A mum and experienced baby product tester, she is passionate about providing safe, trustworthy, and relatable advice for families of all kinds.
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