1. Princess Margaret’s divorce from Antony
Her marriage to fashion photographer, Lord Antony Armstrong-Jones, Earl of Snowdon, came to an end after 18 years in 1978, though they had been living separate lives for at least two years. Margaret’s was the first modern divorce to plunge the monarchy into disrepute.
2. The Queen vs Camilla
For many years Queen Elizabeth refused to forgive her now daughter-in-law Camilla Parker Bowles for ruining Prince Charles’ marriage to Princess Diana, and dragging the monarchy’s good name through the mud.
According to Charles’ biographer Tom Bower, the Queen used to describe Camilla as “that wicked woman”.
3. Prince Philip’s racist comments
In 2002, he asked an Indigenous Australian, “Do you still throw spears at each other?”, while in 1986 he warned a group of British students that if they stayed in China any longer, “you’ll be all slitty-eyed”.
4. Fergie’s toe-curling, toe-sucking shocker
While still legally married, a bikini-clad Fergie was snapped in August 1992 having her toes sucked by US financial adviser John Bryan. The lurid shots were splashed across a UK newspaper’s front page while she was holidaying with the royal family at Windsor.
5. Charles cheats on Diana with Camilla
While Charles and Camilla’s love affair was widely suspected, the extent of it was exposed when a 1989 recording of a private late-night phone conversation was leaked in 1993, in which Charles declared to Camilla that he wanted to “live inside your trousers”.
6. Philip and Elizabeth are cousins
Philip, who was born of Greek and Danish nobility, is related to his wife via Queen Victoria – her paternal great-great-grandmother.
Philip, meanwhile, also calls Victoria his great-great-grandmother on his mother’s side – making him and the Queen third cousins. They’re also second cousins once removed, via King Christian IX of Denmark.
7. Princess Michael’s racist brooch
When Princess Michael of Kent met Meghan Markle, she didn’t make the best first impression. The royal wore a racially insensitive brooch to the Queen’s Christmas lunch in 2017. The item of blackamoor jewellery is considered offensive because it has connotations of slavery.
“Princess Michael is very sorry and distressed that it has caused offence,” a flunky said afterwards.
8. Andrew dubbed “Air Miles Andy”
Prince Andrew – who is stood down from public duties due to allegations of sexual abuse and paedophilia – hits headlines almost annually for his ostentatious spending on helicopters to get him around.
Rather than paying less than $100 per trip on private chauffeurs in town cars, the Duke of York often insists on chartering a chopper, which can cost upwards of $10,000.
9. King Edward VIII abdicates
Queen Elizabeth’s path to the throne was forged in 1936, when her uncle, King Edward, handed the crown to her father, King George VI. Edward wanted to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson – a request forbidden by the Church of England.
He chose love, put his brother in charge and went on to live happily with Wallis until his death in 1972.
10. Prince Harry goes rogue in Vegas
The former party prince hit headlines in 2012 when he was photographed naked playing a game of strip billiards in a Las Vegas hotel room. Most UK newspapers agreed to palace pleas not to run the photos – but The Sun later reneged, splashing the pics across their front page with the headline, “Heir it is!”
11. Prince Philip “cheating” on the Queen
Unconfirmed reports allege Prince Philip had an affair with British showgirl Pat Kirkwood while the Queen was eight months pregnant with Prince Charles. Some insiders claimed at the time the Duke of Edinburgh had even gifted his “mistress” a Rolls-Royce.
Pat denied the rumours right up until her death in 2007, though other sources say the Queen “allowed Prince Philip a lot of leeway”.
12. Margaret’s hard-partying health problems
The Queen’s younger sister was a social butterfly her entire adult life – and she paid for it medically. After feeling unwell in 1978, she was diagnosed with gastro and mild hepatitis. A pack-a-day smoker since the age of 15, she had part of her lung removed in 1985. In 1993 she was rushed to hospital with pneumonia.
By 2001, she’d had several strokes, leaving her partially paralysed. She died aged 71 in 2002.
13. Sophie of Wessex’s topless scandal
The Queen’s youngest son Prince Edward has managed to keep his nose squeaky clean of all controversy, but the same cannot be said for his wife, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex.
Just weeks before her 1999 wedding to the prince, a photograph of Sophie from 1988 with her bikini top pulled up by a TV host was published in The Sun. The palace insisted that it was a cruel breach of privacy.
14. Diana and Charles’ divorce
In 1995, the Queen forced Prince Charles and Princess Diana to legally split.
A palace statement read, “After considering the present situation, the Queen wrote to both the prince and princesses earlier this week and gave them her view.”
For more royal scandals, grab a copy of New Idea's Royals Monthly – out now!