Top Ten British Royal Scandals

Top Ten British Royal Scandals - Historically, England's Royal Family has never been short on scandal as a result of outrageous and sometimes criminal behavior. From a prince and his mistresses creating headlines, a duchess captured on video selling "access" to her husband to an undercover reporter, a king who abdicated his throne for love, another king who ordered two of his wives' heads lopped off under the guise of treason, and another prince who embarrassed the Royal family by dressing in a Nazi uniform for Halloween. Here are a few examples — some old, some recent — of major indiscretions carried out over the years by British nobility, just in time for the royal wedding.


10: Scandalous Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York
She's been in commercials for Weight Watchers, has appeared on a television sitcom, and has riled the royal family into excluding her from the invitation list for Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding. She's no longer welcome at Buckingham Palace, according to CBS News. Yes, that would be Sarah Ferguson — "Fergie" — the Duchess of York.
In 2010, the Duchess of York was captured on hidden video camera while selling access to her ex-husband, British trade envoy Prince Andrew, for hard cash. The down payment was $40,000, and the "buyer" was a British News of the World reporter working undercover.
"That opens up everything you would ever wish for," Ferguson said, referring to the stacks of cash lying on a table in front of her. "And I can open any door you want. And I will for you."
She later made a public apology for accepting the money and for falsely claiming that Prince Andrew knew about the arrangement.
More recently, in March 2011, Fergie told The Daily Telegraph that Prince Andrew had arranged for friend Jeffrey Epstein, a wealthy American friend and convicted pedophile, to give her $24,000 to help with her massive debt load.

Jimmy Swaggart

9: King Edward VIII--Abdication of the Throne for Love
It was Jan. 10, 1931 when divorced and re-married American Wallis Simpson first met Edward, Prince of Wales, at a house party. Their meetings continued — in May 1931, and again in January 1932. That same January, the Simpsons spent a weekend with Edward at Fort Belvedere. In August 1934, Edward took Wallis Simpson — without her husband — on a vacation cruise along the coasts of Spain and Portugal. Later that year, Edward brought her to Buckingham Palace and introduced her to his mother. By then, their intimacy was viewed as scandalous according to British mores of the time.
Nonetheless, the love affair continued. Despite urgings from the prime minister to keep the relationship more discreet, it intensified and was all the public talked about by the time Edward took the throne in January 1936. By then, Wallis Simpson's marriage to Ernest Simpson had become severely strained, and she made it known she was seeking a divorce.
In November 1936, King Edward informed Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin that he intended to marry Wallis Simpson. Baldwin advised him that British citizens would not accept the divorced American as their queen. Hinting that he was prepared to abdicate the throne to marry Simpson, Edward suggested a morganatic marriage in which he would remain king but Simpson would not become queen, but this idea was quickly rejected. As a result, King Edward officially abdicated the throne on Dec. 10, 1936, and he and Simpson were married in France in May 1937.


8: Prince Charles and Kanga — the Mistress We Never Hear About
The escapades of Charles, Prince of Wales with Camilla Parker Bowles are well-known, but fewer people know of his relationship with Dale Elizabeth Harper, an Australian beauty. She was "the only woman who ever understood me," he once said.
Kanga, as she was nicknamed, moved to London after graduation where she met and married Anthony Tryon, a close associate of Charles' who introduced the pair. Kanga and Charles became close friends, and she eventually became his mistress. The other women in Charles's life, however, always seemed to take priority.
Due to health issues and — some say — the inability to have Charles to herself, Kanga became addicted to pain killers, but eventually traded them for alcohol. While undergoing rehab for her addictions, she was one day found lying beneath a window at the treatment facility. She later said that someone had pushed her out the window; others believed she jumped. The ordeal shattered her spine and left her confined to a wheelchair.

Her issues bought her a stay at a mental health facility, and her husband divorced her. When she recovered, she traveled to India, where she contracted an illness. By now worried about his reputation, Prince Charles publicly avoided her, and she ultimately died of sepsis — along with a broken heart — in a hospital two months prior to her 50th birthday.

7: The Misadventures of Prince Harry
Prince Harry, the younger son of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, has been no stranger to scandal and embarrassment for the royal family. In 2005, he stunned all of Britain when he showed up at a friend's birthday party dressed in what appeared to be a Nazi German desert uniform with a swastika armband, earning him a front page photo on the Sun bearing the headline, "Harry the Nazi." Although he publicly apologized for the display of poor taste through a spokesperson, the stunt nonetheless brought back unpleasant memories of the Royal family's German ancestry and long-running suspicions of their alleged connections to Hitler's Nazi Germany.

In 2009, Prince Harry raised concerns of racism when he faced an inquiry over racist remarks he made in a videotape that he shot himself while at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. In one instance, he referred to a fellow cadet as a "Paki," a reference to the cadet's Pakistani heritage. In another segment, he told a cadet wearing a camouflage hood that he looked "like a raghead." Again, Harry apologized for his remarks and behavior, leaving many people in Britain wondering what he will do or say next.

Elliot Spitzer

6: Princess Margaret Calls off Her Wedding to Peter Townsend
The fondness between Princess Margaret and Group Capt. Peter Townsend, a divorced war hero, was first evidenced at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, when they were photographed together, laughing and displaying obvious mutual admiration. Despite speculation that the couple would announce their engagement soon after Margaret turned 25, Townsend's divorce made the prospect of a royal union impossible. As third in line for the throne, Margaret would have had to relinquish her royal rights and income, and leave England for five years if she chose to marry Townsend.
Instead, much to the public's surprise, Margaret issued a statement that she was giving up the love of her life for her royal heritage. "Mindful of the Church's teaching that Christian marriage is indissoluble, and conscious of my duty to the Commonwealth," she declared, "I have resolved to put these considerations before any others."

Amid speculation that she had been forced to end the relationship, Margaret said that she had reached the decision "entirely alone." A few years later, Townsend married a Belgian woman who, some say, strongly resembled Princess Margaret. Margaret later wed Lord Snowden, but the marriage ended in divorce. Because the denial of marriage to Townsend appeared to have ruined Margaret's life, the queen brought marriage denials to an end, allowing anyone in the royal family to marry whomever they chose.

John Edwards

5: Princess Anne and Mark Phillips
Princess Anne, sister of Prince Charles and the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II, married Mark Phillips on Nov. 14, 1973 at the age of 23. Phillips was from a military family. Following his education at the royal military academy at Sandhurst, he joined the First Queen's Royal Dragoon Guards as a lieutenant and later attained the rank of captain.
Four months after her marriage, a kidnap attempt was made against Anne as she and Phillips returned to Buckingham Palace. A mentally unstable man attempted to hold her for a large ransom, but he was thwarted.
Anne and Phillips had two children together. Later, rumors of Phillips' infidelity were confirmed. A paternity test in 1991 proved that he had fathered a daughter by his mistress, Heather Tonkin, from New Zealand. He and Princess Anne were divorced in April 1992.
In December 1992, Princess Anne married Commander Timothy James Hamilton Laurence, who was later promoted to vice admiral. Because the Church of England forbade remarriage after divorce, the nuptials took place in the Church of Scotland.

Princess Anne was the first member of the British royal family since Henry VIII to remarry after a divorce.

Chris Chambers

4: Henry VIII and His 6 Wives
Not all scandals involving the royal family occurred during modern times. The reign of Henry VIII and his numerous marriages serves as a good example.
Henry's first wife, Catherine of Aragon, who he married in 1509 and divorced 24 years later, was the widow of his brother, Arthur. He asked the Pope to annul the marriage, but the request was refused. That same year he married a pregnant Anne Boleyn. Their union produced a daughter, Elizabeth. Anne literally lost her head over Henry — she was beheaded on May 19, 1536, following a trial for treason (infidelity against the king was considered treasonous). Before the end of that month, he wed Jane Seymour. After giving birth to Edward, Henry's only male heir, Jane died a year and a half later of complications.

Next, Henry became infatuated with Anne of Cleves, a German princess, after seeing her portrait. He hastily arranged a marriage with her in 1540, but she was not as attractive to him in person. Historians claim the marriage was never consummated, and he divorced her. In July 1540, Henry married Catherine Howard, first cousin of Anne Boleyn. The marriage didn't last long. She was adulterous and, like Anne Boleyn, was beheaded in March 1542 for treason. The following year, Catherine Parr became wife number six and remained with Henry until his death in 1547.

Tiger Woods

3: The Tower of London
The Tower of London's inception was at the behest of King William the Conqueror, shortly after his coronation on Dec. 25, 1066. Built as a fortress, it served at times as a residence for royalty and also as a medieval prison. Today it is best remembered for the prisoners it held, the torture chambers and the executions that occurred there. Anne Askew, a Protestant English poet, was placed on the rack there and tortured before being burned at the stake as a heretic. Sir Thomas More and John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, met their fates there, too. Although its bloody history includes many significant events in English history, few remain as mysterious as the disappearance of princes Edward V and Richard, Duke of York.
These disappearances are believed to have been perpetrated by Richard, Duke of Gloucester, whose brother, Edward IV, named Richard as "Lord Protector" of his son, Edward V, on his deathbed.

With Edward IV dead, Richard imprisoned his nephews within the Tower's walls in 1483 before seizing power. It is generally believed that Richard had them murdered. In 1674, nearly 200 years later, laborers removing a staircase that led to the White Tower's chapel found the bones of two children. Although it is believed that the remains were those of the two princes, it has never been proven.

Charlie Sheen

2: Was there a connection between Queen Victoria and Jack the Ripper?
According to historians, police scientists and Ripperologists, the true identity of the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper has remained a mystery ever since he brutally murdered several prostitutes in London's Whitechapel area in 1888. There are theories about his identity, however. All of his victims were prostitutes, and all but one were severely mutilated. His final murder, that of Mary Jane Kelly, was his most horrendous. He slashed her throat, cut out her liver, heart and uterus, destroyed her face, and nailed pieces of her flesh on a wall near her corpse.

Though a number of suspects have surfaced since Jack's heyday, none have been conclusively proven to have been the serial killer. One of the most shocking possibilities, however, was Prince Albert Victor, Queen Victoria's grandson. This belief is bolstered in an issue of The Criminologist, a British police science professional journal. According to the article's author, Thomas Stowell, there is considerable evidence that points toward Victoria's grandson as the killer. Although it is a theory that Scotland Yard has embraced, it is only a theory — one that lacked sufficient credence with which to move forward and was eventually dismissed. As a result, Jack the Ripper's true identity remains, officially, a mystery to this day.

1: Queen Victoria and the Lady Flora Hastings Scandal
Lady Flora Elizabeth Rawdon Hastings (1806 to 1839) was a small, unmarried woman and a lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria's mother, the Duchess of Kent, according to a McGill University article by Dr. Glenn F. Cartwright, retired. Upon her return to London in 1839 following a trip to Scotland, Lady Flora was ill and was seen by Queen Victoria's physician. Having a somewhat protruding abdomen, rumors spread quickly that she was pregnant and a royal family scandal ensued. The Queen believed the rumors to be true, despite testimony from two doctors who said there was insufficient evidence to show that Lady Flora was, in fact, pregnant.
Ultimately disgraced by the untrue rumors that Queen Victoria seemed to support, Lady Flora died in her sleep at Buckingham Palace in the early hours of the morning of July 5, 1839 at the age of 33, still a virgin. It was later shown that she suffered from a liver disease that had enlarged her abdomen sufficiently to make it appear she was pregnant, marking this unfortunate period of Victoria's reign as a historical episode she'd live to regret. ( )

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