What really goes on behind palace doors? The British royal family may appear prim and proper to the public, but they’ve faced their fair share of controversies over the years.
Fans began to take notice of the royals’ scandalous behavior when Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana announced their separation in 1992 after 10 years of marriage. At the time, the parents of Prince William and Prince Harry had both admitted to having extramarital affairs. In November 1995, Diana famously spoke out about her rocky relationship with the Prince of Wales, who sparked a romance with former flame and now-wife Duchess Camilla.
“There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded,” she told the BBC at the time.
Less than one year later, Charles and Diana made their divorce final. In August 1997, the avid philanthropist was tragically killed in a car crash in Paris.
Royal divorces haven’t been unheard of — but Harry shook up the palace with a wholly unexpected announcement in January 2020. The former military pilot and his wife, Meghan Markle, stated at the time that they would be stepping away from their responsibilities as senior members of the royal family. Throughout their highly publicized relationship, which began in 2016, the Suits alum was the target of harassment both online and in the British media.
Harry previously addressed the toxic treatment in October 2019. “I have been a silent witness to her private suffering for too long. To stand back and do nothing would be contrary to everything we believe in,” he said in an emotional statement at the time. “There comes a point when the only thing to do is to stand up to this behavior, because it destroys people and destroys lives. Put simply, it is bullying, which scares and silences people.”
The Invictus Games founder referenced his mother’s death, explaining that what he fears most is “history repeating itself.” When the couple made their exit permanent in February 2021, Harry opened up about the toll royal expectations took on his mental state.
“It was never walking away, it was stepping back rather than stepping down,” he said during a special segment on The Late Late Show With James Corden. “It was a really difficult environment as I think a lot of people saw. We all know what the British press can be like. It was destroying my mental health. … I did what any husband and what any father would do which is [say], ‘I need to get my family out of here.’”
Scroll down for a brief history of some of the British royal family’s most scandalous moments.