Despite their best attempts, the Royal family are the worst when it comes to keeping secrets. Their many, many affairs have been trawled through the press over the years, causing embarrassment for the Queen and her Royal aides. But did the Queen herself have an affair? With the Netflix series The Crown, appearing to blow the lid off many steamy affairs in the palaces, just what went on behind the gilded doors of Britain’s most famous family? We’ve dished the dirt on 15 Royal Family affairs that the Queen definitely didn’t want you to know about.
From a shocking intimate act snapped on a holiday lounger to men being smuggled into Kensington Palace for ‘lunch dates’, it seems when the Royals have an affair, they really go to town. Read our list to find out just how many men Princess Diana got close to during her marriage to Prince Charles and see if you can guess which other Royal Family members might appear on our rundown of Royal romps. Some of the names might surprise you. There’s a celebrity conquest, a sporting hero and even an underage allegation in the mix.
15. Did a recent biography expose Prince Charles and Barbara Streisand’s affair?
The thing about secret royal affairs is that, fairly often, the Royal family are able to keep any dalliances well and truly under wraps. And it seems that while Prince Charles is, or was, famously infatuated with Barbara Streisand, there was nothing but rumours suggesting these two ever had a secret affair. That was until an explosive new biography of Streisand’s life was published. The book exposes several clandestine affairs the singer had – including a secret tryst with Prince Charles. The author claims Prince Charles and Streisand hooked up during the Prince’s trip to LA in 1994. The official line from the Royal family? Prince Charles ‘had a private tea’ with Barbara Streisand and that’s all they are willing to reveal about this relationship.
14. Did Prince Andrew have a secret affair with an underage woman?
During his marriage to Fergie, it was her affairs that hit the headlines while Andrew was portrayed as the ever suffering husband. Once their marriage was over, Prince Andrew got through a long line of women which lead to him being dubbed as the ‘playboy prince’. But the Royal family haven’t been able to keep secret one alleged affair which Prince Andrew has been named in. Andrew’s name has been caught up in the case involving Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire and convicted pedophile. Virginia Roberts (pictured with Prince Andrew) claims she was used as a s*x slave by Epstein and his acquaintances when she was just 17. Naming the Duke of York among those involved, Virginia Roberts filed a civil lawsuit in the States. Prince Andrew and the Royal Family strenuously denied the allegations and a judge ruled the claims be struck from the record.
13. Prince Charles and Camilla’s ongoing affair
Although Prince Charles married Diana, his heart always belonged to Camilla. Dating for a while back in the 70s, Charles was distraught at not being allowed to marry her. The reason? While Camilla wasn’t quite the village bicycle, she had certainly entertained her fair share of gentlemen callers. Brits wouldn’t stand for an heir to the throne marrying a hoochie mama so he had to settle for someone without a string of lovers to their name. But that didn’t mean Charles stopped hooking up with Camilla. They carried their affair on throughout the marriage, with Diana famously revealing in a televised interview: “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”
12. Princess Diana’s affair with her security guard Sergeant Barry Mannakee
With Prince Charles playing away on the regular, Princess Diana was often home alone and in need of a shoulder to cry on. So up steps valiant bodyguard, Sergeant Barry Mannakee – a Royal Protection officer. It was his job to guard the Princess day and night, but rumours began to whisper around the palace that the pair had gotten way too close. To put an end to the affair, and stop the rumours, the Royal Family had Mannakee fired for displaying “overfamiliar behaviour” towards the Princess and eight months later he died in a motorbike incident. Conspiracy theorists pointed the finger at the palace and his death sparked Diana’s belief that the Royals were out to get her and that she would be next …
11. Princess Diana snuck Christopher Whalley into the palace in the trunk of a car to keep their affair a secret
Far from being the timid, young Princess portrayed in the press, Diana became an outrageous flirt who didn’t shy away from going after men she found attractive. Cornering Whalley on the stairs of her local gym, she startled him with her opening gambit of “What does a girl have to do to get a coffee around here?” But after a string of affairs were uncovered by the press, Diana was also a little more savvy about keeping her bedroom antics on the down low. Whisking Whalley into Kensington Palace in the trunk of a car meant no lurking paparazzi could snap a picture of him making his way to their regular ‘lunch meetings’. Thanks to the extraordinary way the Princess kept their relationship a secret, they dated for over a year without anyone finding out what really went on behind the palace walls.
10. Fergie’s affair with Texan Steve Wyatt
Though Princess Diana eventually stole all of the headlines with her illicit affairs, it was Fergie who first brought shame and embarrassment to the UK Royal Family. Some even say Diana manipulated Fergie into destroying her own marriage so Diana could divorce Prince Charles. Royal protocol at the time meant divorce was virtually unheard of and this affair was the beginning of the end for solid and stable Royal marriages. Sarah Ferguson (Fergie) met Wyatt at Houston Grand Opera’s British Opera Festival. Already pregnant with her second child, she became besotted with the Texan oil man. Completely ignoring her Royal duty to her husband, Fergie let Wyatt whisk her around London as ‘his woman’ while the palace tried in vain to cover up the affair.
9. Did the Duke of Edinburgh take things further with any of his ‘special friends’?
No stranger to controversy, the Duke of Edinburgh is quite a lad. Rarely out of the press for being offensive, borderline racist or just plain old batsh*t crazy, he’s not really one for playing by the rules. And it seems in his younger days, the Duke built himself quite a rep for being a very regal player. Famed for his wandering eye, it was almost an open secret within the Royal Family and the British press that the Duke regularly played away from home. Sent away on long trips abroad on Royal yachts, his extra-marital affairs were kept away from prying eyes. His infidelity has never been proven, with many of the ladies he’s been connected with refusing to dish the dirt, but he sure did spend a lot of time hanging out with attractive women that weren’t the Queen. The official line from the palace? “[The Duke] has always liked window shopping, but he doesn’t buy.”
8. Princess Diana’s affair with James Hewitt
This is one of Diana’s most scandalous affairs which still causes embarrassment for the Royal Family today. From Hewitt trying to sell Diana’s love letters to the press to being named in a possible paternity row over Prince Harry, this is one Royal affair that just won’t go away. Princess Diana started her fling with James Hewitt after he was drafted in to give her horse-back riding lessons. For five years they carried out their affair without Prince Charles knowing, but the gig was up when Diana let the world know about the secret romance in her 1995 ground-breaking TV interview.
7. Did The Queen have an affair with her racing manager Lord ‘Porchey’ Porchester?
Given the Queen’s age, it’s hard to think of her as a racy young woman who might be the sort to cheat on her husband. But back in the day, Queen Elizabeth was a foxy minx by all accounts. Rumoured to be super close with her racehorse trainer, Lord ‘Porchie’ Porchester, their relationship was explored in the hugely popular Netflix series, The Crown. But did their friendship blossom into something more? So many rumours surround this connection, it’s hard not to believe their relationship was just platonic. Still the Royals kept things under wraps by ignoring any gossip and refusing to comment. But perhaps the most telling is the Queen’s behaviour after Porchie’s death. Lord Porchester died on the same day as the 2001 9/11 attack on the twin towers. Sending a message to the USA the Queen spoke in an unusually heartfelt way, saying: “Grief is the price we pay for love.” Breaking all Royal protocols the Queen also attended Porchie’s private funeral.
6. Princess Diana’s affair with her old friend James Gilbey
Here’s the thing. If you were famous and/or a Royal and on the phone in the early 90s in the UK, just about anyone could be listening in. The press had a phone-hacking thing going on, security services tapped your devices for your own safety and GCHQ (the UK’s top secret British Intelligence service) listened in as well. Safe to say, nothing was private and eventually your secrets would wind up in the papers. Oblivious to this at the time, Diana shared some intimate phone calls with James Gilbey. Their affair was kept under wraps by those in the know, but a recording of the call hit the press with embarrassing consequences for the Royal family. Diana, deeply depressed at this point, confided that Charles “makes my life real, real torture”. During the call Gilbey referred to Diana as Squidgy over and over. Lord knows the UK press love a scandal and the whole sorry affair was known as Squidgygate from then on.
5. Fergie’s infamous ‘toe-job’ moment with John Bryan
With Fergie making no attempts to hide her extra-marital affairs and generally causing the Queen to be embarrassed on an almost daily basis, this was one affair the Royals were desperate to cover up. With their regal reputation under threat, the Royals didn’t need any more scandals. But the British press could smell a story and weren’t going to stop until they got a scoop to top the last one. And boy, did Fergie give them a scoop. Paparazzi snapped a topless Fergie getting what the newspapers called a ‘toe-job’ from John Bryan – another American suitor she met after her affair with Steve Wyatt. The Queen, horrified at pictures of Prince Andrew’s wife getting her toe sucked on a sunlounger, banished Fergie from the Royal household. It was the end of Fergie’s place in the Royal family and the beginning of a long period of embarrassment for the Royals.
4. Princess Diana’s affair with Oliver Hoare was revealed in an unlikely way
By now you’ve probably gathered that Diana had her fair share of affairs during her doomed 15-year marriage to Prince Charles. Each and every one of the Royal family tried to keep a secret, and Diana tried in vain to keep her romances from prying eyes. Though, things didn’t always go to plan. Oliver Hoare and his wife were all up in Prince Charles and Camilla’s business. Knowing the duo were in on the affair, Diana began spending time with Hoare and quizzing him for details of her husband’s betrayal. But before too long Hoare and Diana started a steamy affair. After a late night romp at Kensington Palace, Hoare slipped out into a hallway for a sneaky cigar. Unfortunately it set off all the fire alarms in Kensington Palace and he was caught out by Diana’s security detail, hiding behind a plant.
3. Princess Diana’s Affair With Rugby Player Will Carling
This may not seem like a closely guarded secret, as rumours about Princess Diana’s affair with Will Carling were rampant in the UK press. Diana met Carling at the Harbour Club gym in London and the ‘official’ story was that she wanted Carling to be her personal trainer. Soon a familiar pattern began, with Diana smuggling him into the palace under a blanket in the back of a car. The England rugby star always firmly denied an affair with the Princess, but the press questioned why his marriage broke up soon after the allegations were made. Diana’s close friends also still deny the pair had an intimate relationship, but Carling was named among a list of lovers the Royal family were ‘concerned’ about during the inquest into Diana’s death.
2. Princess Anne got caught kissing her security guard Sergeant Peter Cross
The British press love a Royal scandal. And what could be more scandalous than an illegitimate love-child? Well, probably plenty of things, but in the Royal family it would be huge news. The ongoing speculation over the true identity of Prince Harry’s father is well known, but there’s another Royal who may not be quite as Royal as we think. Rumours once circulated that Princess Anne’s daughter Zara, may have been the product of Anne’s affair with her handsome personal bodyguard, Sergeant Peter Cross. The two managed to keep their affair secret until a Buckingham Palace official spotted the two kissing. Scotland Yard quietly found other duties for Cross, but he was annoyed by the move and spilled the beans to a UK tabloid. When will the Royal Family learn that their affairs can’t stay under wraps forever?
1. Princess Diana’s Secret Affair With Henry Herbert, the 17th Earl of Pembroke
With Diana clocking up so many affairs on our list, it only seems right to finish with yet another affair the Princess had during her marriage to Prince Charles. The relationship was a closely guarded secret, not only by the Royal family, but within British aristocratic circles too. People close to both sides still refuse to comment on whether these two ever took their friendship further, but one Royal biographer is adamant that the Earl and Princess Diana were hooking up. With so many affairs kept under wraps, just how many other Royal affairs are happening that we don’t know about?
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