The British royal family has captured public interest for hundreds of years, from Henry VIII and his wives to the tragic death of the people’s princess, Diana, in 1997. The royal family is an institution that has significant cultural importance not just in Britain, but worldwide.
Since her coronation in 1952, Queen Elizabeth II has been at the head of an ever -growing family. Her reign has been the most publicized in history, following the expansion of the media and creation of the internet – there is no-where to hide.
While it may all look like extravagant carriages, tiaras and socializing, have you ever wondered what secrets lurk behind the gilded walls of Buckingham Palace? Over the years, there have been leaks to the press, incriminating photographs, dozens of affairs and even secret relatives. Although the royal family try their best to keep these embarrassing incidents under wraps, it’s never long before the shocking events surface, tarnishing the Windsor name.
From princesses dating convicts and princes dirty talking with their extramarital lovers, there have been moments the inner workings of the royal family have been laid bare for us all to see, when they should have remained secrets forever. As the years go by, it’s easy to forget just how many shocking stories have passed – and how desperately the royal family wished they had never seen the light of day.
Here are 20 Dark Secrets The Royal Family Wants to Keep Hidden.
20. PRINCE CHARLES WANTED TO BE CAMILLA’S TAMPON
Prepare to be a little grossed out. Prince Charles’ marriage to Lady Diana Spencer was nothing if not rocky. Both parties had numerous affairs, including Prince Charles very public romance with his previous girlfriend, Camilla Parker-Bowles, the Duchess of Cornwall. Both Charles and Camilla were still married to their prospective spouses, but it didn’t stop them exchanging some very kinky phone calls. In 1992, the year Charles and Diana officially separated, a phone conversation was leaked where Charles expressed the desire to ‘live inside [Camilla’s] trousers as ‘a pair of knickers’ or, most disturbingly, ‘a Tampax’. The press went wild and titled the incident ‘tampongate.’ I bet his mother had some stern words with him over that one.
19. WALLIS SIMPSON AND EDWARD VIII HAD NAZI CONNECTIONS
The love affair between Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII rocked the 1930’s. Simpson was an American socialite, already twice divorced by the time she met Edward, making her unsuitable to marry the king. In a series of events that scandalized the royals, Edward abdicated the throne to marry her. If that wasn’t enough, prior to and during World War II, the couple were suspected of having strong Nazi connections. In 1937, the two traveled to Germany to meet Adolf Hitler. The FBI also discovered that Simpson had once been the lover of the Nazi foreign minister. Given the atrocities Hitler committed and the devastation caused by the war, it’s not surprising that this is a connection the royals want to remain forgotten.
18. THE QUEEN AND HER SECRET COUSINS
In 2011, a documentary aired on the British network, Channel 4. It was called The Queen’s Hidden Cousins and revealed a scandal that had avoided the public eye for decades. In the 1940’s, mental disabilities weren’t understood like they are today. The Royal Family viewed it as an embarrassment and two of the Queen’s first cousins, Nerissa and Katherine Bowes-Lyon fell victim. Nieces of the Queen Mother, the two girls were incarcerated in a mental institution in 1941 and remained in care there for the rest of their lives, cut off from the royals forever. In the documentary, nurses who oversaw them categorically stated that no members of the family ever came to visit the two sisters, who were unable to articulate speech, but had a great mischievous spirit. This claim was disputed by the family.
17. DIANA WAS THAT UNHAPPY, SHE THREW HERSELF DOWN THE STAIRS WHILE PREGNANT
It’s no secret that Prince Charles and Diana had a terrible marriage, as I have previously touched upon. Unlike many royals, Diana was vocal about her private affairs. Despite her short life, we know more about Diana thanks to her personal papers, confidants and biographers, than we know about many other royals still living. In tapes aired on US television in 2004, Diana talks about how unhappy she was within the marriage, her struggle with depression and suicide attempts. In one segment, she describes how she threw herself down the stairs when she was three months pregnant with Prince William, landing at the feet of the Queen. Speaking of her troubles, she said, ‘I was trying to cut my wrists with razor blades…we were trying to hide that from everybody…I was just so desperate.’
16. PRINCESS BEATRICE DATED A KILLER
Seventh in line for the throne and the Queen’s granddaughter, Princess Beatrice is a socialite and philanthropist. She also has made some dodgy dating decisions in the past. In 2006 when the princess was just 17-years-old, she started dating American playboy Paolo Liuzzo. Prior to his relationship with Princess Beatrice, Liuzzo was arrested for the manslaughter of 19-year-old Jonathan Duchatellier. Duchatellier was savagely beaten and died as a result of his injuries in 2002, after allegedly confronting Liuzzo for disrespecting females at a party. Amazingly, the manslaughter charge was dropped and reduced to assault and battery. Liuzzo even broke the terms of his probation while wooing Beatrice, by taking a trip to the French Alps. Thankfully, the relationship was short lived.
15. THE DUCHESS OF YORK HAD HER TOES SUCKED ON CAMERA
Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, was married to the Queen’s son, Prince Andrew. Together they had two daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. The Duke and Duchess separated in 1992, as their marriage began to break down. The Duchess was less than discreet about her dalliances with other men, leading the other members of the royal family to snub her. The situation only got worse when she was photographed topless on a beach with financier John Bryan. If that wasn’t bad enough, the paps managed to get some shots of Bryan sucking her toes. Queenie didn’t take kindly to this and reportedly banned her from Balmoral.
14. PRINCE HARRY DRESSED AS A NAZI
Back in 2005, Charles and Diana’s youngest son attended a costume party – dressed as a Nazi. This is a risky enough outfit for the average Joe, let alone a British royal. Of course, pictures from the party were leaked to the press who promptly plastered it over their front pages. Harry, then just 20 years old, made a public apology via royal officers, which read, ‘Prince Harry has apologized for any offense or embarrassment he has caused. He realizes it was a poor choice of costume.’ The media held on to the story for some time, and it caused widespread outrage worldwide. Next time, just stick to a Ghostbusters costume, eh Harry?
13. PRINCESS ANNE OWNED A DOG THAT ATTACKED CHILDREN
Princess Anne is the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth, sister to Prince Charles and Prince Andrew. Known for her charity work, it might surprise you to realize that Anne is no stranger to scandal either. In 2002, Princess Anne and her husband were putting their dogs into the car after walking them in Windsor Great Park. One of the dogs, an English Bull Terrier, escaped and savagely attacked two young boys riding their bikes. The couple were taken to court and ordered to pay a fine, making it the first time a senior royal had ever been charged with a criminal offence. The dog was allowed to live, to the anger of the victim’s families. The following year, the same dog killed one of the Queen’s most beloved corgis.
12. PRINCE ANDREW WAS FRIENDS WITH A PEDOPHILE
Prince Andrew is no stranger to controversy. In 2011, it emerged that the prince was good friends with convicted sex offender and American financier, Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein was found guilty of soliciting prostitution from underage girls in June 2008. Police had launched an investigation into Epstein after a mother of a 14-year-old girl came forward and found some unsettling evidence. He was sentenced to 18 months, but released after serving just 13. Sarah Ferguson claimed that her ex-husband had asked Epstein to clear some of her debts. Although he later reported he had cut all ties with Epstein, Buckingham Palace came under new pressure to explain the prince’s ties with the American in 2015.
11. QUEEN VICTORIA AND PRINCE ALBERT WERE FIRST COUSINS
If you thought that jokes about the royal family being incestuous were just jokes, you might be surprised to know that it’s factually correct. Although it wouldn’t happen in this day and age, two of the most famous monarchs of all time were actually first cousins. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were married in 1840 and had 9 children together. Victoria was vocal about her love for Albert, and was devastated after his death of typhoid fever in 1861. She mourned for the rest of her life. Can you image two first cousins marrying and having children in any family today, let alone the British royals?
10. PRINCESS ANNE’S SON IN LAW SPENT A NIGHT IN A DWARF TOSSING CLUB
Yes, it’s as bizarre as it sounds. He may not be of royal by blood, but rugby ace Mike Tindall married Princess Anne’s daughter, Zara Phillips, so the connection is there. In 2011, the former England captain spent a night at a dwarf tossing club in New Zealand following their win over Argentina. Although Tindall said not one member of the team threw a dwarf, his presence there was enough to outrage media and stars alike – including Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones. Do you think this is worse or on par with Harry’s Nazi costume faux pas? Let me know in the comments.
9. PRINCE HARRY WAS CAUGHT USING RACIAL SLURS
In 2009, Prince Harry was dealt a huge blow to his reputation when a tape emerged of him using racial slurs against members of his own army platoon, whilst they waited to be deployed from Sandhurst Military Academy. In the video, appearing as though it is shot by Harry himself, you can hear the prince using offensive language as well as racist terms. Once again, Harry had to make a public apology to try and save the royal family from further embarrassment. It didn’t work and the footage was relentlessly replayed around the world. In the statement, Harry said he understood the impact of his words and the offence they could cause. Too little, too late.
8. PRINCESS MARGARET HAD A TOY BOY (AND A STRING OF AFFAIRS)
The late Princess Margaret, the Queen’s sister, piqued public interest with her lifestyle choices. A heavy smoker and drinker since the age of 15, Margaret lived life as she wanted to. Although she married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960, Margaret’s conquests didn’t end there. In 1973 the Princess started an affair with a gardener, 17 years her junior. Margaret didn’t escape the press and in 1976 a picture of the princess with her lover, Roddy Llewellyn, appeared on the front page of the now defunct News of the World. This wasn’t the first extramarital affair that rocked the marriage, and by 1978 the divorce was finalized.
7. PRINCE ANDREW WAS FRIENDS WITH A GUN SMUGGLER, TOO
They say you’re only as good as the company you keep – if that’s the case, Prince Andrew really isn’t much good at all. Before his 2011 dalliance with convicted pedophile Epstein, the prince publicly went on holiday to Tunisia with convicted gun smuggler Tarek Kaituni. Libyan born Kaituni is said to have presented Andrew and his daughters with very expensive jewelry, in exchange for some of the prince’s business influence. The press were quick to jump on the royal for being so blatant about his deplorable social circle, with The Times stating in 2015, ‘Prince Andrew dazzles easily when confronted with immense wealth and apparent power. He has fallen for ‘friendships’ with bad, corrupt and clever men.’ Ouch. We wonder what mother had to say on the matter.
6. THE DUCHESS OF YORK TRIED TO SELL ACCESS TO PRINCE ANDREW
It might be easy to see why Sarah Ferguson isn’t in the good graces of the Queen. After all, not only was she loosey-goosey with her affairs, in 2010 an undercover reporter sensationally recorded her as she sold access to her ex-husband Prince Andrew. It wasn’t for small change either – she attempted to bank $700,000 for the deal. The Duchess was filmed telling the fake businessman, ‘Do you understand that I absolutely have not a pot to p**s in? I left the royal family with friendship, no money. Diana left with £20 million. And that’s why the Queen is my friend because I never took a bean from them. I have the biggest heart and the biggest of everything. But I have zero money. I have nothing.’ Is the Queen really your friend, though, Duchess?
5. PRINCE HARRY WENT TO REHAB
During his younger years, Prince Harry was the token royal wild child. At the age of 17, Harry admitted to his father, Prince Charles, that he had been experimenting with marijuana and underage drinking. On the back of that, Charlie took action and arranged for his son (and third in line for the throne) to attend Featherstone Lodge Rehabilitation center. The prince didn’t receive any treatment, but took a guided tour and interacted with patients and staff to understand the potential consequences of substance abuse. The media praised Prince Charles for setting a positive example, whilst the Queen probably shook her head in disapproval and took the corgis for a walk.
4. PRINCE PHILIP LET SOME RACIAL SLURS SLIP, TOO
Queen Elizabeth’s husband, the Duke of Edinburgh is particularly prone to making racist comments – perhaps that’s where Harry inherited it from. What’s worse is that he doesn’t seem to care about making them in public. Way back in the 80’s, on a visit to China, he said to a group of British students, ‘If you stay here much longer, you’ll go slit-eyed.’ Wow. Fast forward 20 years later and the prince clearly hadn’t learnt from his mistakes when he asked an Australian Aboriginal leader, ‘Do you still throw spears at each other?’ SMDH. Prince Philip stood down from his royal duties earlier this year, at the age of 96.
3. PRINCESS DIANA BLAMED CHARLES FOR HER EATING DISORDER
If her short life wasn’t tragic enough, being trapped in a loveless marriage in the public eye put enormous pressure on the late Princess Diana. During the same secret interview tapes that were released on US TV, she spoke candidly about how Charles had drove her to an eating disorder. ‘The bulimia started the week after we got engaged. My husband put his hand on my waistline and said, “Oh, bit chubby here, aren’t we?” and that triggered off something in me. And the Camilla thing. I was desperate, desperate.’ Diana was just 19 years old when she became engaged to Charles, who had previously dated her older sister, Sarah.
2. PRINCESS ANNE’S HUSBAND HAD A LOVE CHILD
Princess Anne married Lieutenant Mark Phillips in 1973 at Westminster Abbey, in a highly televised and anticipated ceremony. Like many royal marriages, the road was rocky for the couple. Phillips had an affair with New Zealand art teacher, Heather Tonkin. A daughter was born as a result of the tryst in 1985. The marriage struggled on for four more years before Princess Anne and Phillips separated in 1989. The divorce was finalized a few years later in 1992. Interestingly, Anne remarried later that year, becoming the first royal divorcee to do so since Henry VIII. The marriage ceremony was much more reserved than the first, with only 30 guests – and no cameramen.
1. PEOPLE DOUBT IF PRINCE CHARLES IS HARRY’S FATHER
It might seem as though there couldn’t possibly be any more scandal surrounding Prince Charles and Princess Diana, but believe me, we’ve only just scraped the surface. In 1995, Diana let it all out in a tell-all interview with journalist Martin Bashir, on the BBC program Panorama. In the interview, Diana admitted to her five-year affair with James Hewitt, a military man. It was widely speculated after Diana’s death that Hewitt was the biological father of her son, Prince Harry – and not Prince Charles. Although the two are extremely similar looks wise, Hewitt has denied it, saying Harry was born before their relationship started. What do you think?
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