I'll quickly out myself as an anti-monarchist. There you go, my bias is on the table and it's not going anywhere. Despite the fact that most royal families are little more than ceremonial pieces, they still live absurdly lavish lifestyles and cost an offensive amount of money.
These figureheads are basically slightly less talented Kardashians. At least Kim and her sisters look good and lead controversial, entertaining lives. Royalty is one step below this and generally oversee pointless ceremonies in honor of a particularly manipulative and irrational form of governance. In essence, countries that still have a monarch are consistently reminded, "hey, remember when this family of elitists without consciences was in control and could send you off to war for whatever reason they want? Well, now you pay for them to live in luxury and they're sort of still in charge."
Royal families are, at least ideally supposed to be the epitome of class and represent the spirit of their people. They don't, because all they do is exist and have their pictures taken, but for those still willing to drink that style of metaphorical Kool-Aid, they're still a treasured part of citizenship in some countries. Despite the fact that they are supposed to at least pretend to be remotely "good" people, here are fifteen times royal family members have been disgraces to their lineages and countries.
17 Juan Carlos of Spain - Hunting/Shooting Scandals
Things aren't so great in Europe right now, and in Spain, back in 2012, things were particularly rough, with vast unemployment and austerity being the word of the day. King Juan Carlos took an expensive trip to Botswana in which he shot at least one elephant. The pictures of this event set off outrage among animal lovers but also Spaniards in general who were furious about the king taking an expensive hunting trip on tax dollars while the people scrounged for table scraps. Juan Carlos shot and killed his brother in a shooting accident decades ago, and around the same time as this trip, his grandson shot himself in the foot with a shotgun. This whole royal family can't handle their weapons. When you're a king, all you have to do is not piss off your citizens and there is more than enough time to learn to handle firearms. This is an embarrassment. There's nothing wrong with hunting, but while your citizens are starving and broke, it may be best not to rub salt in the wound.
16 Carl-Philip of Sweden - Frat Boy or Prince?
Prince Carl-Philip had, for many years, a reputation of which his family was less than fond. In short, he was a party animal, whose favorite things included booze-fueled weekends, fast cars and faster women. Around 2009 he broke up with the woman who his family had hoped he would marry, in favor of dating Sofia Hellqvist. She's not an "ideal" princess either, as she has posed topless and been featured on a very racy reality TV show. She's gorgeous and has a killer body, but a set of summer teeth (summ'er here, summ'er there). But anyway, the couple have settled down, but the family was none too pleased about their courtship a few years ago.
15 Cristina of Spain - Tax Evasion
So back to Spain we go. The King's sister, known as Infanta Cristina, is currently under investigation for alleged involvement in her husband's shady accounting. Inaki Urdangarin has been accused of various corruption charges including theft of public funds, money laundering, and tax evasion. Infanta Cristina was accused, back in 2015, of having been involved heavily in the tax evasion part of this controversy.
If a member of a royal family did misuse funds in this way, that would be a real slap on the face: if modern monarchies are scams (they are) this would be a scam within a scam. Terrifying.
14 Saud bin Muhammed Al Thani - Mismanagement of Funds
This man, who died in 2014, was a Qatari prince who was in charge of that country's culture, arts and heritage ministry. His cousin was the Emir of the country when he held office, and while he had a massive budget to work with to pack Qatar's museums and art galleries, he was investigated and kicked out of his position after it was discovered that he had used public funds to bolster his own personal collections.
This is by no means the worst thing a royal family member can do, but corruption is corruption and it's not like this guy and his family weren't shockingly wealthy to begin with.
13 Srirasmi of Thailand - Corruption
The former wife of Crown Prince Vajiralongkom of Thailand was Srirasmi, until late 2014 when she and the Prince divorced. She married the prince back in 2001, but over a decade later, several members of her family were caught in a corruption scandal and the family were stripped of their titles as royalty. The title/name in question, by the way, was "Akkharapongpricha", and while that may look like a cat just strolled across my keyboard, I assure you that is not the case.
12 Harry - Real Life Call of Duty
The best-known royal family in the world is the House of Windsor; English royalty. These days we are bombarded with every nauseating minute of William and Kate and their soon-to-be-spoiled- progeny, but a couple of years ago, the tabloids were metaphorically wetting themselves over the younger Prince Harry. The guy deserves a tip of the cap for serving in Afghanistan, but in 2013 he compared killing Taliban insurgents to Call of Duty in an interview that got a ton of press. Shortly thereafter, Taliban leaders indicated that there would be retribution for his disrespect and military officials even mentioned that he should have used far greater judgment in his choice of words.
10 Carl Gustaf of Sweden Loves the Nightlife
Back in 2010, the Swedish public learned that their royal family may not have been quite the upstanding and perfect people they had thought. While he had a knack for ruler-ship by day, several sources have indicated that he had a knack for wild sex parties with pole dancers, drugs and of course, alcohol. The king admitted to it, but never really addressed the events beyond indicating that he and the family were simply going to move on, as these gatherings happened in the past. The relatives may have put all this in the past, but there is no word as to whether the population looks at the old man the same since his admission.
8 Harry - the Armband
So remember earlier, when we described Prince Harry essentially mocking the Taliban publicly and potentially placing himself and his fellow soldiers in more danger? Well, this is slightly less dangerous but far stupider: he wore a Nazi armband (orange with a swastika) to a party. This was back in 2005, and he apologized shortly after some initial public outcry.
Now, I'm the kind of guy who would chuckle, shake my head, and walk away from someone dressed up like this at a costume party without a complaint. But with that said, a member of a royal family should probably know that their behavior is under a microscope 24/7 and practice some discretion and judgement. Then again, who really cares what I think? I doubt British royalty do...
7 Several Members of the Royal Family of Bahrain - Torture
The tiny island nation of Bahrain, which sits in the Persian Gulf with a population of about a million and a half people, experienced protest similar to the rest of that region in 2010 and 2011. Members of the royal family were obviously less than pleased at these pro-democracy initiatives, and several protesters who were arrested claim that princes Nasser Bin Hammad Al-Khalifa and Khalid Bin Hammad Al-Khalifa and Khalifa Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa and Nora Bint Ebrahim Al-Khalifa tortured them mercilessly. The above picture is of Prince Nasser, when he took a selfie while jogging in London. After uploading the photo, activists demanded that British authorities arrest him for his part in the crimes.
These people allege that the reasons for having been tortured included text messages critical of the royal family, reading banned literature publicly and for participating in said pro-democracy rallies. You may want to sit down, dear readers, as this may surprise you, but none of these royal family members have been charged or convicted.
6 Prince Majed bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz - A Few Things
Saudi Arabia is a mess. Granted, it is a stinking rich mess, but a mess nonetheless. It's one of those places where, if you see two women high-five, and then proceed to beat them both unconscious, the nearest cop will probably just ask why you had to make such a mess. That's an extrapolation, of course, but you get my point.
Last year, the son of the late King Abdullah, Majed, was arrested in Los Angeles when he was found coked out of his mind, threatening female staff and acting about how you'd expect a spoiled clown to act in LA. Among the charges were sexual assault of a female employee, and drug charges. Aside from these, rumors have flown around that Majed had sex with a male employee. This is obviously no big deal in North America, but I'll give you three guesses how Saudi Arabia feels about homosexuality, and the first two don't count.
5 Princess Meshael Alayban - Imprisonment and Human Trafficking
Now that we're into what I'll call the Saudi part of this list (Saudi royalty is massive and many are by no means saints), we should include at least one woman. This lady married a Saudi prince and was arrested in Irvine, California, after a Kenyan servant claimed that she had been abused, treated as slave labor and was forcibly imprisoned on a regular basis. The charges were eventually dropped, but money is a magical thing in the courts. Remember when a certain legendary retired NFL running back was found innocent of killing his wife and her friend?
4 Prince Abdel Mohsen Bin Walid Bin Abdulaziz
Captagon is a potent amphetamine-type stimulant. Like other stimulants of its kind, Captagon produces a feeling of well-being, power and increases alertness and can cause aggression. If this sounds like a great way to get people to fight and kill one another to you, you're onto something. Last year this Saudi prince was caught in a Beirut airport with two tons of this drug. It is being widely used to fuel fighters on most sides of nearly every war in the Middle East right now.
3 Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz bin Nasser Al Saud - Murder
As I implied earlier, Saudi Arabia is less than kind when it comes to homosexuality. So it is not unusual that Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz spent more time during his MURDER trial, arguing that he wasn't gay, than defending himself of the actual charge. He was in a sexual relationship with one of his male servants and beat that servant to death in London back in 2010. He was sentenced to life in prison for this heinous crime.
2 Dipendra of Nepal - A "Royal" Massacre
There's no eloquent way to say this, but if this article is about disgraces, there isn't much more of a disgrace than someone carrying out a massacre. Long story short, Prince Dipendra, heir to the Nepalese throne, shot up a family gathering with an M16, MP5 and a shotgun. He killed his parents, the king and queen, along with seven other family members. Nobody knows why he did it for sure, but some rumors include a plot by the former king, a CIA conspiracy (those guys and gals are always busy) and a theory about the prince wanting to marry a woman of whom his parents did not approve. After killing nine of his family members, Dipendra shot himself, and died after three days in a coma.
1 Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo - Many Crimes Including Murder
The now-former king of the Thembu people (a nation-group) in South Africa, Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo was recently dethroned after he was found guilty of murder, arson, multiple assaults and kidnapping. The crimes he committed were investigated for over twenty years before he was finally incarcerated. He has been widely vilified by his own people and throughout South Africa, and many in addition to his victims have "rejoiced at his imprisonment" according to a local news source.