History has taught us that the Kings and Queens of the past are far from squeaky-clean when it comes to debauchery and skeletons in the closet – and it seems that the modern royals are no different. Ordinary celebrities are involved in some form of scandal on a weekly basis, but we somehow don’t expect the same of the royal family. Royals (especially the British monarchy) always appear to be so prim and proper in the public eye, but this hasn’t made them invincible to sleaze – far from it!
The fact is, members of the royal family are every bit as dysfunctional (if not more so) than the average household and have had enough disasters and family secrets between them to rival the most shocking soap operas. From wild party animals to shocking affairs and forbidden love, the regal half of the world have been anything but saints over the years, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!
Royals have a duty from birth to appear poised and refined at every opportunity, so it’s great to see them slip up from time to time – makes them appear human, as well as making us feel a whole lot better about ourselves. Ever assumed the royal family to be a boring bunch? You won’t after this. These are 15 major scandals that the royal family wish the world could just forget. Check out our rundown of the most naughty royal deeds past and present — we guarantee, you’ll never look at the royalty in quite the same away again.
15 Prince Harry’s Naked Vegas Antics
They say that ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’. Unfortunately, this is never going to be true for a celeb figure – least of all an heir to the British throne. Sure enough, these pictures of Prince Harry’s wild time in Las Vegas kicked up a media frenzy – cue endless jokes about the ‘crown jewels’ for months on end.
Harry was reportedly playing a game of ‘strip billiards’ at a five-star resort. Seems like the young prince was the loser and in a pretty big way! This wild night in Vegas may have been back in 2012, but it’s fair to say that the royals are still struggling to live this down. 32 year-old Harry is currently fourth in line to the throne. Hard to imagine him prancing around Buckingham Palace in the buff!
14 Princess Beatrice ‘Nearly Blinding’ Ed Sheeran
The UK royals made headlines for all the wrong reasons in November last year, when it was revealed that Princess Beatrice almost blinded singer Ed Sheeran at a party! In what was described as a ‘party prank gone horribly wrong’, the princess was jokingly ‘knighting’ musician James Blunt with a real sword when she accidentally swiped Sheeran’s cheek just below his eye. Sheeran was immediately rushed to hospital in need of stitches!
The redhead crooner has since seen the funny side and has even learnt to view his scar of a badge of honour. Princess Beatrice, on the other hand, was apparently inconsolable about the incident. Who can blame her? We wouldn’t want to be responsible for (literally) scarring someone for life! (Although next time, Bea, could you make it Justin Bieber?).
13 Prince Harry’s Nazi Costume
Back in 2005, the 21 year-old Prince’s unfortunate choice of costume created a global media storm, and it’s not hard to see why. To make matters worse for the young prince, this badly-timed picture was snapped just two weeks before Holocaust Memorial Day. Ouch.
Harry was caught wearing his swastika armband at a costume party which had a ‘Colonials and Natives’ theme. In comparison, Harry’s older and slightly more responsible brother Will turned up to the party in a lion/leopard outfit he had made at home. Talk about being upstaged by your sibling! This scandalous pic has no doubt haunted Harry and the royal family for the last decade – most notably because the costume is still referenced by most comedians and panel shows in the UK.
12 The Thai Princess Naked At Her Pet’s Birthday Party
It’s not every day that you spot a princess wearing nothing but a G-string at a birthday party, but nevertheless, this is how Princess Srirasmi of Thailand chose to celebrate her dog’s birthday. (yep, you read that right). The carefree Princess and her husband, the Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, were caught on camera enjoying a naughty poolside party in which every other guest appeared to be clothed – even the guest of honour, the couple’s dog Foo Foo.
The surreal birthday celebrations also saw the Princess bend down on the floor to eat out of a dog bowl whilst a servant lay down beside her and the couple sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to their pampered pooch. This sounds more like the stuff you’d expect to see on the weird side of YouTube at 3am than a royal birthday party!
11 Will’s Romantic Helicopter Stunt
Compared to his party-loving younger brother, Prince William has always been viewed as the more polished and ‘proper’ sibling. But in 2008, the eldest prince showed his wilder side when he used a £10 million RAF helicopter to pay his then-girlfriend Kate a romantic surprise. The only problem was, the spontaneous visit was made whilst Will was meant to be on official military duty. Oops!
William was already in hot water with the RAF having previously used a pricey RAF Chinook to whisk himself and Harry off to a friend’s stag party on the Isle of Wight. The impulsive trip reportedly cost £30,000 and many jokes were made at the time about Will “landing in Kate’s back garden”, but we’re guessing the RAF didn’t see the funny side!
10 King Henry ‘Playboy’ VIII
We’re all well aware of how many wives King Henry VIII managed to bag in his short life, but it was the way he went about it that makes him standout as one of history’s biggest Lotharios. Before he grew into his portly physique and obsession with beheading, the young Henry was quite the pin-up and had a passion for music and poetry. This made Katherine of Aragon fall for him and she stayed loyal to him for 18 years – that is until Henry booted her out for not being able to give birth to a boy.
This obsession with producing a male heir consumed his future relationships and turned Henry into the barbaric, power-hungry tyrant we all know today. He divorced one wife for being ‘too ugly’, he got one pregnant six times only to divorce her for bearing a daughter and he gave himself the title of Head of the Church of England just so he could divorce one wife to chase another lover. Maniac!
9 Princesses Partying Shut Down by Cops
Ed Sheeran’s near blinding incident at the hands of Princess Beatrice wasn’t the first time this royal party girl caused trouble for herself. Beatrice and her sister Princess Eugenie have long been known as the main party animals among the young royals, but their love for late-night clubbing went too far when it caught the attention of police back in 2009.
The royal sisters were partying with Halloween revellers in a quiet part of West London, ignoring a police order to have the party shut down due to complaints of excessive noise. Most of the party-goers obeyed the order and left, but it’s not known whether the princesses and their friends partied on until as late as 5am. The revellers apparently drank the bar dry (an extra £500 was spent on an Alcohol delivery to the club!). We don’t envy that royal hangover...
8 The Young Princes Let Loose at Friend’s Wedding
While attending the wedding of their close friend, brothers Will and Harry went out of their way to prove they’re capable of partying with the best of them. The band playing at the wild wedding in Tennessee must have been good, because Prince Harry felt the urge to do some twerking when he hit the dance floor! The band’s singer revealed that the young princes were apparently “mobbed by girls” for most of the night too.
Eager to keep the party going, the royal brothers reportedly asked the wedding band to keep the music coming, much to the surprise of the lead singer, Jimmy Church, “I thought the whole thing would be a bit conservative because they’re royal but it was crazy. We did five encores.” Par-tay!
7 Mike Tindall’s Wild Miami Bachelor Bash
Before he was due to wed the Queen’s granddaughter, Zara Phillips, ex-rugby player Mike Tindall pulled out all the stops for his stag party in 2011, by partying long and hard with close friends in Miami. Presumably nervous about tying the knot as well as becoming an official member of the royal family, Mike made the most of his last crazy weekend as a free man.
A source at the W hotel in Miami revealed that Tindall and his pals partied non-stop for three days, enjoying an “eight-hour drinking marathon” at one point by the hotel pool. The soon-to-be royal reportedly downed a whole bottle of red wine after being dared to by friends and spent the night dancing on tables. The bar tab run up by Tindall and pals was said to be a whopping $20,000! Her Majesty would most definitely not be amused.
6 Sarah ‘Fergie’ Ferguson’s ‘Toe-sucking’ Affair
Fergie, the Duchess of York, was already viewed unfavourably in the eyes of the royal family the minute she wed Prince Andrew in 1986. So when the now infamous photo confirming an illicit affair broke around the world in 1992, the royal family couldn’t handle the shame and it wasn’t long before Fergie was banished from the royal family bosom entirely.
Talking of bosoms, the picture inciting her downfall featured the newly-separated Duchess sunbathing topless with her American beau, John Bryan, who can be seen visibly sucking her toes in the salacious pap-snapped photo. This calamitous pic spurred on yet more scandals for Fergie years down the line – most recently when she was caught on camera in 2010 offering a reporter access to her ex (Prince Andrew) for a cool £500,000 in return. Yikes.
5 Edward VII A.K.A ‘Ladies Man’
As the eldest son of Queen Victoria, a young Edward VII lived a life of extreme leisure – gambling, drinking, smoking, you name it, Prince Edward pursued it and had no responsibilities tying him down. This was a dangerous combination and saw him achieve legendary status with his wild ways when it came to his biggest vice of all – the ladies.
His notorious womanizing was well known throughout the Victorian world by the 1880’s but his insatiable lust was probably best characterized by a specific object - a love-seat (pictured above) which was designed for the young Casanova to make love to two women simultaneously! Edward and his threesome-enabling love throne toured the brothels of Paris - some of which were also visited by Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart in their time.
4 The ‘Swinging’ Princess of Prussia
Princess Charlotte of the Prussian Crown prince and princess was the ultimate teen rebel. She had a reputation as a two-faced 18th century ‘mean girl’ who turned on friends and spread gossip like her life depended on it. But at age 30, she did something that especially didn’t make Mommy and Daddy too proud – in fact, it set about destroying her family’s trust in her (as well as Germany’s) forever.
In 1891, Charlotte threw a sex party that would destroy lives and lead to her own exile. She had invited a group of nobles to a hunting lodge near Berlin for a bit of swinger fun, but this was her only crime. The next day, the swinging noblemen and women left the party only to find themselves the victims of blackmail - each receiving letters threatening to reveal their identity (complete with pornographic drawings). Charlotte was innocent but her reputation was enough for people to point the finger. Burn!
3 Prince Harry’s Backstage X Factor Party
Prince Harry’s love of partying was more than apparent by this stage, but he still managed to whip up controversy back in 2009 when he was caught hanging out in Simon Cowell’s X Factor dressing room surrounded by scantily-clad girls - well and truly cementing his status as chief royal party animal.
The Prince was discovered by X Factor judge and singer Cheryl Cole who, in words taken from her biography, described walking in on Harry “lying on the dressing room floor, with his top buttons undone, relaxing with a glass of wine”. While this doesn’t sound like the most shocking party behaviour, it doesn’t help matters that Harry attended the party with his then girlfriend surrounded by half-naked chicks. Not a typical prince charming, are we Harry?
2 The Duke of York’s ‘Sex Slave’ Scandal
Sarah ‘Fergie’ Ferguson’s life as a royal may have been steeped in scandal, but her ex-husband Prince Andrew was far from saintly in that department himself. The Duke of York has been labelled everything from a layabout to a womanizer and in his time has earned the unfortunate nickname “Randy Andy”. But the standout controversy was his recent link to an underage ‘sex slave’ ring.
Prince Andrew and the royal family have strongly denied the allegations - which alleged his involvement in an orgy with girls as young as eight years old - but his well-known friendship with convicted pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein hasn’t exactly bode well for the Duke. Of all of his scandalous encounters, however, perhaps the most bizarre was the fact that he once rocked up to Courtney Love’s house at 1 am in search of female company...
1 The ‘Hopeless Romantic’ King Edward VIII
Perhaps the biggest royal scandal in history - all because of that old bugaboo ‘forbidden love’ — belonged to Edward VIII (the Duke of Windsor) and the American socialite, Wallis Simpson. Like something straight out of a Disney film, Edward ditched his crown for his heart when he fell for the twice-divorced Ms Simpson in 1936.
Their love sent ripples around the world, most notably in the Church of England and the Houses of Parliament who could not conceive the idea of Wallis Simpson as their future Queen. Determined to stay with the love of his life, Edward abdicated after less than a year as King and fled the kingdom with his lady by his side. The pair lived in Europe for the rest of their days and became pals with Hitler along the way. Controversial enough for ya?
Sources: The Daily Mail; Vanity Fair; Radar Online; The Washington Post; Express UK; People Magazine; The Telegraph; Time Magazine.