From the outside, the British royal family always looks perfectly poised and polished. Queen Elizabeth, her children, and her grandchildren are always camera ready during all of their royal engagements and public appearances. Just by looking at an official royal family portrait, you wouldn’t think that the family has ever been plagued by scandals, affairs, gaffes and embarrassing telephone recordings and videos that have made international headlines in every major publication from all over the world. But that's simply not the case. From Prince Harry’s excessive drinking, to Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s extramarital affairs and even Kate Middleton’s leaked photos, the British royals have managed to embarrass themselves more than Queen Elizabeth would like to admit.
The British royal family would like for the public to think that they are worthy of their important titles and expensive crowns, but everyone knows that's simply not true. A lot of royal fans know that some of the biggest scandals come from within Buckingham Palace. And while Her Majesty tries her best to cover up some of the worst things they’ve done, the truth always comes out. Here are 15 of the worst things that the royal family has tried to cover up from the public, but ultimately failed.
15 Prince William’s Embarrassing Dad Dancing Video
Prince William might be the future King of England, but from time to time, he also likes to get away from his daily life to hang out with his lads at a luxurious ski resort in Switzerland. Little did Prince William know that his embarrassing daddy dance moves at a nightclub in Verbier would make him the laughing stock of YouTube. And that’s exactly what happened when a video surfaced of William showing off his not-so-smooth moves.
If that weren’t enough, Prince William was also spotted chatting up a scantily-clad model while downing beers with his mates. The royal family tried to shrug it off like it was no big deal, but everyone knows that Kate Middleton had to have been royally upset with her husband’s behavior. Plus, it doesn’t look like he has any future ski trips with his best mates scheduled in the coming months anymore.
14 Sarah Ferguson’s Pay Off
For the longest time, Sarah Ferguson was the embarrassment of the royal family. As a matter of fact, she made numerous headlines when she was photographed with men who were definitely not her husband, Prince Andrew. But the one scandal that managed to rock the monarchy is when she offered to sell “royal access” in an effort to pay off her debt.
Back in 2010, Sarah’s cash-for-access scandal absolutely humiliated Queen Elizabeth. She was secretly filmed by an undercover reporter offering him up to half a million pounds for access to her ex-husband, Prince Andrew. She was unaware that she was the victim of a sting operation until the story broke in the British tabloids later that night. If that wasn’t enough, she was also forced to move out of her royal residence out of complete shame.
13 Prince Harry’s Costume Party Gaffe
Prince Harry might have royal blood, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t make some really royal mistakes from time to time. The energetic redhead made some very embarrassing headlines with a costume party gaffe that he most certainly will never forget.
In 2005, Prince Harry was photographed wearing a Nazi uniform that not only managed to embarrass himself, but the entire royal family in the process, too. The 20-year-old was heavily criticized by leaders from all over the world for wearing a tasteless imitation uniform that included a swastika armband. The young royal quickly apologized for the uniform. Prince Harry later admitted that his late teens and early twenties were a difficult time in his life that included a lot of excess drinking, drug use, and an occasional swing at photographers.
12 Prince Harry’s Romp In Las Vegas
Prince Harry might be very close to settling down with his girlfriend Meghan Markle, but for the longest time he used to be known as the party animal of the royal family. There was no party or celebration that he was willing to miss. And that fact was clearly evident after he was photographed in nothing but his birthday suit with a couple of hot blondes during a game of billiards in Las Vegas.
The world not only got to see his royal jewels, but a side of him that we’ve never seen before. It’s safe to say that Queen Elizabeth was definitely not impressed with his wild behavior in Vegas. He was ordered to return home immediately, where his royal grandmother most definitely scolded him. Luckily, Harry has managed to keep his clothes on in public since then.
11 Prince Charles And Camilla Parker-Bowles’ Affair
At this point, it’s safe to say that Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles’ affair was so big, that even the tabloid media in Britain couldn’t handle it. After all, even Princess Diana herself said that she always felt there were three people in her marriage. No matter where Diana went or what she did, Camilla was always there, whether she liked it or not.
Charles might have been married to a princess, but his heart always belonged to his mistress, Camilla. It wasn’t until after the demise of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage did he admit to being unfaithful to his wife. The rest, as they say, is history. Charles and Camilla have now been married more than ten years and thankfully, have managed to keep it scandal-free.
10 Kate Middleton’s Leaked Photos
Kate Middleton clearly isn’t immune to the occasional royal scandal from time to time, too. The Duchess of Cambridge made headlines after extremely revealing leaked photos of her surfaced on the cover of several different European gossip magazines. Several photographers managed to capture an exposed Kate with their long-lensed camera while she was sunbathing at a private residence with her husband Prince William in the South of France.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were simply enjoying their vacation as newlyweds. They certainly didn’t expect for the paparazzi to capture what was supposed to be a private and intimate moment between husband and wife. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took the magazine editors and photographers to court and managed to win thousands of pounds in damages. Needless to say, Kate hasn’t been photographed in that state since then.
9 Prince George And Princess Charlotte’s Public Meltdowns
It’s not easy being a royal toddler. Prince William and Kate Middleton’s children Prince George and Princess Charlotte are often expected to travel with their parents during their royal engagements and public appearances. Unfortunately, their parents’ plans usually interfere with George and Charlotte’s nap schedules, and that’s when all hell breaks loose.
Prince George had a rather epic meltdown during a royal outing at The Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford back in 2016. He did it again during a trip to Canada and once more during his aunt Pippa Middleton’s wedding earlier this year. Not one to be outdone, George’s sister Charlotte threw her own temper tantrum during the family’s state trip to Germany this past summer. She refused to board a plane with her parents and threw a fit in front of photographers while everyone was still on the tarmac.
8 Prince Charles And Camilla Parker-Bowles’ Secret Phone Conversations
When you have a phone conversation with another person, you don’t expect for it to be taped, let alone for the entire world to listen in on it. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles during one of their late night yet very explicit phone calls.
The things they said to each other need to be heard to be believed. They were truly shocking, and they were the splayed over every tabloid for a long time. Needless to say, the rest of the royal family, along with the entire world, echoed Camilla’s feelings towards Charles’ rather grotesque comments.
7 Kate Middleton’s Wedding Day Tiara
Kate Middleton might now be one of the most recognizable names in the world thanks to her princess status, but she wasn’t always the perfect, glamorous royal that she is today. One of her biggest gaffes was wearing a tiara on her wedding day to Prince William back in 2011.
One of the reasons why the Duchess of Cambridge is not supposed to wear a tiara is because it is bad etiquette. According to etiquette experts, wearing a tiara in public is a sign of status and shows that you are taken and not looking for a husband. Many have also speculated that one of the reasons why Kate doesn’t wear tiaras very often in public is because it was the royal accessory of choice for her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana.
6 The Royal Family In Hiding
After Princess Diana’s shocking death in 1997, many critics lashed out at the royal family for their bizarre behavior following the devastating news. Many couldn’t help but wonder why Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and the rest of the family would choose to stay in hiding at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, while the rest of the country was mourning the death of their beloved princess.
It took Queen Elizabeth several days to address the nation about Princess Diana’s death. She died in a tragic car crash inside a Paris tunnel with her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed. The royals later explained that they simply wanted to shield Diana’s two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, from the public eye. The excuse was not enough for the public, though. They harshly criticized the royals for hiding behind closed doors and refusing to mourn alongside Princess Diana’s millions of fans and admirers.
5 Is James Hewitt Really Prince Harry’s Father?
If there’s one question that royal critics keep asking themselves, it’s whether or not James Hewitt is Prince Harry’s real father. The only person, of course, who knows the real answer to this question is Princess Diana herself. For years, royal observers couldn’t help but wonder if Prince Harry was the product of Princess Diana and James Hewitt’s illicit affair. The two had a heated romance while the princess was still married to her husband, Prince Charles.
James Hewitt has denied that he is Prince Harry’s real father on numerous occasions, but that hasn’t stopped the media to question young Harry’s real paternity. After all, there is a striking resemblance between James and Princess Diana’s youngest son. Prince Harry, for his part, has never responded to any of the allegations and is yet to make a comment about the controversy.
4 Princess Anne’s Cheating Husband
It’s without a doubt that Princess Anne is the toughest member of the British royal family. Everyone remembers when she was almost kidnapped but successfully managed to get away without one scratch on her body. But she never realized that the one person she would have to run away from is her cheating husband, Lieutenant Mark Phillips.
At first, everything seemed to be working well for Anne and Mark. They got married in a royal wedding that was viewed by 100 million people from all over the world. Anne then gave birth to their two children, Peter and Zara. But everything came crashing down when it was discovered that Mark had a love child with a woman from New Zealand after an affair he had in 1985. The couple later divorced in 1992 after three years of marriage.
3 Princess Margaret Falling In Love With A Married Man
If there’s one thing that Queen Elizabeth doesn’t like, it’s seeing the royal family make headlines for embarrassing scandals. Yet she never suspected that her own sister would be causing her the most humiliation when Princess Margaret was caught in an affair with a married man.
She fell in love with Captain Peter Townsend, who happened to be a member of the British Royal Navy. Margaret ended up falling so head-over-heels in love with Peter that he ended up leaving his family and divorcing his wife for her. Ultimately, though, it wasn’t worth it. The royal family managed to pressure Margaret enough to call off the couple’s engagement and completely end their relationship. Peter Townsend might have been Princess Margaret’s biggest love of her life, but her family wasn’t having it.
2 Prince Philip’s Alleged Mistresses
There are very few things that are known about Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s marriage. That’s because the Queen isn’t one to kiss and tell, or admit to any problems in her relationship with her husband, for that matter. Yet, for years it was rumored that Prince Philip had a secret affair with a mistress that he first met at a cocktail party.
As a matter of fact, Netflix’s highly-acclaimed series The Crown is set to explore Prince Philip’s shenanigans during its second season. Many believe that Prince Philip allegedly had long-term relationships with several women, including British actress Pat Kirkwood, Sarah Ferguson’s mother Susan Barrantes, and even his cousin, Princess Alexandra. And then there were 1950s socialites Katie Boyle, Helene Cordet, Sacha Abercorn, and Penny Romsey, all who have been rumored to have gotten up close and personal with the prince. Queen Elizabeth has never commented on the speculation.
1 Sarah Ferguson, Her Toes And A Texan Millionaire
There’s a reason why Sarah Ferguson has been called the most feisty redhead that the royal family has ever seen. The Duchess of York’s toe scandal rocked the monarchy with the British tabloids published photos of a wealthy businessman doing bizarre things to Sarah’s toes. To make things worse, the Duchess was also photographed in very little clothing, too.
Sarah was actually with John Bryan, a financial manager from Texas. While the photos were published six months after Sarah and her then husband Prince Andrew announced their separation, Queen Elizabeth was said to be furious over the humiliating pictures. The royal family was at Balmoral Castle in Scotland when the news broke. It’s no wonder that Her Majesty often keeps Sarah Ferguson at bay during royal events.
Sources: thedailymail.co.uk, hellomagazine, thetelegraph.com, popsugar.com, peoplemagazine.com, eonline.com