The British royal family has carried its reign down for many generations, and when born into the royal family, taking on royal duties was never really a question. Just like the act of walking out of the palace and stepping down from your duties was just never really an option.
Fast forward to 2019 when Prince Harry and his new bride Meghan Markle, AKA the former Duke and Duchess of Sussex, announced that they would be “stepping back” from royal duties and would work to become financially independent.
But drama within the royal family isn’t just a recent occurrence as Princess Diana essentially lifted the floodgates on her unhappiness with the Royal family in a 1992 tell-all book.
These royal issues seem to be more prevalent now than ever before, but you’d be lying if you said you weren’t craving a sip of some piping hot British tea, so join us right now as we break down some of the biggest royal scandals in recent years, right here on Listed.
Between family feuds, leaked scandals, and questionable pasts, the drama within the royal family surely gives the Kardashians a run for their money. But although they might live in a castle, fly private jets and probably eat nothing but the finest caviar, they have their share of issues just like any ordinary family.
Perhaps the biggest scandal to happen within the royal family for years was Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to step down from their royal titles and leave the U.K altogether. It had been a long time coming, but in January of 2020, Harry and Meghan announced they would be “stepping back” from senior royal duties.
The couple officially announced the news via their official Royal Sussex Instagram account, saying, “After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year is starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen.”
They also revealed they would be balancing their time between the U.K and North America, reason being, “This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity.”
As many fans might recall, Meghan being inducted into the royal family was already controversial in and of itself as she is American-born, biracial, divorced and a former actress, who also happens to be a very independent and outspoken philanthropist and activist.
This announcement allegedly blindsided Queen Elizabeth II and other family members who didn’t see it coming, and naturally sent tabloids into a frenzy of accusations and false claims, dubbing the scandal as “Megxit.” After the Queen called for an emergency summit to discuss the future of Sussex, she released a statement giving Harry and Meghan her blessing.
She said, “My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family. Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working members of the Royal family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.”
Tabloids would continue to have a field day over the big announcement, however, Harry revealed during an interview that before he and Meghan were married, he tried to warn her about the British tabloids and the media scrutiny although they would both appear to be completely shocked by it to this day.
At one point, Harry even compared the treatment Meghan received as similar treatment his late mother, Princess Diana, received, which is how she ultimately died as her car was being chased by paparazzi back in 1997.
Speaking of the tabloids, just before Meghan and Harry were set to marry in November of 2018, her father Thomas Markle, caused a wave of controversy after it was revealed he had staged paparazzi photos of himself just days before the wedding and sold them to different news outlets.
Some photos showed him getting fitted for a suit and looking up images of Meghan and Harry on the internet. Thomas ironically suffered an unfortunate heart attack, and ended up staying home, however, even before his health issue, he and Meghan reportedly already decided that he would not attend. After first lying to Meghan about staging the photos, Thomas revealed he admitted to staging them, and since then, many believe he didn’t attend the wedding out of embarrassment.
While admitting to his faults on Good Morning Britain, Thomas was also criticized for spilling Harry’s stance on President Trump, as well as his thoughts on Brexit. Fans were infuriated to hear that Meghan’s dad had publicly outed her and her family, as users aired out their thoughts on social media.
One user wrote, “So, in short, watch what you say to him because he’ll sing like a bird to get himself on TV.” Another user commented, “Making use of his daughter to gain publicity.” Because of this controversy involving Meghan’s father, she then wrote him an emotional hand-written letter stating that his actions have broken her heart “into a million pieces.”
Meghan also wrote in the letter, “So the week of the wedding to hear about you having a heart attack through a tabloid was horrifying. I called and texted…I begged you to accept help — we sent someone to your home…and instead of speaking to me to accept this or any help, you stopped answering your phone and chose to only speak to tabloids.” This brings us to our next royal scandal. Thomas had reportedly leaked the letter to the press, to which it was then published by British outlet, The Mail.
Meghan has since filed a lawsuit against The Mail, alleging that the outlet had illegally published a private letter to her father, as well as infringement of copyright and breach of the Data Protection Act of 2008. Even worse, is when Kensington Palace was asked about the letter, they issued a “no comment,” but a source revealed to NBC News that the palace “won’t deny” that the letter is genuine.
However, Meghan is now facing claims that she “invaded her own privacy” after some of her friends spoke out about the letter during an interview with People long before Thomas leaked it on his own. In the article, Meghan’s friends, who wished to remain anonymous, revealed that her father claiming he can’t reach Meghan isn’t true, as one friend said, “He knows how to get in touch with her. He’s never called; he’s never texted. It’s super-painful.”
Since all this went down, Thomas has revealed that his relationship with Meghan and Harry is most likely “irreparably broken.” He added, “The last time they might see me is being lowered into the ground. I don’t think at this point; they’re thrilled to see me or want to talk to me.” Another relationship that may also be strained is Harry’s relationship with his older brother Prince William.
According to veteran royal reporter Katie Nicholl, Harry and William’s falling out went down around Christmas of 2018, when Harry told William he wasn’t doing enough to include Meghan in the royal family.
Katie’s source revealed, “Harry felt William wasn’t rolling out the red carpet for Meghan and told him so. They had a bit of a fall-out, which was only resolved when Charles stepped in and asked William to make an effort. That’s when the Cambridges invited the Sussexes to spend Christmas with them.” Sources reveal that William was simply concerned that the relationship had moved too quickly and that he had his reservations about Meghan.
In April of last year, Cosmopolitan reached out to Katie, who revealed, “I don’t know that things will ever be the way they were between William and Harry.” They also attended an Easter service together and reportedly didn’t speak, as People shared, “Harry was seen talking to his cousin Zara and exchanging pleasantries with Kate but did not say anything to his elder brother.”
Kate and William did attend Archie’s christening, however, it was October that Harry revealed that there was, in fact, a royal rift. During ITV’s documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, Harry revealed, “Part of this role and part of this job, and this family, being under the pressure that it’s under, inevitably, you know, stuff happens. But look, we’re brothers, we’ll always be brothers. And we’re certainly on different paths at the moment, but I’ll always be there for him, as I know he’ll always be there for me.”
Things got even worse when Harry and Meghan decided to leave the royal palace, which William was reportedly “blindsided” by the news. They tried to keep things calm by issuing a joint statement, saying, “For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is potentially harmful.”
Since then, the brothers have seemed to patch things up, and just like any brotherly relationship, Harry and William’s will never be perfect, but it appears they’re both juggling a lot right now. As for Kate and Meghan, many rumors have been circulating that upon entering into the royal family, Kate wasn’t all that welcoming to Meghan. Just on the heels of the release of Meghan and Harry’s tell-all book written by veteran royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand.
An excerpt was released revealing, “Though it was not necessarily her responsibility, Kate did little to bridge the divide.” Kate and Meghan allegedly “struggled to move past distant politeness” and had little in common. At one point it was reported that Meghan and Kate both left Kensington Palace one day to go shopping on the same street, and Kate straight up left Meghan to shop alone—instead of going a different direction in her Range Rover.
It was also reported that neither Meghan nor Kate were too happy about the media speculation about their relationship, and according to Vanity Fair, Kate attempted to give Meghan a peace offering with flowers, to which Meghan told Kate, “in no uncertain terms that flowers were not enough.”
Ummmm, ouch? Moving right along to one scandal that involves much more serious matters surrounding Prince Andrew and his alleged involvement in the child $ex trafficking ring, alongside friend and convicted $ex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Prince Andrew served as the UK’s trade envoy from 2001 to 2011, when he stepped down due to criticism over some of his personal relationships. Back in 2001, he had been accused of having $ex with then-17-year-old Virginia Roberts, who said that Jeffrey had forced him to do so.
Then things started getting really suspicious when he stepped down from his royal duties in November of 2019, just four days after he revealed during a BBC interview that he and Jeffrey were good friends. A request has since been made to speak with Prince Andrew as part of federal prosecutors’ investigation into Jeffrey Epstein’s history of sexual abuse, but since stepping down from his royal duties, Andrew has previously stated at the time that he would be willing to help “any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations if required.”
His legal team seems to have a different stance on offering support as they alleged that he has offered his help as a witness at least three times last year, however as they continue to badger Andrew, his lawyers stated that “In doing so, they are perhaps seeking publicity rather than accepting the assistance proffered.”
We can only hope that the women involved in this tragic case are able to get some closure as it is still ongoing. And finally, the forthcoming tell-all book “Finding Freedom” that is set to drop in August, will reportedly detail Meghan and Harry’s lavish spending spree, which was another cause of the rift between the royals. Harry and Meghan were criticized for their use of private jets, which were used during four different trips in 11 days last year, which fans are calling hypocritical as they are major advocates on environmental issues.
On top of that, they were accused of spending upward of $7,000 in acupuncture treatments before their wedding, as well as a ‘babymoon’ that cost around $37,000. And while we’re on the topic of money, Harry was just accused of spending $350,000 after mismanaging funds from Harry and William’s co-owned Royal Foundation charity.
Anti-monarchy group Republic wrote a letter claiming that the money that was given to their new charities after parting ways with the Royal Foundation was a “clear conflict of interest.” Harry’s team got word of the accusations and released a statement fully denying that he pockets any of the money for his own personal gain. He has always been known to be very charitable, so this is likely, not true, but apparently those British tabloids sure don’t favor anyone, no matter who you are.
For more such content, keep watching this space.