5 other British royal scandals that shook the world

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Queen Elizabeth (Photo: Getty/Gallo Images)
Queen Elizabeth (Photo: Getty/Gallo Images)

Cape Town – Prince Andrew has released an official statement saying, with the queen's permission, he's decided to step down from royal duties for the time being.

The decision comes after the Duke of York's explosive BBC News Night interview in which he discussed claims made by Virginia Roberts that when she was seventeen, she was acquired by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and forced to have sex with Prince Andrew on three occasions. His Royal Highness vehemently denied all allegations levied at him.

On Wednesday, Prince Andrew acknowledged that his association with Epstein has "become a major disruption" for the royal family and therefore decided to "step back from public duties".

READ MORE: Prince Andrew releases statement and says he will 'step back from public duties' amid ongoing sexual misconduct scandal

But this isn't the first time one of the royals has officially withdrawn from their duties. There have been other major scandals that completely shook the royal family. Below we look back at some of the messiest of disasters, and the aftermath of it all as it played out for all the world to see.


Though Princess Margaret married Anthony Armstrong-Jones with whom she had two children, her first love – and the love she lost – was Captain Peter Townsend. Captain Townsend, however, was a divorcee and at the time, and members of the royal family were not allowed to marry divorcees in the Church of England.

Though Princess Margaret initially planned to relinquish her place in the line of succession as a result, she ultimately decided to end her relationship. In a statement, she said, "Mindful of the Church's teachings that Christian marriage is indissoluble, and conscious of my duty to the Commonwealth, I have resolved to put these considerations before others."

According to HELLO! Magazine, Townsend later released a memoir and wrote of the love affair, "I simply hadn't the weight, I knew it, to counterbalance all she would have lost."

Of course, the same happened in 1936. But according to Reader's Digest, King Edward VIII not only stepped back from royal duties but also officially stepped down as king to marry divorcee, Wallis Simpson.


In 1992 after a string of scandals shook the royal household, Her Royal Highness deemed that year her "annus horribilis" – Latin for "horrible year" – in her speech at Guildhall to mark the 40th anniversary of her Accession. That year, she had to deal with the aftermath of Prince Andrew's separation from Sarah Ferguson, Princess Anne's divorce, a devastating fire at Windsor Castle and Princess Diana's separation from Prince Charles before the publication of Andrew Morton's explosive book, which revealed secrets about their marriage.

"1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an 'Annus Horribilis'," she said.

For the record, after the Duke of Edinburgh's car crash, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's battle with the press and now, Prince Andrew's "disastrous" interview, critics have called 2019 the queen's new annus horribilis.

But now, more context on the above...


This isn't the first Prince Andrew scandal to shake the royals.

After a whirlwind romance, Andrew and Sarah married in the eighties and had two daughters together before deciding to separate in 1992 and officially divorce in 1996. But while the two are on good terms now – the Duchess of York even standing by Prince Andrew's side throughout his current ongoing struggle – there was a time the two were on not-so-amicable terms.

After they announced their split the royals were hit with many more scandals, most of which 'Fergie' took the brunt for. In one scandal, the British tabloid press published photos of Fergie vacationing with her new lover, John Bryan, who was photographed sucking on the Duchess of York's toes. In another, she was seen topless.

Other stories focused on footage that alleged the duchess agreed to set up a meeting between a journalist and Prince Andrew, and accepting a bribe for it too, reports The Guardian. "I can open any door you want," she apparently told him.

In 2016 the duchess launched a lawsuit against News Group Newspapers though, saying her privacy was invaded and the journalist "used deceit" to get her to make "unguarded statements to her detriment".


Prince Charles and Princess Diana married in 1981, and though they were in love, Prince Charles had a started his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles in the 70s.

Many think the prince never got over his first love and later rekindled his love affair with the Duchess of Cornwall while he was married to Princess Diana.

In 1992, Charles and Diana decided to separate for many reasons, but of course, the prince's infidelity had a lot to do with it. It was in 1993 when private conversations between Charles and Camilla was leaked though, and the world really got wind of the long-rumoured affair, reports Harper's BAZAAR.

At first, Prince Charles called Camilla "a great friend" but in her tell-all Panorama interview with BBC in 1995, Princess Diana said, "There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded."


Princess Diana's death in 1997 further shook the royal family; according to Reader's Digest, it almost ended the monarchy.

Because Diana was admired and loved worldwide – she was "the people's princess" after all – following their disdain for the prince after the revelation of his affair, the public was upset about the royal family's deafening-silence to the tragedy.

"Show Us You Care," read one headline, another said, "Your People Are Suffering. Speak to Us Ma'am".

After that, support for the royals hit an all-time low.

There were many documentaries which followed Diana's death but one that showed the true extent of the people when they lost their princess. It was fitting called Diana: The Day the World Cried.   

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