October has been a big month for the British royals, with Princess Eugenie’s marriage to Jack Brooksbank, Duchess Kate’s sister Pippa giving birth to her first child, and, of course, the announcement that Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, is expecting a baby.
But at the same time, The Royals S1-3 is streaming on Showmax, and its instant popularity on the service proves that there is nothing viewers love more than a royal scandal. It follows the lives of the fictional British royal family, helmed by Queen Helena (Elizabeth Hurley) and King Simon, whose every move is scrutinised by an insatiable paparazzi and whose children refuse to fall in line.
In the spirit of gossip and intrigue, let’s reminisce about some of the real-life royal romantic controversies that shocked and thrilled us in recent years. Aside from the more high-profile scandals, such as the Charles and Camilla debacle and Prince Rainier’s courting of the Hollywood princess Grace Kelly, there are a few royal exes who did not make it to the crown but who made headlines for their involvement in the British and Monaco royal families.
1. Cressida Bonas: Prince Harry
Daughter of popular 60s model Lady Mary-Gaye, the actress and model first met Prince Harry through Princess Eugenie, her close friend. Cressida and Harry dated from 2013 to 2014, amid plenty of speculation that they were due to get engaged. When they broke up, tabloids reported that the reason was that Cressida was not ready for royal life. She was, however, present at Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle in May 2018 – so maybe it’s all water under the bridge?
Prince Albert of Monaco made his way around the supermodel scene before he settled down with Zimbabwean-South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock in 2011. Among his numerous romances were the self-proclaimed “first” supermodel Janice Dickinson; Naomi Campbell, who was invited to his and Charlene’s wedding; and Claudia Schiffer, who was rumoured to have rejected his engagement proposal.
Staying in Monaco, another famous ex of a royal is 80s brat packer and Parks and Recreation actor Rob Lowe, who had a fling with Princess Stephanie of Monaco, sister of Prince Albert. Detailed in his autobiography Stories I Only Tell My Friends, Lowe said he moved into Stephanie’s Paris apartment one day after they met in 1986, and that was the start of their whirlwind romance.
4. Sarah Ferguson: Prince Andrew
Prince Andrew introduced the world to Sarah Ferguson in 1986, and they were married soon after. They went on to have two daughters together – Princess Beatrice in 1988 and Princess Eugenie in 1990 – but the pair were separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996. Since their divorce, Sarah Ferguson (who is more affectionately known as Fergie) has become a noted spokesperson and author, and currently lives with her ex-husband Andrew in their Windsor home. She maintains that the two of them are still “best of friends”.
5. Chelsy Davy: Prince Harry
And no list of royal exes is complete without the addition of Prince Harry’s African ex, Chelsy Davy. The Zimbabwean lawyer who attended the University of Cape Town was Harry’s on-and-off girlfriend between 2004 and 2011, in his so-called “bad boy” years. Davy later admitted that she realised the royal life wasn’t for her because of the publicity that came with it. Chelsy Davy went on earn her gemology diploma and launched AYA, the ethical jewellery line. She also attended Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle in May 2018.
For more scandalous royal antics, stream The Royals, now available on Showmax.
Get a free 14-day trial if you are a first-time user when you sign up for Showmax, and if you’re a DStv Premium subscriber, get Showmax at no extra cost. DStv Compact and Compact Plus subscribers get Showmax for R49. Sign up now »This post is sponsored by Showmax and produced by Brandstudio24 for Channel24.