As a royal married to the future King of England, Princess Diana had access to everything one could only wish for, including the finest jewels anyone had ever seen to the most luxurious accommodations behind closed doors at Buckingham Palace. But one thing that no amount of money could buy is the comfort of knowing that someone loves and trusts you as much as you do them. That might be the reason why there was so much speculation about alleged affairs in Prince Charles and Princess Diana's marriage, as they both at times looked happier separated than together.
In fact, Lady Di confirmed that she felt so lonely in her marriage that she did find herself in the arms of her horseback riding instructor, James Hewitt. During her interview with BBC Panorama in 1995, Princess Diana shocked the world when she admitted that their relationship was more than just an illicit affair. "Yes, I adored him. Yes, I was very much in love with him," she said (via the BBC). She added, "But I was very let down."
Of course, a lot of people can't help but wonder why Hewitt decided to pull the plug on their secret relationship. And no, it's not because he was worried about cuckolding a man who would one day become the King of England. Read on below to find out why.
Princess Diana's most illicit affair was 'demanding'
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Princess Diana and James Hewitt reportedly began their affair in 1986 when he was asked to give the Princess of Wales horseback riding lessons. According to Anna Pasternak's 1994 book "Princess in Love," -- which, per the Independent, was written based on alleged steamy love notes sent from Diana to Hewitt — their tryst lasted five years and until 1991. Which was also a very turbulent period in Diana's marriage to Prince Charles.
According to Diana's former bodyguard Ken Wharfe's memoir, "Diana: Closely Guarded Secret," one of the reasons why Hewitt decided to end things with the Princess of Wales is simply because he couldn't keep up with her. Even though he was very enthusiastic about their relationship in the beginning, their secretive romances were beginning to become too much stress for him. In other words, their romance was getting too hot for Hewitt to handle and that's why he decided to end things.
"Ken, I need some time off," Hewitt reportedly begged to the bodyguard, according to Wharfe's memoir (via The Daily Mail). "The Princess can be so demanding."
Lady Di was left heartbroken by yet another man who couldn't commit to her
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Just how demanding Princess Diana was is something we might never know, nor the officer for that matter. James Hewitt got his wish when he was promoted to Major in the British Army and took a two-year posting position in Germany. His decision reportedly left Diana absolutely heartbroken, but little did she know at the time that Hewitt would later attempt to betray her. In 2003, Hewitt reportedly tried to sell his earlier mentioned personal letters from Diana to "the highest bidder," per the Daily Mail.
He was reportedly ready to sell his collection, including two notes from a young Prince William, for $13 million. If that weren't enough, he was also reportedly the source of royal author Anna Pasternak's book, "Princess in Love" in 1994.
Being in love with a princess definitely took a toll on Hewitt's mental health as he even admitted to considering suicide after their affair had ended. Hewitt recalled (via The Telegraph), "I got in my car and loaded a few things up to get on the ferry to go to France –– to shoot myself ... And then my mother insisted on coming with me. ... So I owe her my life really." Princess Diana, of course, died in a car crash a few years later after their affair ended in 1997, owing her life to no one.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
Princess Diana's legacy is shaped by the way she weathered the many betrayals she faced, including Prince Charles' affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. However, multiple betrayals of the princess came as the result of a lesser-known affair: her own, with Major James Hewitt.
According to Anna Pasternak's 1994 book Princess in Love, Hewitt's affair with the princess began in 1986 and ended in 1991, per OprahMag.com. The pair reportedly met at a cocktail party, and shortly thereafter, the princess enlisted Hewitt to teach her how to ride a horse. "Only one thing went wrong," Hewitt wrote in his 1999 memoir, Love and War. "We fell in love." The affair ended shortly after Hewitt was posted to Germany to serve in the Gulf War.
When Princess in Love — which detailed Princess Diana's alleged affair with Hewitt — was published, the public perception was lukewarm; it was seen as a royal romance novel at best, and baseless tabloid fluff at worst. However, Hewitt himself served as a source for the book, and even gave Pasternak 64 letters the princess had written to him while he was serving in the war, according to Pasternak's 2020 essay in Tatler. Though Pasternak has since claimed Princess Diana knew about and even encouraged the book's publication, Hewitt's testimony to Pasternak was not the last time he aimed to exploit his affair with the princess.
James Hewitt tried to cash in on his affair with Princess Diana
Princess Diana discussed Anna Pasternak's Princess in Love and Major James Hewitt's role in it in her infamous 1995 Panorama interview. "There was a lot of fantasy in the book," she said, "and it was very distressing for me that a friend of mine, who I had trusted, made money out of me." Despite the princess' distress, Hewitt went on to publish his own tell-all memoir, Love and War, in 1999, which further detailed their five-year affair.
In 2003, Hewitt announced that he was prepared to sell the letters he exchanged with the princess for the right price. "I was interested when someone offered me a large sum of money," he told Larry King of CNN. "I think it's important to understand that they are or will become important historical documents." By 2015, Hewitt was still attempting to sell his private correspondence with the princess to the "highest bidder," per the Daily Mail. He was reportedly prepared to sell the entire collection, including two notes from a six-year-old Prince William, for the equivalent of approximately $13 million. Ultimately, Hewitt got "cold feet" and dropped the sale.
The affair and its aftermath are perhaps best summed up in Princess Diana's own words. "Yes, I adored him. Yes, I was in love with him. But I was very let down."
The Real Reason Prince Charles Was Jealous Of Princess Diana
Since Netflix released Season 4 of The Crown, many fans have begun to dive deeper into Princess Diana and Prince Charles tumultuous relationship. The streaming service's original drama series follows Queen Elizabeth II's reign from the 1940s to modern times. Thus, the fictionalized show explores an array of rumored royal secrets and scandals. Season 4, in particular, piled on the drama since it primarily revolves around Princess Diana, Prince Charles, and his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, the now-Duchess of Cornwall. While Prince Charles' relationship with Camilla caused his marriage to crumble, it appears that there were other factors involved, including his jealousy toward Princess Di.
So why was Prince Charles so jealous of his then-wife? In the 2017 documentary Diana: In Her Own Words, fans of The Crown can get an inside look at Princess Diana's personal life and her thoughts about Prince Charles. The documentary shares archival footage where Diana not only opens up about her struggles with Charles, but also her issues when adapting to life inside the royal family. In one segment of the documentary, The People's Princess gets rather candid about her former husband's jealousy. As it turns out, Charles does not like sharing the spotlight. Keep reading to hear what Diana had to say about the matter.
Prince Charles didn't like that Princess Diana stole his thunder
While Prince Charles was born to be in the spotlight, the future king grew jealous after he married Princess Diana because she consumed the public's interest.
In a personal recording from Diana: In Her Own Words, Princess Diana reveals,"Everybody always said, when we were in the car, 'Oh we're on the wrong side. We want to see her, we don't want to see him.' And that's all we could hear as we went down these crowds. And, obviously, he wasn't used to that. Nor was I. He took it out on me. He was jealous." She continued, "I understood the jealously, but I couldn't explain that I didn't ask for it. I kept saying, 'Whoever you married would have been of interest for the clothes, and how she handles this, that, and the other. And you've built the building block for your wife to stand on to make her own building block.' He didn't see that at all. I learned to be a royal in one week. I was thrown into the deep end, which, now, I prefer it that way."
Diana further highlighted an instance of increased tension after William and Harry were born. "By then there was immense jealousy 'cause every single day I was on the front of the newspapers." After Harry was born, she claimed that their marriage officially "went down the drain." Perhaps it was because Prince Charles just could not accept that Diana was indeed the People's Princess, as he obviously wished the spotlight would stay on him.
Netflix's The Crown has finally caught up to the more recent chapters of the royal family's life in Season 4, and, according to sources, the palace is not happy with the portrayal of their family dramas. Up until 2020, at least, no one from the royal family has ever commented on the series, though it was reported that Princess Eugenie told star Vanessa Kirby that her "granny" was a "big fan of the show," according to Marie Claire. At the very least, they're all watching now.
Per Forbes, Season 4 covers all of the drama throughout the '90s, including Prince Charles' marriage to Princess Diana, his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, Diana's reported eating disorder, and political events like "the ousting" of Margaret Thatcher in 1990.
It's some of these portrayals that have bugged some members of the royal family and they're finally speaking out about it in the name of protecting their mother's image, if nothing else.
The royals think The Crown is 'callous'
Per The Daily Mail, a source close to the royal family said that the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, is "none too pleased with it." The source reportedly added, "He feels that both his parents are being exploited and being presented in a false, simplistic way to make money. In this case, it's dragging up things that happened during very difficult times 25 or 30 years ago without a thought for anyone's feelings. That isn't right or fair, particularly when so many of the things being depicted don't represent the truth."
Another source said, per the Daily Mail, "But it is the depiction of a callous and self-serving Charles meeting and marrying an innocent Diana while maintaining his affair with the then-married Camilla Parker-Bowles which has sparked such anger." Another added, "There is no sense of telling carefully nuanced stories — it's all very two-dimensional. This is trolling with a Hollywood budget. The public shouldn't be fooled into thinking this is an accurate portrayal of what really happened."
Of course, no television show can be perfectly accurate when it comes to the history of the royal family, given that the public can ever only know so much. But that doesn't mean it's not entertaining.
The late Princess Diana's former butler Paul Burrell has been described as the royal's "closest confidante" and her "keeper of secrets," two descriptors that don't quite take into account the blabby butler's willingness to share her confidences at the drop of a black-and-white boater hat. (Despite the fact that she evidently took the secret of Burrell's homosexuality to her grave.)
Burrell first became Queen Elizabeth II's footman at the age of 18, moving to Highgrove in 1987 to tend to Prince Charles and Princess Diana (via The Telegraph). He subsequently joined Princess Diana in Kensington Palace after the royal marriage dissolved. Over the years, they reportedly developed quite a close relationship — to the point that Princess Diana would refer to Burrell as "her rock." But ever since her untimely death in a 1997 car accident, he's done a brisk business of serving up royal secrets. In 2002, he allegedly sold his "story" to British tabloid the Daily Mirror for somewhere between £250,000 and £500,000. He's also written two dishy memoirs (A Royal Duty and The Way We Were: Remembering Diana), performed a one-man show spilling even more secrets, and divulged yet more gossip during an appearance on the reality show I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!
From alleged sexual liaisons to rumored late-night rendezvous with street prostitutes, these are the royally scandalous secrets shared by this particularly mouthy manservant.
She allegedly sought out prostitutes
Did Princess Diana have a soft spot for sex workers?
In November 2002, Paul Burrell was acquitted on charges that he swiped hundreds of Princess Diana's belongings. The list of improbable items included a pepper grinder, an "Indiana Jones whip," several photos (one signed "Diana"), a Prada Milano bag, and a Baywatch trading card autographed by David Hasselhoff to Prince William (via ABC News).
Following his acquittal, a voluminous, highly sensitive "statement of proof" from Burrell was leaked to the News of the World, as reported by The Telegraph. In an article inelegantly headlined "Di's Whore-Able Secret," the New York Post picked up one of its most scandalous claims: Burrell allegedly would escort Princess Diana to Paddington Station so she could hang out with prostitutes. In her book The Fortune Hunters, author Charlotte Hays claimed the ladies would politely chit-chat with Princess Diana outside her BMW: "Hi, Princess Di. How are you?" She would allegedly respond with something like, "I'm fine. Have you been busy?" According to Burrell, she even took out "two crisp fifty-pound notes" on occasion, saying, "Look, girls, have the night off on me. Go home to your children."
Princess Diana allegedly tried placating Burrell on those wild nights, saying, "Oh, Paul, lighten up. Those girls need help."
Princess Diana allegedly thought Prince Charles wanted her dead
A few hours before royal coroner Michael Burgess opened a formal inquest into the deaths of both Princess Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Al Fayed in January 2004, British tabloid the Daily Mirror published an explosive front-page story that alleged that Diana had suspected her ex-husband, Prince Charles, had wanted to kill her (via People).
As detailed in his memoir A Royal Duty, Paul Burrell claimed Princess Diana penned the troubling letter in October 1996, ten months before she was killed in a fatal car accident in Paris, France. The letter reportedly read, "My husband is planning 'an accident' in my car, brake failure and serious head injury ... to make the path clear for him to marry." The BBC was quick to point out that there was absolutely no evidence whatsoever to back up those claims (via People).
Princess Diana was reportedly on the brink of a breakdown when she wrote the letter, still suffering the emotional fallout from her divorce to Prince Charles, according to The Evening Standard. Acquaintances of Prince Charles put no stock in the report at all. "It is risible and deeply hurtful," said one friend. "I am sure nobody really believes this preposterous claim."
The Daily Star reported Burrell subsequently shared the physical letter during a 2017 interview on Australia's Sunday Night, saying, "This particular letter is rather poignant because it is rather spooky thinking that she saw and prophesied her own death."
Burrell would reportedly help Princess Diana induce vomiting
In the 2017 documentary Diana: In Her Own Words, interview footage shot in 1992 and 1993 featured Princess Diana opening up about her fraught relationship with Prince Charles and revealing that she'd met him only 13 times before they were married (via The Independent). Shortly after learning of her husband's affair with Camilla Parker Bowles (now the Duchess of Cornwall), Princess Diana said she developed bulimia. "Everyone in the family knew about the bulimia," she said, "and everyone blamed the bulimia for the failure of the marriage." She felt like the eating disorder was a far more "discreet" way of hurting herself, unlike alcohol abuse.
In August 2017, mere days before the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana's death, Paul Burrell appeared on the British show In Therapy, a sort of "celebrity counseling show," according to the Mirror. During his appearance, Burrell claimed he was just "doing his duty" by enabling Princess Diana's bulimia. "I'd get the chef to prepare a gallon of custard," he told Mandy Saligari, the program's psychologist. "And I'd buy yoghurt and lots of bananas and prepare the room to make sure she was comfortable."
Acknowledging that he was setting the scene so Princess Diana could make herself sick, Burrell confessed, "I'd make sure there was a pile of towels. I was doing my duty. I'd have done anything for Diana."
She'd reportedly buy pregnancy tests for a giggle
Shyness doesn't preclude mischievousness; in fact, the traits sometimes go hand in hand. According to the Daily Mail, Princess Diana possessed a mercurial sense of humor that rather belied her "Shy Di" persona. (The Independent somewhat awkwardly hailed her a "shy rebel princess with a cause.") In the ITV documentary Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, claimed Princess Diana sent them "the rudest cards" on the regular. Meanwhile, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, revealed his late mother's motto: "You can be as naughty as you want, just don't get caught."
Unless, of course, you want to get caught. In a leaked 39-page police statement, former royal butler Paul Burrell claimed one of Princess Diana's all-time favorite pranks was breezing into her local pharmacy and blithely purchasing home pregnancy tests.
"She would take great delight going to the counter in Boots," Burrell said, "[and] picking up Predictor pregnancy kits or contraceptives" (via Daily Mail). At the time she was indulging in this performance art, the British tabloids were often aswirl with speculation that Diana was expecting her third child, with the Daily Express hungrily wondering in 1985 (via The Sun-Sentinel), "Is Princess Diana pregnant?"
Princess Diana was reportedly in a 'secret' second car crash
On Aug. 31, 1997, Diana died in a tragic car accident when her Mercedes S280 limousine crashed in France's Pont de l'Alma tunnel. According to Burrell, she was also involved in another accident several years prior. He told his story in a February 2018 episode of Australia's I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, during a "psychic reading" by "celebrity medium" John Edward (via the Mirror).
The tale was prompted by what sounds like a "cold reading" on Edward's part, who told Burrell, "You had a friend who passed in a vehicle accident." Burrell took the ballsy bait, replying, "Were there two car accidents?" Edward responded, "I'm feeling like there were two car accidents — almost like one was foreshadowing and one was tragic."
A seemingly rattled Burrell exclaimed, "Yes! You couldn't possibly know that." Later in the episode, Burrell opened up about this alleged secret accident to Real Housewives of Melbourne star Jackie Gillies, who naively proclaimed Edward was "speaking to [Diana's] spirit." Burrell told her the late princess was "frightened that night," adding, "She crashed her car. ... She was in the middle of nowhere."
When Princess Diana allegedly asked Burrell what to do in the aftermath of the accident, he told her to lock herself "in the ladies loo in the nearest hotel and I'll come and get you." Burrell claimed he retrieved Princess Diana from that restroom and then made arrangements to have her car towed.
She allegedly blamed herself for her mother's absence
In February 2018, former royal butler Paul Burrell revealed yet another of Princess Diana's purported secrets. While it's well known that she had a highly strained relationship with her mother, Frances Shand Kydd, Burrell claimed that strain was at the root of some of Diana's emotional problems. "[She] always thought it was her fault that mummy had left home," he revealed on an episode of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! (via Daily Mail). Burrell also claimed Shand Kydd "wasn't a very kind person. Not very motherly."
Burrell asserted that Shand Kydd's treatment of Princess Diana informed her eating disorder, saying that she "blamed herself" for her mother's perpetual absence. "That's where her anorexia started," he said. "She suffered with it all her life. She punished herself."
According to the Express, several viewers were displeased by Burrell's statements, taking to social media to share their ire. "Good lord! He does like to come out with Diana related stuff every now and again to seem relevant," wrote one. A fellow tweeter fumed, "Paul Burrell on his 100th reality show since Princess Di died."
She allegedly snuck several paramours into Kensington Palace
Following her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996, Princess Diana reportedly took more than a few lovers — and she also went to Herculean lengths to keep these late-night trysts secret. According to former royal butler Paul Burrell, he'd have to find ways to "smuggle" Diana's paramours into Kensington Palace, performing bold feats of romantic espionage that included hiding the men in the trunk of his car.
According to Burrell's notorious, oddly well-spoken 39-page police statement, it sounds like the process teetered towards bedroom-farce territory. In order "to facilitate the arrangements in relation to the Princess's male friends," Burrell reportedly told officers guarding the gate that he was "going on an errand" and didn't want to be stopped upon his return (via Daily Mail). "I would then flash my lights and they would open the barrier and let me in," he claimed.
Upon returning to Kensington Palace with the secret lover in tow, Burrell said he wouldn't make a formal announcement that he was with somebody, so police wouldn't have a record. Princess Diana's former lover Dr. Hasnat Khan reportedly stayed with her overnight on several occasions, and it was up to Burrell to sneak him out the following morning. He said Khan "would be left to sleep [in the palace] until later in the morning, at which point I would give him something to eat and then take him home." A royally romantic racket.
Burrell claimed Dr. Khan was her soulmate
All this alleged sneakiness — the late-night prostitute visits, the lovers hidden in trunks — evidently turned Princess Diana into a master at evading press. Following her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996, she concealed her relationship with heart surgeon Dr. Hasnat Khan (pictured, left) for 18 months, according to Tina Brown's book, The Diana Chronicles (via Vanity Fair). Meanwhile, her mouthy former butler Paul Burrell claimed Dr. Khan was the love of her life. "The Princess loved many of her male friends," he said in a leaked statement to police, "but she was in love with Hasnat Khan" (via the Daily Mail).
In fact, Burrell claimed Diana asked a Roman Catholic priest if there was any way she could marry Dr. Khan privately. Burrell allegedly had to personally deliver the news to Diana "that this was not possible." He recalled an evening when Princess Diana was celebrating her birthday "wearing sapphire and diamond earrings and look[ing] absolutely stunning." He claimed she later ran upstairs, removed all her clothes, and stepped out to meet Dr. Khan wearing only a fur coat.
But Burrell said their relationship faced an insurmountable "stumbling block." Dr. Khan allegedly "could not stand the pressure placed on him by the press in the outside world and he found that he had no protection." As Tina Brown put it, he "couldn't face the onslaught of becoming Di's New Guy in every tabloid newspaper." Their relationship ultimately dissolved in the summer of 1997.
Her alleged last words to her trusted confidant
During a March 2018 episode of Australia's I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, butler Paul Burrell abruptly burst into tears as he opened up about Princess Diana's death.
"I do have a dream of me sitting alone with the Princess crossed legged on the floor and she is wearing a blue dress," he confessed (via the Express). "It's the last dress I saw her in." Burrell admitted he initially thought Diana was merely "playing a trick" and wasn't really dead at all. He allegedly even "sat with her" after she died, trying to make sense of the scenario: "I held her hand and I said to her, 'Wake up, wake up, you're not really dead, are you?"
Those revelations came on the heels of a February 2018 episode that found Burrell sharing Diana's alleged final words to him: "The last things she said to me were on the phone," he revealed (via Yahoo!). "She was in Paris and the very last words were, 'Promise me you will always be there.'" He reportedly replied, "I promise I will always be there."
Following her death, Burrell came to an epiphany: It was his duty to take care of everything that Diana had left behind. "She couldn't do that and she left me to do that," he said, "so I had to take care of her world and the people in it."
Evidently, this provision doesn't include keeping her secrets.
What These Royals Want You To Forget About Their Past
The royal family — they're arguably the most respected and followed family in the world. They're also one of the most scandalous.
Over the years, Britain's royal family has endured more than enough scandals to fill an entire season's worth of Jerry Springer. From lurid affairs to naked romps in hotel rooms, here are the many scandals the royal family probably wishes it could erase from the record books.
Prince Harry used to be a party boy
Today, he is known for his many admirable causes and his marriage to actress Meghan Markle. But as recently as 2012, Prince Harry had a reputation for being the ultimate royal family wild child. In August of that year, Harry created a major headache for Buckingham Palace when TMZ obtained photos of the young Prince stripped down to his birthday suit while partying it up in Las Vegas.
The admittedly embarrassing photos further painted Harry in the press as a reckless party boy, the same absent-minded Royal who once wore a Swastika to a party in 2005. He'd go on to apologize for his Vegas romp, as he did for the Nazi costume, admitting that he had let both himself and his family down through his actions. And yet, it would be many years before the public and certainly the press saw him as anything more than what they saw in that infamous Las Vegas hotel suite.
By comparison to his younger brother, Prince William's scandals have been rather tame, if boring. But that doesn't mean they've been any less embarrassing. In March 2017, for example, William surely turned 50 shades of red after TMZ published multiple videos of the Prince dancing in a Switzerland nightclub like an awkward uncle who had one too many cocktails at his niece's wedding. (Yep, he even raised the roof.)
The nightclub mishap was just one of many scandals to come out of a ski trip William had taken with his friends; at one point, The Sun also obtained photos of William and pals hanging out with a 24-year-old Australian model. As such, it was less than surprising when Vanity Fair published a report alleging that wife Kate Middleton was "less than pleased" with her husband's weekend getaway.
Another moment Kate Middleton was less than pleased about: a vacation to Provence, France in 2012, during which the paparazzi secretly took photos of the new Duchess sunbathing topless. The photos were later published in the French magazine Closer, while other bikini shots made their way into the French newspaper La Provence, sparking outcry from St. James' Palace, which compared the incident to the "worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales."
According to People, a formal investigation was launched by French authorities in 2013; by 2017, six men associated with the scandal went to trial. At the time of the trial, a prepared statement by Prince William was read to the court, saying, "My wife and I thought that we could go to France for a few days in a secluded villa owned by a member of my family, and thus enjoy our privacy. We know France and the French, and we know that they are, in principle, respectful of private life, including that of their guests. The clandestine way in which these photographs were taken was particularly shocking to us as it breached our privacy."
Charles' unfortunate leaked phone call to his mistress
Much has been and continues to be written about the downfall of the marriage of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana. But few moments remain as infamous as a phone call Prince Charles made to his then-mistress, Camilla Parker Bowles, in December 1989, during which they jokingly fantasized about Charles being reincarnated as one of Bowles' tampons. "My luck to be chucked down a lavatory and go on and on forever swirling round on the top, never going down ... Until the next one comes through," Charles says at one point in the secretly recorded conversation (via the Mirror) that was later leaked to the press in 1993. "Oh, perhaps you could just come back as a box ...," Bowles replies. "A box of Tampax, so you could just keep going ... Repeating yourself ... (laughing). Oh, darling, oh I just want you now."
Charles and Diana, who was also the subject of leaked phone conversations in 1992, were granted a divorce in 1996, only a year before Diana died tragically in Paris, France. Remarkably, Charles and Bowles survived the scandal and went on to marry in 2005. They remain together to this day.
Fergie's questionable relationships with other men
Sarah Ferguson's marriage to Prince Andrew (we'll get to him in a bit) was filled with tabloid fodder, especially in the many months leading up to and after their separation in 1992. Among Ferguson's biggest scandals involved her friendship with an oil tycoon from Texas, Steve Wyatt, with whom she vacationed in Morocco and the South of France, much to the dismay of the Queen. According to The New York Times, a handful of photos from their vacation eventually leaked to the British press in 1992, which sent Andrew (who, mind you, was away on royal duties at the time) into a "jealous rage" that catalyzed their separation.
But before the dust could even settle on that scandal, another one broke in August that year when The Daily Mirror published scandalous photos of Ferguson on a vacation in Saint-Tropez with her financial advisor, John Bryan, and two daughters. Among the published photos included a shot of Bryan kissing her toes and another in which a topless Ferguson is seen covering her breasts, according to People.
Remarkably, Andrew and Ferguson did not divorce until 1996. And yet, Ferguson would remain a fixture in the tabloids for years to come.
Fergie's bribery drama
In recent years, Ferguson's headline-making acts have included everything from reports of financial woes to a whole lot of drama involving the country of Turkey. But arguably her biggest scandal of the last decade came in May 2010 when she got caught on videotape bribing an undercover reporter for News of the World with access to her ex-husband in exchange for nearly $750,000.
Naturally, the press had a field day with the videotape, prompting Ferguson to sit down for an interview with Oprah Winfrey about a month later. "There aren't really many words to describe an act of such grave stupidity," Ferguson admitted (via ABC News), adding that she had been "in the gutter" from drinking.
Pretty much anything involving Prince Andrew
Even without the Fergie drama, the life of Prince Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II, has been filled with a seemingly never-ending list of scandals. According to the Telegraph, his seemingly endless romances and lavish lifestyle on taxpayers' pounds have earned him nicknames like "Randy Andy" and "Air-Miles Andy," the latter of which continues to pop up in the press to this day. Even more troubling are his questionable ties to foreign countries and controversial dictators. Heck, at one point, even rocker Courtney Love alleged that the Prince once showed up to her house "looking to party," while publications like Vanity Fair and The Washington Post have published articles titled "The Trouble With Andrew" and "The Many Scandals of Prince Andrew," respectively.
But one of his most damaging scandals involved his years-long friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire financier and registered sex offender who was once sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2008 for soliciting prostitution. Andrew was famously photographed walking in Central Park with Epstein shortly after Epstein's release from prison. Even crazier, he was linked to a 17-year-old girl who claimed to have been Epstein's sex slave, a scandal that forced Andrew to resign as Britain's "special representative" for Trade and Investment. He was later accused of sexually abusing the 17-year-old girl, Virginia Roberts, in court documents, prompting Buckingham Palace to issue a full-on denial. The allegations were later stricken from the record.
Princess Anne gets divorced
In April 1989, Princess Anne, the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II, faced rumors that the royal's marriage to Captain Mark Phillips was crumbling after the British tabloid The Sun obtained four love letters written to her by one of the Queen's equerries, Comdr. Timothy Laurence. The Palace confirmed the existence of the letters, and by August that year, Anne and Phillips had separated, according to People.
In 1991, it was discovered that Phillips had fathered an illegitimate child nicknamed Bunny. He and Anne were granted a divorce the following year, the same year that Anne and Laurence got hitched.
In 2012, it was reported that Phillips had left his second wife for a woman 30 years his junior. Never a dull moment with this family, indeed.
There are times when being a royal is less than awesome. Many everyday things us commoners take for granted are off limits to them, and that includes anonymity. The royals are swimming in a pool of traditions, wearing the undersized thong of a royal title, all while living under the magnifying glass of the media — so when they do something dumb, or even something just slightly normal for anyone else, they're on the front page. Here are a few surprising royal scandals that you may not have heard of.
Kate goes topless
In September 2012 while on holiday at a private french chateau, Kate Middleton made the decision to sunbathe topless — but that isn't the scandal. Unknown to her, there were photographers on a road five hundred yards away with telephoto lenses, and they caught the whole thing on film. The photos were quickly published in the French magazine Closer and the Italian magazine Chi. Ordinarily a woman sunbathing topless wouldn't be noteworthy, but Kate is royalty, and royal boobs are front page news. In this instance, the French courts quickly imposed an injunction preventing further publications, and started criminal investigations.
Prince Philip's mouth
The Duke of Edinburgh puts his foot in his mouth so often he must have installed a shoe rack by now. Lucky for him, it usually gets put down to his age and a "quirky" sense of humor. But it's actually not a surprise that a man born in 1921 forgets how far and fast an offhand remark can travel. Here are just a few of his less offensive gaffes: In 1981, during a recession in the UK, he was heard to say, "Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed." In 1995, he was having a conversation with a Scottish driving instructor when he asked, "How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?" In 2000, he commented on the British class system: "People think there's a rigid class system here, but dukes have been known to marry chorus girls. Some have even married Americans."
Harry picks the wrong costume
Harry has been a fairly common sight in the scandal columns, mostly as a result of his "boisterous" teenage years, but this error of judgement stands out. In January 2005, Harry was photographed at a private costume party wearing a World War II German uniform with a swastika armband. An inappropriate costume for anyone, it could be argued, but especially so for Prince Harry. It seems that Harry didn't take long putting his costume together, but causing offense never takes much effort. An apology was quickly issued, but that didn't stop people like the Israeli Foreign Minister, and members of parliament, from expressing their displeasure.
Charles says what he thinks
During the run up to his wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince Charles made the mistake of voicing his opinion a little too loudly near a microphone. While enjoying a skiing holiday in Switzerland in 2005, Charles agreed to do a brief photocall with his sons. Fifty journalists were invited to the event with the agreement that the royal party would afterwards be left in peace to enjoy their holiday. But it wasn't long before Charles started voicing his displeasure, commenting under his breath, "I hate doing this," and then, "I hate these people." Unfortunately Charles had no idea his whispers could be heard and it only got worse when a question was posed to Charles about his forthcoming nuptials. Nicholas Witchell, the BBC's royal correspondent, was given permission to ask the question, but all he got in response was undisguised sarcasm. The Prince of Wales then turned his head and muttered, "Bloody people. I can't bear that man. He's so awful, he really is."
Cash for access
Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, a.k.a. Fergie, was married to Prince Andrew (Queen Elizabeth's second son) for ten years before they divorced in 1996. She didn't get much in the divorce, and when her American businesses failed in 2009, she was left struggling for money. Despite the breakdown of their marriage, Fergie and Prince Andrew were known to be on good terms, and in 2010 she tried to cash that friendship in. Prince Andrew was working as a British trade envoy at the time, and in an attempt to make some money, she offered to help a foreign businessman to gain access to Prince Andrew and his influence in exchange for 500,000 pounds. What she didn't know was that the businessman was an undercover reporter working for the News of the World. Pretty soon her offer was front page news, and a giant headache for the Royal family.
Prince Andrew's ill-advised bromance
Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein has a private island in the Caribbean and spends a lot of money funding science research and education. But he's also a registered sex offender. Meanwhile, Prince Andrew had been friends with Epstein for a number of years, and stayed on his private island and at his New York mansion on numerous occasions. So it's no wonder that when the muck started flying at Epstein, some of it hit Andrew. Andrew was even named in a lawsuit against Epstein, claiming he took part in orgies with underage girls. Although the accusations were struck from the record by the presiding judge, Andrew's name is now irrevocably smeared by his connection to Jeffrey Epstein.
What happens in Vegas, doesn't always stay in Vegas
Prior to his second deployment to Afghanistan, Prince Harry spent some time in Las Vegas, but the royal probably trusted in that old saying a little too much. While there, he was seen chatting to celebrities and sunning himself by the pool, but the party didn't stop there. At one point during the trip, Harry invited some people back to his room for a private party, and, if reports are accurate, a game of strip billiards. Unfortunately for Harry, one of his guests took a photo, and his bad boy reputation got an unwanted boost. Speaking later about the affair, Harry was quoted as saying, "It was probably a classic example of me probably being too much army, and not enough prince."
Prince Harry has grown into his role over the years, becoming one of the most prominent and popular members of the British royal family. As a result, the ginger prince and wife Meghan Markle are regularly plastered across the front pages of newspapers and magazines the world over — but the coverage isn't always positive. Since tying the knot at Windsor Castle in May 2018, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have campaigned hard for various environmental and humanitarian causes, while seemingly going out of their way to create a new look for the royal family. But not everyone is buying it, as the press has branded them hypocrites on several occasions.
While the British media has been accused of having a chip on its shoulder about former Suits actress Markle, this kind of attention is nothing new for Prince Harry. He's seen by most as a charming prince today, but once had a reputation for being the unruly black sheep of the royal family ... a reputation that the tabloids helped enforce. The prince's news-making extracurricular exploits have included alleged drug use, fighting, nakedness, and more over the years. Of course, none of these are words you'd expect to come after the name of a royal in a headline. So, did this duke really deserve all that bad press? This is the untold truth of Prince Harry.
Conspiracy theorists claim Prince Charles isn't Prince Harry's real father
Despite Prince Harry's strong resemblance to Prince Charles, rumors endure that Charles isn't Harry's real father. In fact, some conspiracy theorists believe that Princess Diana's former lover, James Hewitt, is actually the real baby daddy. The so-called smoking gun? The prince in question happens to have red hair just like Hewitt.
According to the Daily Mail, however, Princess Diana's bodyguard, Ken Wharfe, claimed in a memoir that it's impossible for James Hewitt to be Prince Harry's father. Case in point: all anyone apparently needs to disprove the hearsay is to know a bit of math. Prince Henry of Wales was born on September 15, 1984; however, Princess Diana didn't begin her infamous fling with James Hewitt until "the summer of 1986," according to the report.
"The red hair that gossips so love to cite as 'proof' is, of course, a Spencer trait, as anyone who has ever seen a photograph of Diana's sister, Jane, for example, as a young woman will be able to testify," the report added.
Prince William finally married his longtime girlfriend, Kate Middleton, now known as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, on April 29, 2011. When Prince Harry and Middleton's sister, Pippa, interacted at the wedding, some royal watchers wondered if a few sparks flew. For months and even years after the nuptials, there were claims that Prince Harry was secretly dating Pippa and that the younger Middleton sister was preparing to snatch a royal for herself.
If you had previously hoped that the Harry and Pippa rumors would've turn into a fairytale romance, you must have been sorely disappointed. According to The Telegraph, Prince Harry himself filed a formal complaint against the Daily Star to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) in 2015. This action eventually forced the paper to file a retraction to their "significantly misleading" story about the alleged romance. Incidentally, Prince Harry's formal complaint to the IPSO was considered "highly unusual." As The Telegraph reported, "The Royal Household's traditional stance has been to ignore inaccurate reports rather than draw attention to them by complaining." Guess that one really got under his skin.
Prince Harry's former flames
Pippa Middleton is not the only woman to whom Prince Harry was linked before meeting Meghan Markle — the redheaded royal has a long list of rumored former flames. He's said to have dated pop stars, TV presenters, actresses, and models in his time, though few of these supposed relationships have been officially confirmed. In fact, Prince Harry appears to have had just two serious girlfriends before Markle.
From 2012 to 2014, Prince Harry dated Cressida Bonas, who was allegedly introduced to him by Princess Eugenie. However, the actress reportedly couldn't stand the constant attention from the press, so it didn't work out. The duke's thing with Bonas started not long after his long relationship with businesswoman Chelsy Davy ended. He'd met Davy during his gap year in South Africa, and she became his on-and-off girlfriend from 2004 to 2011. The Zimbabwean beauty was Prince Harry's date to brother Prince William's wedding, and even attended the Duke of Sussex's nuptials to Meghan Markle in 2018 (Davy's tense facial expressions caused a torrent of "should have been me" memes).
Interestingly, Markle isn't the first American that Prince Harry has tangoed with, if reports are to be believed. In 2016, a source told The Sun that Harry had hit it off with a "blonde, cool, and well-connected" young woman named Juliette Labelle. The aspiring actress allegedly "hooked up" with the royal when he spent time in Los Angeles over the New Year.
What happened in Vegas ... didn't stay there
The press has probably exaggerated the facts at times, but Prince Harry's reputation as a hard-partying prince is definitely a well-earned one. In 2011, video footage of the apparently drunk royal losing his balance and falling into a pool made headlines. "This was little more than a man in his 20s letting off steam," a royal source told Sky News. The Palace was able to brush the whole thing under the ornate rug, but that tactic wasn't possible when Prince Harry visited Las Vegas the following year — and was pictured partying naked.
TMZ broke the story, releasing two images of a seemingly completely nude Prince Harry. He was allegedly seen clinging to an equally naked young woman after losing a game of "strip pool" in his VIP suite. The swanky room was full of "hot chicks" that the duke and his friends met at the hotel bar, the gossip rag claimed. The Palace was forced to respond, and (unsurprisingly) sided with Prince Harry. "We remain of the opinion that a hotel room is a private space where its occupants would have a reasonable expectation of privacy," a spokesman told CNN.
The British press was asked not to publish the embarrassing pictures, and for the most part it complied (The Sun ignored the request and sent the images to print anyway). "I probably let myself down, I let my family down, I let other people down," the remorseful prince told BBC News in 2013.
Prince Harry's dad (sort of) sent him to rehab
Parents react in different ways when they discover their kids have dabbled with pot. Sources close to the Palace claimed that Prince Charles once found out that Prince Harry had been smoking marijuana regularly in 2002, and apparently decided that a day trip to a detox center for heroin addicts was in order. According to The Guardian, Harry (16 at the time) was confronted by his father after an aide smelled cannabis in the halls of Highgrove and tattled.
Using Prince William as a go-between, Prince Charles reportedly asked his youngest son to spend the day at Featherstone Lodge so he could get a real insight into the dangers of drug use. The young royal wasn't going for treatment; he was sent to the clinic for a good shock. "There is no point in hiding the truth," Prince Charles reportedly told his aides, according to a News of the World insider (via the Independent). "These are the facts, let people make their own judgement."
While Prince Harry allegedly copped to "experimenting" with marijuana, royal sources claimed he was careful about where he smoked it. "Although his friends smoked at parties at Highgrove, Harry was mindful only to smoke in private with close friends in the local area," an aide told News of the World. The Palace refused to make any further comment, stating, "This is a serious matter which was resolved within the family and is now closed."
That time Prince Harry wore a swastika armband to a costume party
It's easy to take Prince Harry's side when he gets shaded for having a few too many drinks, because it's nice to see a royal acting so normal. What isn't normal, however, is wearing a swastika armband to a costume party, especially when you're a member of the British royal family. But that's what Prince Harry inexplicably did in 2005. Needless to say, many people were displeased. "Prince Harry has [apologized] for any offence or embarrassment he has caused," Clarence House released in a statement after The Sun splashed the shocking image across its front page (via BBC News). "He [realizes] it was a poor choice of costume."
For many, a simple statement informing the public that Prince Harry had apologized for his severe lack in judgement wasn't good enough. "Anybody who tries to pass it off as bad taste must be made aware that this can encourage others to think that perhaps that period was not as bad as we teach the young generation in the free world," Israeli foreign minister Silvan Shalom said (via The Telegraph). To make matters worse, this all took place in the run-up to Holocaust Memorial Day.
What on Earth was the ginger prince thinking?
The Duke of Sussex was deployed to Afghanistan
Prince Harry began training for a career in the British Army in 2005 and would go on to take two tours of Afghanistan before retiring ten years later. In 2008, the Ministry of Defence revealed that the royal had spent time in the notorious Helmand Province. According to sources cited by The Sun, the so-called "Captain Wales" helped repel an attack from Taliban insurgents while stationed there. "Prince Harry is very proud to serve his country on operations alongside his fellow soldiers and to do the job he has been trained for," Clarence House released in a statement.
The Ministry of Defence was smart enough to hold back its Helmand reveal until the prince had moved on — something the press unfortunately didn't think to do. In 2019, royal expert Duncan Larcombe revealed that Prince Harry was "absolutely furious" when he was forced to fly home from Afghanistan because the media had discovered details about his secret deployment, putting him and his regiment at risk. It was one of the "real lows in Harry's life," according to Larcombe, who discussed the incident while a guest on the Yahoo video series, The Royal Box (via Express). "Where did he go? Straight to Botswana with Chelsy Davy ... Almost like, it's where he goes when there's steam coming out of his ears to calm down."
Prince Harry is said to have spent time in Botswana following his mother, Princess Diana's, death.
Did Prince Harry cheat to get through school?
Prince Harry rose to the rank of Captain during his time in the British Army, but according to one of his former teachers, he was a "weak student" when he attended the prestigious Eton College. Ex-Eton staffer Sarah Forsyth made the shocking claim in 2005 during an employment tribunal, alleging that she'd been asked to help the prince cheat on his art A-levels (via The Guardian). According to Forsyth, Eton's head of art instructed her to prepare text to accompany some of Harry's art work, annotations that he should have been writing himself.
"I was concerned that this was unethical and probably constituted cheating," Forsyth, who had been let go and was claiming unfair dismissal by Eton, said during her tribunal. "I assumed I had been asked to do this because Prince Harry was a weak student." Despite being "profoundly shocked" by the task she'd allegedly been given, Forsyth claimed that she followed orders and wrote about the prince's art for him. She told the hearing that the pieces she worked on were even "featured in newspapers" and that she'd also secretly recorded Prince Harry admitting to writing "about a sentence" in total.
The tribunal found that Forsyth had been bullied by Eton's head of art, but it dubbed her "unprofessional" for recording the royal without his knowledge and rejected her claims that she'd helped him cheat, according to the Independent.
Prince Harry has inherited Princess Diana's compassion
The red hair is a Spencer trait, but Prince Harry's seemingly inherited more than that from his late mother. Princess Diana's legacy is one of compassion, and that's never been lost on her sons. The ginger prince has been doing his mother proud in recent years, dedicating his time to the causes that she herself championed, like ending the stigma that comes with HIV/AIDS. The People's Princess, as she was affectionately known, would reportedly sneak out of the palace and make visits to HIV hospices at a time when those with the disease were largely shunned, famously shaking hands with a patient. "She did things that no one else would ever do," Mercy Ngulube, a peer counsellor with the Children's HIV Association, told CBC. "She touched a person living with HIV."
Prince Harry has been to the same HIV treatment facilities that Princess Diana frequented, and has also been to Angola. Just months before her death, the Princess of Wales walked through an active minefield in the war-torn African country, another iconic Diana image. Her youngest son made that same walk in 2013, and has remained passionate about landmine removal to this day. "I was told just the other day of the positive transformation in Huambo since my mother walked that minefield all those years ago," Prince Harry said in 2019 speech (via CNN). "Angola is an important example of a country leading the way in clearing the remnants of war."
Was the Duke of Sussex barred from his local pub for fighting?
According to one royal source, Prince Harry was allegedly barred from his local drinking establishment when he was just a teen. "Since Princess Diana died, there has been a family rule that when Prince Harry is home from school, his father is at home at Highgrove," an insider claimed to the News of the World in 2002 (via The Guardian). "But last summer was different. Prince Harry was getting older, Prince Charles was often away on business in London and Prince William was on his gap year."
The source went on to claim that the young prince was encouraged to invite friends over to keep him company while his father and brother were away. During the summer of 2001, however, Prince Harry reportedly "fell in with a bad lot" after he started drinking at a place called the Rattlebone Inn. "There are so many fights at the Rattlebone Inn," the insider alleged. "In fact, earlier last year Prince Harry was involved in an incident after a fight broke out over out-of-hours drinking and was barred from the inn for a while."
Prince Harry appears to have calmed down significantly since then, but still apparently likes to get a little rowdy on occasion — according to the Daily Mail, he was reportedly out partying until 3 a.m. the night before his brother's wedding in 2011.
The time Prince Harry drank champagne from a prosthetic leg
Prince Harry once drank champagne from a prosthetic leg, but it wasn't in the middle of some booze-fuelled party. In 2014, the redheaded royal teamed up with British charity Walking With The Wounded, joining a fundraiser trek to the South Pole. Prince Harry was part of the Commonwealth team, as was The Wire star, Dominic West. The actor got to know the British royal pretty well during the three-week journey, describing the prince as a "fantastically nice chap" and a "really cool guy" at a welcome home event (via the Daily Mail). That wasn't all he had to say, however.
According to the media outlet, West went on to spill the beans on the wild celebrations that took place when the team finally hit the South Pole — and he didn't dance around the fact that Prince Harry was apparently involved in them. "Two of the Aussie guys stripped naked and ran round the pole but most of us, Harry included, just went on a two-day bender with the Icelandic truck drivers who had brought some lethal home brew with them," West said. "There was a lot of liqueur drunk. We all drank champagne out of Duncan's [Slater, a double amputee injured in Afghanistan] favourite prosthetic legs." Prince Harry reportedly told some "eye-wateringly rude" jokes that evening, the actor added.
Prince Harry's complicated relationship with the paparazzi
Prince Harry's relationship with the paparazzi is often described as complicated. In truth, that's something of an understatement. The prince, whose mother was killed fleeing the paparazzi in Paris, has made his opinion on them known. "I think one of the hardest things to come to terms with," he said in a BBC documentary (via Fox News), "is the fact that the people that chased her through into the tunnel were the same people that were taking photographs of her, while she was still dying on the back seat of the car."
In 2004, a 20-year-old Prince Harry was involved in an alleged altercation with the paparazzi outside a London night club, which left one of the paps with a bloody lip. A Clarence House spokesman said that the prince was "hit in the face by a camera" as he tried to get into a car (via The Guardian). "In pushing the camera away, it's understood that a photographer's lip was cut." According to the owner of that lip, that's not how it went down.
Chris Uncle claimed that Prince Harry was already safely in his car when he suddenly lost his temper. "He burst out the car and lunged towards me as I was still taking pictures," the snapper alleged. "He lashed out and then deliberately pushed my camera into my face." According to Uncle, the royal said: "Why are you doing this? Why don't you just leave me alone?"
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made history when they tied the knot in May 2018. The couple moved very quickly, announcing their engagement after only dating for about a year and a half, and she made some major life changes to accommodate and acclimate to the royal family. About a year after getting hitched, they welcomed son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
Since then, the couple have been major paparazzi magnets and covered incessantly in the press for various reasons and non-reasons: Meghan remains estranged from her father's side of her family and may have crossed some of the Windsors with her alleged lack of respect for some royal protocols. In addition to ongoing rumors of familial in-fighting sparked by Meghan's role in the royal family, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex famously stepped back as senior royals in January 2020.
That said, it seems like Harry and Meghan's marriage is a happy one among themselves ... but not necessarily a conventional royal union by any means. The duo even revealed to Oprah Winfrey in March 2021 that they'd gotten hitched in secret three days before their royal wedding was watched by millions. "We just said, 'Look, this thing, this spectacle is for the world, but we want our union between us,'" Meghan explained (via The Washington Post). "So the vows that we have framed in our room are just the two of us in our backyard with the archbishop of Canterbury." Here's what else we know about the private life of two of the world's most public figures.
A friend played matchmaker for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle was set up with Prince Harry through a mutual pal. The Daily Mail reported that the duchess' close friend, Soho House higher-up Markus Anderson, introduced the couple. Anderson reportedly ran in the same Toronto circles as Meghan — who filmed Suits in Canada — for years. She and Anderson traveled together frequently, which they documented on social media (before she had to close her accounts before the wedding), and he was even called an "uncle" to her beloved rescue dogs.
It's unclear how Anderson first met Prince Harry, but the prince reportedly was a member of the exclusive Soho House club where Anderson works and curates party guest lists. In fact, Anderson and the Sussexes are all so close that Anderson sat with Meghan at Prince Harry's Invictus Games in Toronto in fall 2017 — and it's reported that Anderson may have introduced Harry to Markle at the games a year prior.
However, it seems the two may have been set up by a different, unnamed mutual pal. During the couple's engagement interview with BBC News in November 2017, Meghan revealed, "Because I'm from the states, you don't grow up with the same understanding of the royal family. I didn't know much about him, so the only thing that I had asked [our mutual friend] when she said that she wanted to set us up, was, 'Well, is he nice?' Cause if he wasn't kind, it just didn't seem like it would make sense."
Harry was allegedly hooking up with a model while wooing Meghan
Though Prince Harry seemed to fall for Meghan Markle quickly, that doesn't mean he was immediately ready to settle down and ditch his playboy reputation for her. The Daily Mail reported that the prince allegedly dated a British model while he was wooing Markle in the early days of their courtship. Friends of model Sarah Ann Macklin claimed that the Duke of Sussex bombarded her with texts after meeting her at a party, and he allegedly continued to contact her for months when Markle wasn't visiting London.
"Their fling is an open secret among her friends," a pal of Macklin claimed. "It eventually fizzled out but they are on friendly terms." Another insider dished, "Everything was kept very below the radar ... Harry also seemed a bit non-committal and it never really got off the ground. Things fizzled out before he went to Africa for a month in August."
For her part, Harry's dating past was of no concern to Meghan, who revealed to Oprah Winfrey in March 2021 (via Yahoo! News), "I never looked up my husband online." She added, "I just didn't feel the need to because everything that I needed to know, he was sharing with me — or everything we thought I needed to know, he was telling me."
The former actor is much different from other women Harry's dated
Before meeting Meghan Markle, Prince Harry had a type: The Sun reports that most of Harry's exes came from aristocratic families, like Chelsy Davy and Cressida Bonas. He hadn't shied away from dating entertainers, however, and was rumored to be linked to British pop singers Ellie Goulding and Mollie King (of The Saturdays), as well as TV presenter Caroline Flack.
By contrast, Meghan was a little-known biracial, brunette American actor who, outside of the Suits franchise, seemed more focused on humanitarian work and her lifestyle blog, The Tig, than on partying or high society. She came from humble beginnings and was vocal about her political beliefs before linking up with the ginger prince, even reportedly posting anti-Brexit messages on social media. At three years Harry's senior, Meghan was already established as a personality and in her career — though, in fairness to the prince, he is the reason she quickly became a household name.
The Duchess of Sussex gave up a lot for her prince
Meghan Markle left her role on Suits and was forced to shutter her social media accounts and lifestyle blog, The Tig, as she and Prince Harry's relationship grew serious. But giving up her career was on the tip of the iceberg in terms of what normal luxuries Meghan would have to sacrifice for her marriage to the royal.
The Sun reported that she was also prohibited from ever taking selfies (Queen Elizabeth reportedly finds them "disconcerting" and "strange"), signing autographs, and voting, despite previously expressing her political beliefs (including her opposition to Brexit) on her now-defunct social media accounts. Meghan was also supposedly banned from wearing dark nail polish (which the royals deem "vulgar") and wearing skirts above the knee, though she's broken the latter rule at least once since becoming a royal, rocking a short tuxedo dress at a performance of Hamilton in London in August 2018.
When Harry and Meghan spoke with Oprah Winfrey about feeling "trapped" in the royal life in March 2021, the duchess revealed other facets of freedom she'd been forced to give up upon marrying the prince (via The Washington Post). "You have to understand, as well, when I joined that family, that was the last time ... that I saw my passport, my driver's license, my keys," she said. "All that gets turned over."
Meghan Markle's allegedly 'airbrushing' Prince Harry's reputation
Lady Colin Campbell, a friend of Prince Harry's late mother, Princess Diana, told the Daily Beast that Meghan Markle "is ultra-liberal and that trendy-lefty stuff does not go down well with some of Harry's friends. He has introduced her to them all at parties and weddings and private dinners, but she is very anti- a lot of the things that their world functions upon, such as shooting." It's alleged that Meghan's animal rights beliefs and anti-gun stances are part of the reason why Harry began skipping hunting trips with his family and friends once he coupled up with the former actor.
A royal insider told the Daily Express that Harry began to shun his former pals because his wife believed they may have been bad influences on the ginger prince, alleging, "It's all part of Meghan's quiet airbrushing out of Harry's old posse. She doesn't want temptation of any sort being put in his way while they concentrate on starting a family."
Why this royal married pair doesn't have a prenup
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Shortly after their royal wedding, The Sun reported that Prince Harry was worth a cool $38 million and that the royal family as a whole was worth roughly $89 billion. The outlet also noted that the ginger prince didn't get a prenuptial agreement before tying the knot with Meghan Markle (who, Money reported, had an estimated $5 million net worth at the time). There's a reason for that: He didn't really need one.
"I don't think members of the royal family sign prenuptial agreements," royal expert and author Katie Nicholl told Town & Country. "It's commonplace with celebrity marriage, but this is not a celebrity marriage, it's a royal marriage." Most of the Windsor estate and riches actually belong to Queen Elizabeth, not Prince Harry. Duncan Larcombe, author of Prince Harry: The Inside Story, explained, "You wouldn't need a prenuptial agreement to stop Windsor Castle from being cut in half in the event they divorce, because it's not Harry's."
Meanwhile, a friend of the prince told the Daily Mail, "There was never any question in Harry's mind that he would sign a prenup. He's determined that his marriage will be a lasting one, so there's no need for him to sign anything."
Harry and Meghan are increasingly private
Sources told Vanity Fair in August 2018 that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were shying away from the limelight and spending a lot more time in rural areas of England. "They are in the country way more than they are in London and they are enjoying a low-key and very domesticated start to married life," a friend of the couple said. "...Meghan likes him to keep his diary clear at the weekends so they can be together in the countryside." Locals revealed that Harry and Meghan's Cotswolds property was very secluded and "like a fortress" to keep strangers out.
Even royal press members noticed a marked difference in their public presence at events, with one writer griping in the Daily Express (via Closer Weekly), "Royal rota journalists are being kept further away from [Meghan] than we were before the wedding. That means we can't hear what she is saying. If you can't get direct quotes from members of the royal family that often makes for dull stories. You go up afterwards and ask what she said."
Of course, that may have been, at least in part, because it was in the early stages of her pregnancy with son Archie, so it's understandable why they may have wanted time and space away from prying eyes. The Sussexes' penchant for keeping a more private life only increased after stepping back as senior royals, with Meghan telling Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, "I think everyone has a basic right to privacy. Basic. We're not talking about anything that anybody else wouldn't expect."
The Sussexes want to raise Archie out of the spotlight
After Meghan Markle and Prince Harry welcomed son Archie in May 2019, sources claimed the couple wanted shrink away from the public eye for the sake of their son. An insider told People that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex "knew they were going to hit the nuclear button" almost as soon as Archie was born.
With Archie being kept largely out of the public eye, save for special occasions (including his world debut and a meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu), an insider told People that the Sussexes were intent on "doing what's right for their family." Even the identities of Archie's godparents were kept under wraps until January 2020, when The Times identified Harry's childhood nanny, Tiggy Pettifer, and Mark Dyer, a close friend of Prince Charles and mentor to Harry, as two of the lucky honorees.
Harper's Bazaar reported around this time that Meghan and Harry intended on suing over paparazzi photos taken of the Duchess of Sussex hiking in Canada with Archie and their two dogs. In legal documents obtained by the outlet, the couple asserted that the photographs were an invasion of their privacy. By December 2020, the Sussexes had settled the lawsuit, per The Guardian, with Splash News and Picture Agency agreeing not to photograph this royal family in the future. "This settlement is a clear signal that unlawful, invasive, and intrusive paparazzi behaviour will not be tolerated," the couple's spokesperson stated. "And that the couple takes these matters seriously — just as any family would."
Meghan was accused of sparking a royal rift between Princes William and Harry
Meghan Markle has been scapegoated as the reason for a supposed brotherly beef between Prince William and Prince Harry for years. Royal expert Katie Nicholl speculated in the TLC documentary, Kate V. Meghan: Princesses at War (via Fox News), that William advised Harry that he and Meghan may have moved too quickly in their relationship, and Harry didn't take it well.
"William was quite concerned that the relationship had moved so quickly," Nicholl claimed. "And being close to Harry, you know, probably the only person close enough to say to Harry, 'This seems to be moving quickly. Are you sure?' And I think what was meant as well-intended brotherly advice just riled Harry." Nicholl added that Harry remained "hugely protective" of Meghan and took William's warning personally, noting, "I don't think things have ever been quite right since."
Though none of the royals have confirmed or denied the alleged rift or the cause, in 2019, Prince Harry did confess that he and Prince William had grown apart. In March 2021, he told Oprah Winfrey (via People), "I love William to bits. He's my brother. We've been through hell together. But we are on different paths." Revealing that "the relationship is space" at that point, Harry added, "Time heals all things, hopefully." Days later, an insider cited by Page Six claimed that the royal brothers had "opened communication channels" once again.
Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle definitely aren't BFFs
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Sources told the Daily Mail in November 2018 that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wanted to move away from the confines of the royal estate at Kensington Palace, and it may be because of some beef between the royal brides. "Harry and Meghan want to move, and need more space, but they don't want to live next door to William and Catherine," a royal insider revealed. "They will soon have separate offices and separate lives, so it would make sense for them to live further afield. There is no reason why their London home has to be at Kensington Palace. There are plenty of other options, including using their own money to buy their own place." The source added of Meghan and Kate Middleton, "Catherine and Meghan live very different lives and that is likely to become more marked over time."
Indeed, during their explosive sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan indicated (via Yahoo! Entertainment) that her chumminess with Kate may be feigned. Insisting the Duchess of Cambridge made her cry at a flower girl dress fitting before her wedding (but emphasizing that Kate later apologized), Meghan noted of their Wimbledon outing together, "It's nothing like what it looks like."
The Sussexes moved to the newly renovated Frogmore Cottage in Windsor in April 2019, about a month before son Archie's birth, and the Daily Mail reported the couple even ditched their Cotswolds country home before relocating. They later famously moved to Canada, then to Montecito, Calif.
Meghan Markle reportedly stole Princess Eugenie's thunder at her wedding
Despite ongoing rumors of Queen Elizabeth side-eyeing Meghan Markle's alleged diva behavior, the Duchess of Sussex told Oprah Winfrey in March 2021 that the British monarch has always been "wonderful" and kind toward her (via People), saying that their interactions "made [her] think of [her] grandmother, where she's always been warm and inviting and really welcoming." But Kate Middleton may not be the only royal who didn't seem particularly a fan of the former Suits actor.
Princess Eugenie was reportedly not thrilled with Prince Harry and Meghan for stealing the spotlight at her wedding with their pregnancy news in late 2018. "Eugenie disappeared for a while after Harry and Meghan told the royal family the news. She felt furious at having been upstaged again by Harry and Meghan," a source told Radar. "Any br