Great Britain's royal family has several dark secrets that it would do almost anything to keep hidden. Even though the family's overall reputation has improved somewhat after Princess Diana's tragic death in 1997, there are some dark and dirty secrets that individual family members are afraid of, mainly because they don't want to see their reputation tarnished again.
So, what are these secrets? They involve some long-dead family forebears, who may not be very well known. Prince John, for instance. Prince Who? Not many people know about him. Then there are the close familial relationships, which are *very* close.
Even in more recent times, before the advent of the internet, some scandals involving individual members of the Royal Family became common knowledge. Like Prince Charles' affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles.
How about mental illness? King George III suffered from some frankly obvious signs of mental disease. As documented in the New World Encyclopedia, he may have suffered from porphyria, which can cause signs of mental disorder.
Is Prince Charles related to a vampire? This sound pretty fantastic, but he is the great-grandson of Prince Vlad III. Prince Vlad was the Wallachian noble, better known as "The Impaler."
16 Princess Diana's Inner Demons
Princess Diana made her personal struggles public in her book, written by Andrew Morton. In Diana: Her True Story, she and Morton discussed her ongoing struggles with depression and bulimia, which may have been set off by thoughtless remarks Charles made to her, as well as the state of their marriage.
Early in her pregnancy with William, Diana threw herself down the stairs, landing at the feet of Queen Elizabeth. She binged and purged, fearful of gaining too much weight. Early in their relationship, when Charles put his arm around her waist, he carelessly observed that Diana was a "bit pudgy." From that time on, she became obsessed with gaining and losing weight.
The Princess may have been in love with her husband. This would explain her ongoing depression as their marriage disintegrated. The book helped to make the Princess more human to people.
15 Prince Charles Spits Out TMI
Okay, this is pretty icky. It's common knowledge that Charles continued his romance, except for a brief hiatus, while he was married to Princess Diana. Camilla Parker-Bowles, his amour, was also married to someone else.
While portions of their relationship were (thankfully) restricted to phone calls, some of their conversations became pretty TMI. Someone in the Royal Household overheard one of Charles' conversations with Camilla. In this conversation, Charles is said to have expressed a desire for her. Even worse, the leaker said Charles also wanted to be within her trousers as. . . a tampon.
Just the mental image is enough to. . . no. Just don't go there! The Royal Family, in particular, Charles' mother and father, were probably much less than thrilled. Especially since he and Diana were still officially married, even if their marriage was dying.
14 King George Is Caught Speaking To A Tree
In 1810, King George began to exhibit symptoms of insanity. This King George is the "King George" of the American Revolution. This means that he was reigning on the British throne about 35 years before he began going mad.
Witnesses reported that, during a buggy drive through Windsor Great Park, he ordered the buggy to stop. He got down and began speaking to a tree, just as though he was speaking to a live person. In short, he was waving his arms around, just as if he was engaged in a two-way conversation. Whoa. He also "shook hands" with one of the branches of the tree.
When one of his footmen asked if he was feeling all right, the king retorted, "Of course I'm feeling well!" He then ordered the footman not to disturb him again, because "I'm speaking to the King of Prussia."
13 The Royals Had Connections With Hitler
That would be King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, his American lover. It's rumored that Simpson had an affair with the Nazi foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop.
Not only that, but the King and Simpson actually went to Germany in 1937 so they could meet Adolf Hitler. Talk about some bad optics there! The rumors all say that King Edward and Simpson held their Nazi sympathies before the war and well into it.
If that didn't make Simpson unsuitable to marry the King, her previous two marriages and divorces did. No matter. King Edward abdicated the British throne and married Simpson. It's pretty easy to see why the Royal Family doesn't want this one dredged up again.
Just trying to get into their heads to figure out why they held Nazi sympathies is difficult, if not impossible.
12 Prince Harry's Controversial Costume
Prince Harry appears to be the sweetest, most approachable man. But he made a big, huge mistake when he went to that party, wearing a highly recognizable and hated item. He was wearing a Nazi armband over his dress shirt!
Sadly, Prince Harry didn't think about the repercussions of wearing that armband and a terrible scandal resulted. Someone took a picture of the Prince, holding a drink, chatting with friends and wearing that horrible armband. Of course, the Prince being the Prince, the photos were leaked to the tabloid media.
That terrible picture was front and center on the covers of many tabloid papers, both in the U.K. and the U.S. The Prince apologized, but it was too late. Then 20, the Prince had to endure plenty of public anger. He made a poor decision and paid for it.
11 Princess Beatrice Dates A Criminal
Pretty eye-catching, no? It's true. Princess Beatrice, daughter of Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew, dated Paolo Liuzzo, an American. Liuzzo was arrested and charged with the beating of Jonathan Duchatellier, who Liuzzo accused of "disrespecting" young women at a party. Liuzzo was charged with manslaughter, but somehow, the charge was reduced to assault and battery. Liuzzo was required to serve probation, which he broke. While he was dating Beatrice, he took her on a romantic trip to the French Alps. To date, Beatrice is still single.
Significantly, Beatrice is seventh in line for the British throne. As Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter, she occupies something of a high-profile niche in society. Her work with philanthropic organizations means she has to be able to recognize when a non-profit in need of funding is a good risk for grant money.
10 Queen Victoria Marries In The Family
This couple is famous all around the world. She was one of the better-known queens of England and Prince Albert was her royal consort. They are also first cousins. They married, despite the familial relationship, and they had children.
After marrying in 1840, Victoria and Albert had nine children. Victoria truly loved "her Albert," cousin relationship notwithstanding. After his death in 1861, she mourned until her own death.
That said, did Queen Victoria allow herself to indulge in a relationship with a commoner after her husband's death? She is said to have entered an intense relationship with her manservant, John Brown, who helped care for her livestock at Balmoral Castle.
The relationship was said to be so strong that when Brown died, Victoria told her sister-in-law that she had no other "strong arm" to lean on.
9 Prince Harry Visits A Rehab Center
Everyone loves Prince William and Prince Harry. They are much more approachable and human than their older family members. After Princess Diana's untimely and tragic death, both of her sons were thrown into some pretty painful grief.
Prince Harry probably had the rougher time. When he was just 17, his father, Prince Charles, admitted him, posthaste, into the Featherstone Lodge Rehabilitation Center. Why?
He admitted to his father that he had taken part in underage drinking. He'd also smoked weed. That's not a very big reason for being admitted to rehab. Other celebrities have used much stronger and deadlier substances before being admitted to a facility.
Who knows? Maybe the stint in rehab helped him to realize that he really didn't want to drown his grief in substances. It was some time after his discharge that he stopped partying, joined the Army and served two tours in Afghanistan.
8 Princess Anne's Dog Attacked Two Boys
That sounds like the title of a bad horror movie. While it isn't, it's no less frightening that one of Princess Anne's dogs attacked two young boys. Princess Anne is Prince Charles' sister. After Princess Anne and her husband finished walking their dogs in Windsor Great Park, one of the dogs got away from the couple. He then attacked the young boys, who were riding past the park on their bikes.
After the attack, the boys' parents took the Princess and her husband to court, making this the first time a Royal had been charged with a crime. The couple paid a court-ordered fine and the vicious dog was spared. Just one year later, the same dog attacked one of the Queen's favorite Corgis, killing it. Maybe the court and the Royal Family should have paid attention to the clues and euthanized the dog.
7 The Queen's Cousins Are Kept Hidden From The Public
This one is a three-Kleenex secret, so grab them now! Queen Mary's nieces, Katherine Bowes-Lyon and Nerissa Bowes-Lyon, were separated completely from their family and sent away to a mental institution for all of their natural lives. Why? They were mentally ill. What their illness was isn't known, but that the girls were both non-verbal is common knowledge.
Back in that time (the 1940s), mental illness was little understood, so families that could afford it generally sent afflicted family members away so they weren't in the public eye. Given how important the Royal Family is to citizens of the U.K., it's very much in the public. Mental illness was viewed then as an embarrassment. It still is. The nurses responsible for the care of Nerissa and Katherine reported that the girls never received family visitors.
6 Princess Margaret's Affair Goes Public
At the age of 15, the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth showed her fun-loving, partying ways. She took up smoking and began to drink, pretty much telling everyone she was going to do as she wished, when she wished.
After marrying Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960, she continued to live life on her terms, having affair after affair. In 1973, her affair with her gardener became common knowledge. A photo of the Princess with Roddy Llewellyn, said gardener, spelled the end of her marriage to Armstrong-Jones.
Far from being "fun," the Princess' life was actually troubled. Her marriage to Armstrong-Jones was tumultuous. Her freewheeling ways harmed her reputation. She hated taking part in her royal duties, far preferring the fun times that her position allowed her. Princess Margaret died on February 9, 2002, after suffering a stroke.
5 Prince Harry Uses Racial Slurs
Ouch. Seriously. Prince Harry utilized racial slurs back in 2009. He was waiting to be deployed from the Sandhurst Military Academy when he used the slurs against members of his own platoon.
In someone's private video, Harry is heard to use the racial terms against more than one platoon member, along with swear words. He was young. But still, he should have had the insight and maturity to realize that his words would be disseminated around the world almost immediately. He also needed to develop an understanding of the effects of his thoughtless, careless words on the populations they were aimed at. Yes, he did apologize. But it would have been far better for him not to utter the words, at all.
Of course, Harry was still in considerable emotional pain following the untimely death of his mother. He finally sought counselling.
4 Sarah Ferguson Tries To Sell Access To Prince Andrew
This is in the recent past. After her divorce from Prince Andrew, Sarah Ferguson fell on hard financial times. The terms of her divorce left her with virtually no income, so she was going to have to work for her living. . . or sell her connections to one specific member of the Royal Family. She got the idea of selling access to her ex-husband, with whom she remains friends.
In 2010, a tabloid reporter secretly recorded her telling him that, post-divorce, she didn't even "have a pot to s**t in." She claimed that she only had her friendships with members of the Royal Family, even though Diana had been granted more than £20 million.
In the access deal, she attempted to sell access to Prince Andrew for a whomping $700 thousand dollars. In doing so, she claimed to have the biggest heart.
3 Princess Anne's Husband Has A Love Child
After marrying Lieutenant Mark Phillips in 1973, the marital road for Princess Anne and her husband wasn't the smoothest or easiest. In 1985, Phillips had an extra-marital affair with Australian art teacher, Heather Tonkin. She became pregnant, giving birth to Phillips' daughter. Not much is known about Phillips' daughter. By now, she would be 30 or 31 and having a life of her own.
Princess Anne found out and the marriage became even more shaky. In 1989, the couple separated, with their divorce being finalized in 1992. Becoming the first Royal family member to do so since Henry VIII, she remarried in a much smaller (intimate?) wedding ceremony. At this second wedding, no photographers were present. In addition, Princess Anne and her new husband had only 30 guests.
2 Prince Andrew's Risky Behavior
Prince Andrew came by his colorful and descriptive nicknames honestly. He was as responsible for the failure of his marriage as Fergie (Sarah Ferguson) was. He had several extramarital affairs of his own.
The rumor (and it's only a rumor) is that Andy is Queen Elizabeth's favorite son, so she gave him more leeway as far as his behaviors went. Now, in 2006, Andrew went to Courtney Love's home to party. The only thing is, he went to her house very early in the morning, when everyone else is in bed, sleeping. His spokesman says that the Prince was there "for social reasons." Okay. Sure. But that early in the morning?
Currently, he is dating models who are roughly 20 years younger than he is. Methinks the favorite son needs a good job to occupy his time and his mind. He's bored.
1 The Infamous Affair
Rumor has it that Charles broke things off with Camilla Parker-Bowles when he became engaged to Lady Diana Spencer. Well. . . that relationship never "really" ended. It seems they kept up secret communications, probably throughout the Charles-Diana marriage and even while Princess Diana was pregnant with, and giving birth, to the two princes.
Without going into the TMI details, the conversations and phone conversations between Charles and Camilla were pretty intimate. In 1992, the entire affair became public. That year, the couple separated; in 1996, Queen Elizabeth gave them formal permission to officially divorce.
Because of how much the general public loved Princess Diana, the revelations were earth-shattering. Prince Charles' reputation was rightfully soured (even though Princess Diana had cheated herself, her reputation didn't suffer as much). As badly as Charles' reputation suffered, Camilla's was absolutely excoriated. She was the infamous "third person" in the royal marriage.
Sources: theclever.com, quora.com, listverse.com, jezebel.com, thethings.com, people.com, nytimes.com., wikipedia, anglotopia.net, Good Housekeeping, The Sun, Daily Mail, Daily Express, Getty Images, Daily Mirror, KPBS, Nerissa Bowes-Lyon, BBC News, Jewish Business News, whosdatedwho.com, Bio, newmyroyals.com, itv.com