Being the black sheep of the family can be hard for anyone. For a royal, it may be even harder. In history, there have been royals who fought with their family, went against royal protocol, or simply choose to step down from their duties. These outliers had to give up their honor, fortune, and name when ousted from their castles. Here are some of these tough and scandalous stories.
These Members of the Royal Family Were Kicked Out Without Further DelayPublished 10 months ago
There was a time when the marriage between Harry and Meghan wouldn’t have been possible. Back in the 1930s, it was forbidden by royal decree for a royal to marry a commoner. So what was a prince to do if he fell in love with a non-royal, and an American to boot?
King Edward VIII fell in love with American socialite Wallis Simpson—who was divorced—and decided to propose. When he found out he could not keep the throne and marry the woman, he made the decision to abdicate. He reigned as king for less than a year. While King Edward VIII decided to abdicate, the next royal kept his title to the very end, however, it was a short one.
Years later, restrictions for the royal family were relaxed somewhat. Princess Anne, the daughter of Queen Elizabeth II, married commoner Mark Phillips in 1973. At the time, the Queen offered him the title of Earl, but he turned it down for unknown reasons.
However, the marriage didn’t last. In fact, it turned so sour that the Queen encouraged their divorce – despite it being frowned upon. After the divorce, Phillips was no longer considered part of the royal family. Because he turned down the peerage, his children were never given royal titles. There's another baby who, ordinarily, would have been given a royal title, but was not...
If you haven't been living under a rock, you know the story of Harry and Meghan. As soon as it became public that Prince Harry would be marrying a commoner, there was an uproar of criticism about Meghan trying to "taint" the royal name. Meghan complained of feeling isolated and controlled, and there were apparently arguments between her and the rest of the royals.
Harry and Meghan announced their decision to resign from royal duties in April 2020 in a controversial move. Many of the British public felt this was completely disrespectful to the Queen who was rumored to be taken by surprise. "I would never blindside my grandmother, I have too much respect for her." The former prince defended. He guessed that the rumors "could have come from inside the institution."
Fergie’s husband, Prince Andrew, had woes of his own, but her own exile came long before that. And for completely unrelated reasons. It was the pair’s bitter marriage, which frequently resulted in screaming matches, that caused her rift with the Queen.
To top it off, Sarah Ferguson had an affair with American businessman Steve Wyatt. When the evidence of the affair was leaked to the press, Prince Andrew had no choice but to file for divorce. In the years since her divorce, she has made the headlines for her huge amounts of personal debts. Prince Andrew's drama, coming up, may be considered even more controversial.
The story of Charles and Diana was a sad and well-publicized one. Diana was also not a royal, and her entry into the royal family seemed like a fairytale come true. But like so many marriages, this one didn’t pan out. Their problems, including extramarital affairs, became public knowledge.
This was another case in which the Queen stepped in and suggested a divorce. Diana was immediately stripped of her royal title, but of course her children William and Harry retained theirs. Diana did retain some royal privileges, such as an apartment in Kensington Palace. While Diana retained some privileges, Mark Phillips gave up his and even his children were not awarded any.
Parents should always make decisions, keeping in mind how they will affect their children. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had a massive decision to make regarding their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. The youngster didn't do anything to lose his royal title, and technically he never had one, to begin with.
Although he is still seventh in line to the throne, he was never given the title of Prince since his birth. It was in accordance with his parent's wishes, who were obviously already planning their escape from the royal family. He might not have any royal privileges, but he does have dual citizenship of the United Kingdom and the United States.
We know what you're thinking – how can Prince Philip be on this list? As the Queen's consort, he was one of the heads of the royal family. But technically, he was kicked out of both the Greek and Danish royal families.
He was born to be Prince of both these countries, but they had some restrictions on marriage too. Philip was only permitted to marry Elizabeth if he gave up his positions in Greece and Denmark. With the pair enjoying more than 70 years of marriage together until his passing in 2021, he obviously made the right choice.
Prince Harry might have had the option of leaving the family gracefully, but there was no such chance for Prince Andrew. He is a recent addition to the list of the Jeffrey Epstein scandal that came to light and Prince Andrew was found to have connections to the man. The scandal continued with the allegations that the Duke of York had been involved with an underage girl.
The final straw came when Prince Andrew publicly defended the convicted pedophile to the press. This was followed by a civil court case being filed against him and, with no further delay, Prince Andrew's 95-year-old mother deprived him of his military and royal titles. He can no longer be called “His Royal Highness,” and will face his civil sexual assault case as a private citizen.
This is one royal that wasn’t kicked out, but perhaps should have been. It seems that every generation of the British royal family has their troublemaker, and in the 1930s, it was Prince George – the older brother of Prince John.
The rumors that surrounded his life were pretty wild, even by today’s standards. He was said to have had affairs with both men and women, including Noel Coward. He was also apparently addicted to morphine and cocaine. He died in active service in 1942. The next tragic story needs no introduction and it may have been scandalous, like Prince Andrew's, but the ending was to no fault of her own...
Go back to the days of Queen Victoria and the restrictions for royals were even tighter. So you can imagine the scandal that broke out when the queen’s granddaughter, Princess Patricia, announced that she was planning on marrying a commoner. The man in question was Alexander Ramsey, an officer in the British Navy.
Princess Pat (as she was later known) knew it would be the end of her inclusion in the royal family, but she went ahead anyway, marrying Ramsey in 1919. Just like Harry and Meghan, they moved to Canada, where they could live something of a royal lifestyle even without the support of Queen Victoria.
When the current Queen was a child, she and her sister Princess Margaret were entrusted to a nanny by their parents. She was a Scottish woman by the name of Marion Crawford, affectionately known as “Crawfie” and she became a highly trusted member of the palace staff.
It was after her retirement that things went wrong. She published a book titled The Little Princesses that told the story of her time with the royal family. The problem was that she revealed many of the family secrets. She was kicked out of her grace and favor house and no one from the family ever spoke to her again.
It seems like marriage is continually getting the royal family into trouble. However, we can’t really blame them – no one can help who they fall in love with. However, the royals don't see it this way and are happy to kick someone out if they choose the wrong spouse.
So what was wrong with Prince Michael of Kent’s choice? The Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz certainly wasn’t a commoner – she descended from German, Austrian and Hungarian nobility. The problem was she was Catholic, forcing Prince Michael to leave behind his royal title.
Prince John was the son of King George V (grandfather of the current queen) and his wife was Queen Mary. This was not exactly an expulsion from the royal family, but a rather sad decision to remove him from the public eye. When he was just four years old, it was discovered the prince suffered from epilepsy.
Treatment was not as advanced in 1909 as it is now, and the boy was sent to live at Sandringham House. He received round the clock care but died at age 14 from a severe seizure. His illness was only revealed to the public after his death.
Now we go way back to the days of King Henry VII and it looks like royals were struggling with the same issues as they have been today: wanting to marry “unsuitable” people. Cecily of York started off in good standing – not only was she the daughter of Henry VI, but she married a nobleman.
However, just 10 years into their marriage, her husband died. The next time she got married, it was for love, to an unknown squire. The king objected to her marrying such a man without his approval or permission, and cut her from the family – confiscating her estates in the process.
This woman was pretty badly treated by the royals. She wasn’t exactly banished from the family, but rather she was never accepted into it. She had been pursued by Prince George IV, and eventually submitted on the condition that he marry her. The two did wed, but the fact that she was Catholic saw the marriage struck off as illegitimate.
George IV didn’t want to lose his chance at ascending to the throne, so he went on to marry his cousin, who would secure his future as king. Not only was Maria shunned, but George IV pretended that the whole thing had never happened, denying he had ever met her. It was later discovered that he had sent her love letters and was even buried with a figurine of her.
You might think of Victorian Britain as being the height of proper behavior, but rest assured, there were still plenty of scandals going on. Prince Edward, who would later go on to take the throne, was the source of a few of these scandals. But he wasn’t the one who paid the price.
One of his dalliances was with a married woman named Lady Mordaunt, who fell pregnant. When she gave birth to a child who was blind (a possible complication from syphilis), she admitted the affair to her husband. Her husband, Lord Mordaunt, asked for a divorce. When it wasn’t granted, he shipped her off to an asylum where she spent the rest of her life.
If you’re a royal history buff, you probably know Princess Victoria as the mother of Queen Victoria. However, she’s not well-known to most people as she was ejected from the royal family when Queen Victoria came to the throne.
Her mother and Sir John Conroy, a royal advisor, had tried to raise her daughter to be dependent on her in an attempt to keep some power for herself. When the young queen was coronated, she took her mother’s titles and banished her to a small apartment out of the pubic eye. Sir Conroy was fired from his post.
As we just saw, Princess Victoria was at one point ejected from the royal family. So her lady-in-waiting Lady Flora was no longer a popular woman at court either. Things came to a head when she showed up with the also unpopular Sir Conroy and appeared to have something of a baby bump.
The Queen was outraged and demanded a pregnancy test. Both the doctors and Lady Flora claimed she was not pregnant, but the queen refused to believe it and ostracized the woman. Flora began to show further signs of illness and eventually died, after which they discovered she had liver disease. The false accusations she had made haunted Queen Victoria for the rest of her life.
Sophia’s marriage to King George I was an arranged one. And although these unions can sometimes lead to the couple falling in love, it was not the case here, at least not on both sides. Sophia was always trying to get her husband’s attention, but he showed her no interest.
He even publicly took a mistress, even though his parents told him it was incredibly cruel. Heartbroken, Sophia started an affair of her own, but this was not as well received. When it was discovered, she was sent to live in lockdown for the rest of her life. Her husband even outlawed mourning when she died.
It wasn’t just Sophia that suffered from the wrath of King George I. Their son, George II, became resentful toward his father after his mother had been banished from court, and their relationship soured. George I was also jealous of how popular his son had become.
When George II chose the 1st Duke of Newbury, someone the king did not like, as one of the baptismal sponsors for his child, things really went south. George I banished his son from the court, along with his wife, and the pair were not able to return until after his death.
Joining his grandmother and father, Prince Frederick was also banished from court. He was the son of George II, who obviously had a mean temper after the treatment he was given by his own father. George II was said to be abusive to Frederick, who went on to become a political opponent.
Despite this unsteady relationship, Frederick asked his father for a raise in his allowance and used other officials to convince him. Frederick then made a statement by not asking his father to the birth of his daughter. This was the final straw, and George II sent his son, wife, and children away.
Back to the reign of King George I again, and we find more disagreements in the royal court. Well, actually it was the same disagreement: the affair of the king's wife, Sophia. Her lover wasn't technically part of the royal family, but a nobleman who enjoyed privileges in the court.
Once his affair with Sophia was uncovered, he disappeared. He was seized after one of his clandestine meetings with the king's wife and was never seen again. It is assumed that he was murdered on George I's orders, and his body was thrown into the Leine river.
Skip forward a couple of Georges and we find ourselves in the reign of George III. And, in a pattern that continues to repeat, his son was in trouble with the family for his marriage choices. He had married Lady Augusta Murray without his father’s knowledge or approval.
The couple was exiled in Italy, where they lived for two years before Prince Augustus was convinced to leave her with a rather large sum of money. He returned to England, leaving his children with their mother, but never married again until after her death.
One of the most detrimental and publicized love triangles in royal history, and worldwide history in general, is the love triangle involving Princess Diana, Prince Charles, and Camilla. As media reports have shown, Prince Charles was already head over heels for Camilla when he married Princess Diana in 1981.
Charles and Diana's wedding was watched by more than 50 million people from around the world and quickly became the media’s favorite topic to speculate about. After a tumultuous marriage and affairs by both parties, the couple finally separated in 1992. And in 1995, Diana famously shared with the entire world that a marriage with three people was a bit too crowded to work.
A tragic love story that was chronicled with detail in Netflix’s The Crown, Princess Margaret, and Peter Townsend's relationship was another huge scandal that the British Royal Family had to endure. Princess Margaret fell completely in love with Peter Townsend, who was sixteen years older than her at the time.
Townsend was a royal equerry and a very trusted team member of the royal house. Unfortunately, the Royal Family didn’t take the romance very well, as it forbade the couple from marrying each other unless Princess Margaret gave up all of her royal privileges.
This royal scandal is an even less glamorous one, in fact, it's very sad. In the first half of the 20th century, mental disability was looked down upon, especially if you came from a royal family. The mentally disabled were seen as an embarrassment and a threat to families of royal descent. It was a sign that something was wrong with the family.
The women in the picture are Nerissa and Katherine Bowes-Lyon, the Queen's first cousins. In 1941, they were sent to the Royal Earlswood Asylum for Mental Defectives. According to reports, they were left there and forgotten, not receiving visitors. This was the fate of mentally challenged royal members, at least in their era.
Prince Harry is not the first, and probably not the last royal who has decided to give up on their royal status. In 1936, King Edward VIII wanted to marry Wallis Simpson, who was a divorced American socialite. Unfortunately, according to the royal family, the government, and the church rules of England, King Edward wasn’t allowed to marry a divorcee.
As much as he fought, he didn’t manage to convince the royalty of his right to marry whoever he loved. For that reason, Prince Edward chose to abdicate the throne, which was passed on to his brother George VI. His marriage to Wallis lasted until his death in 1972.
Over the years, Prince Harry has had his fair share of controversial moments both in his family and in the media. So when, in 2005, he arrived at a costume party dressed as a Nazi, complete with a swastika armband and a desert uniform, the world was completely shocked.
Someone took a photo of him which was circulated in several newspapers and magazines around the world. Later on, Prince Harry issued an official statement agreeing that he had chosen a terrible costume, for which he apologized.
As much as the royal family has been loved by thousands of people over the years, they’ve also had a large number of haters. Hence, their security is one of the most expensive and enforced security systems in the world.
Sadly, in 1100, William II was hunting in England’s New Forest, until he managed to catch something with an arrow. As he ran towards whatever he had managed to hunt, a man named Walter Tirel killed William with an arrow of his own. Although it wasn’t confirmed if it was an accident or a murder, everyone was pretty sure William had been murdered.
Sarah Ferguson’s scandal was one of the biggest cash scandals in the history of the royal family. Apparently, in May 2010, the Duchess of York was caught red-handed after she agreed to give access to her ex-husband in exchange for £500,000.
What she didn’t know was that she was being filmed by an undercover news reporter who was posing as a fake businessman. She was exposed a couple of days after, causing an incredibly huge embarrassment and scandal surrounding the royal family. She later apologized for her lapse in judgment.
Queen Victoria didn’t just embark on one controversial relationship, but two! She became completely infatuated with an Indian attendant with the name of Abdul Karim. Although he started as a servant, he was quickly promoted to be a part of her inner circle.
Although it’s believed that their relationship was merely platonic, after Queen Victoria died, her family deported him back to India and did everything they could to erase his existence. Before Karim though, she liked another servant who was of Scottish descent. Some people actually believe that they secretly married.
Another scandal that involved Princess Margaret was shared in her 2002 biography, written by Noel Botham. In the book, Noel claims that the Princess allegedly did cocaine at a Rolling Stones concert back in 1967. According to her story, Princess Margaret was invited by Mick Jagger to the concert, and the drug was provided by Keith Richards.
The Princess wasn’t so scandalized with the idea of taking some, and allegedly went to the bathroom and did it. When she returned to the room, it is said that she shared how much more she was going to enjoy the concert after that. The story was naturally never confirmed by the princess, though.
It seems like this king was ready to annul his first marriage to Catherine of Aragon way too soon, but no church allowed him to do so. After the annulment was strictly denied by the Catholic Pope, Henry decided that the only solution would be to create a church of his own.
Yes, folks, Henry VII created the Church of England in 1534 and blatantly appointed himself as the church’s head. He then annulled the marriage, married five more times throughout his time, and even managed to have two of his wives beheaded. Quite the remarkable king we'd say!
After the 1568 uprising, Mary Queen of Scots had to abdicate her throne and subsequently flee to England. There, Queen Elizabeth I decided to hold her captive, as she believed that Mary was a threat to the English throne. Apparently, her worry wasn’t completely without cause, since Mary and others had plotted to kill Queen Elizabeth.
At some point, one of Queen Elizabeth's spies managed to intercept a letter written by Mary that ordered her assassination. After that happened, Queen Elizabeth ordered Mary’s beheading.
Believe it or not, even with the crazy amount of security in the Royal Palace, a man once managed to break into Queen Elizabeth II’s room in 1982. He was a British man named Michael Fagan who was unemployed and unknown at the time. He somehow climbed up the drainpipe located in Buckingham Palace and got into the Queen’s room.
The room was unguarded at that split second because a guard had left before he should have (and probably never came back again!). When the Queen woke up and saw the man, she apparently engaged in a conversation with him for 10 minutes until he asked for a cigarette. That was her opening to ask for help.
In this unfortunate event, Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth II’s daughter, had a dog that bit two young boys who were twelve and seven. The Princess was walking with her bull terrier when it attacked them.
The boys were rushed to the hospital right away and needed stitches. Princess Anne became the first senior member of the entire British Royal Family to be convicted and was ordered to pay a whopping £500 fine. She also had to provide additional compensation to the families of each child for the sum of £500.
While this one also became a pretty huge scandal, we can’t really judge Prince Charles for his attitude. In the middle of a pose next to his two sons at a Swiss ski resort, Prince Charles was asked to share some thoughts on his upcoming wedding to Camilla.
Prince Charles replied to the BBC reporter in a sarcastic tone: “I am very glad you have heard of it anyway,” and right after, whispered to William and Harry that he hated those “bloody” people, and couldn’t bear that particular reporter. He also added that he was an overall awful person. Unfortunately, he was being recorded at the time.
Some might have forgotten that in November of 1992, Windsor Castle caught fire. The disaster started in the queen’s private chapel because the room’s curtains were pressed close to the spotlight. After that, the fire spread at the speed of light, and everyone feared for their lives.
In just a couple of minutes, around 250 firefighters were deployed to the scene and eventually managed to shut down the fire. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt, but at least 115 rooms in the castle were completely destroyed. Restoring it cost approximately $60 million.
In 1988, a terrorist attack resulted in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in Scotland, which killed 259 people on board, in addition to 11 others in Lockerbie, the location where the plane fell. When Prince Philip visited the location five years later, he compared the fire that had happened the year before at Windsor Castle to the crash.
Although the fire didn’t cause the loss of any life, he literally said that they were still trying to dry out Windsor Castle, after referring to the water damage that comes after putting out a fire.
In another of Prince Philip’s offensive remarks, the Prince made an uncalled-for comment towards a tribal leader. It was in the middle of a visit with Queen Elizabeth II to the Tjapukai Cultural Park in Queensland, in Australia.
When he met tribal leader William Brin, he asked if they still threw spears at each other. The racist comment wasn’t taken so offensively by the tribe leader, who was most surprised that the Prince would say something like that. He just replied that they no longer did that, but many people took great offense to the comment.