Weird History
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A Definitive List Of The Most Famous Scandals From The Modern British Royal Family

Updated December 18, 2020 402.8k views14 items

Scandals always captivate the public, and British royal family scandals are the cream of the crop, proving the family is not exempt from the grip of impropriety and public embarrassment. The modern royal family, the Windsors, is headed by Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning queen England has ever had. Her children, unfortunately, have borne the brunt of numerous scandals over the years: Prince Andrew allegedly slept with a 17-year-old sex slave; Prince Charles had a salacious affair that was highly publicized; and Princess Anne, who was once nearly kidnapped, was beseiged by adultery rumors concerning her ex-husband. Of course, scandal is not new to the royal family. Queen Elizabeth's uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated his throne to marry a divorcee, and the story of the love affair between Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend, a married man, was huge news during the '50s. 

This list details the most sordid and highly publicized scandals the Windsors have experienced in modern history.

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  • Prince Harry Wore A Nazi Costume

    In 2005, when Prince Harry was only 20, he made an unfortunate choice when he decided to dress up as a Nazi for a fancy dress costume party. The young prince wore a white shirt with a red armband emblazoned with a swastika.

    The public seemed split over the costume, with many calling for Harry's removal from the Royal Military Academy, and others deeming the stunt a simple "lack of judgment."

  • Photo: Mikepaws / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    A Man Snuck Into Queen Elizabeth's Bedroom

    In 1992, Michael Fagan climbed a drain pipe and entered Queen Elizabeth II's private bedroom. She spoke to him for 10 minutes and was able to alert security to his presence when the intruder asked for a cigarette; she enlisted a footman to keep Fagan occupied until security arrived.

    Fagan wasn't charged, but in 2007, it became a criminal offense to trespass on protected sites in the United Kingdom.

  • Sarah Ferguson, Duchess Of York, Was Once Photographed Getting Her Toe Sucked While She Sunbathed Topless

    Sarah Ferguson married Prince Andrew in 1986, but their union was short lived. In 1992, the pair separated, and not long after, Ferguson was caught in a scandal when she was photographed on vacation with her financial advisor, John Bryan.

    The scandal wasn't that she was with another man, though; it was that the photograph depicted Bryan apparently sucking on her toes. The royal family, who already disliked Ferguson, completely shunned her, as did the public.

  • Princess Margaret May Have Done Coke Before A Rolling Stones Concert

    Noel Botham wrote a biography of Princess Margaret titled Margaret: The Last Real Princess. In it Botham alleges that Margaret snorted cocaine before a Rolling Stones concert in 1967. The drug was allegedly supplied by Keith Richards. The Princess reportedly said, "Ah, cocaine. Such an amusing drug, don’t you think?" 

    Then when she came out of the bathroom after snorting it, she told Mick Jagger and Richards, "I’m going to enjoy your concert even more after that."