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.
Prince Andrew was accused of having sex with a 17-year-old girl, against her will, thanks to his friend Jeffrey Epstein, who reportedly "procured" the girl for the prince. The palace vehemently denied the claims, which surfaced in 2015.
In a lawsuit she filed against Epstein, Virginia Roberts also claimed Prince Andrew forced her into sex — an allegation the judge on the case ordered to be struck from the record.
Prince Charles made no secret of his love for Camilla Parker-Bowles, before, during, or after his marriage to Diana Spencer. Charles and Camilla met in 1970, but couldn't marry due to Camilla's "promiscuous" history (she had had previous boyfriends). Charles married Diana, and together they had two sons; however, Charles never stopped loving Camilla, and in 1986, they began an affair.
In an interview, Diana admitted she knew full well of the affair, and had even confronted Camilla about it. Controversially, Charles and Camilla married in 2005, eight years after Diana's death.
Scandal-plagued Sarah Ferguson was once caught accepting a bribe of over £500,000 in exchange for open access to her ex-husband, Prince Andrew. In May 2010, the press released footage of Ferguson putting £40,000 in her purse and demanding 500,000 more; in exchange, she said, she could "open doors."
Ferguson later went on Oprah to explain herself, claiming she had a drinking problem at the time. Remarkably, Andrew forgave her.
Charles's affair with Camilla Parker Bowles was no secret to Diana, who had an affair of her own with army captain James Hewitt. Not surprisingly, the Prince and Princess of Wales couldn't hide their extramarital relationships from the public, either, and both had personal and revealing phone calls leaked.
Charles's conversation was insanely scandalous and dubbed "Tampongate," as the conversation involved Charles telling Camilla he wanted to live in her underpants, perhaps as a tampon. Diana's was a bit more innocent; the conversation, which she insisted was not adulterous in its nature, involved a man named James Gilbey calling her "Squidgy" numerous times.