You’d Be Surprised How Many Royal Marriages Have Ended in Divorce

Royal life isn’t always a fairytale. Joining the British royal family might seem like everyone’s dream, but in reality, it’s a lot to handle — just ask Meghan Markle, whose been battling the press pretty much since the day she walked into Prince Harry’s life. And every once in a while, a marriage that everyone thought was perfect doesn’t last — but you might be surprised how many British royals have actually been divorced.

Prince Charles Princess Diana
Prince Charles and Princess Diana | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Princess Diana and Prince Charles

Easily the most infamous divorce in modern British royal family history was that of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. The couple wed in 1981, though it’s clear now that they were never in love. Charles always wanted to be with Camilla Parker Bowles, but when she married someone else, he settled for Diana. Charles and Camilla eventually rekindled their affair behind Diana’s back, and things clearly didn’t stay a secret for too long. Diana eventually learned of the affair, and she and Charles separated for several years before finalizing their divorce in in 1996.

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson

Charles’ younger brother, Prince Andrew, went through a divorce the same year as Charles and Diana. Andrew had been married to Sarah Ferguson, and together they have two daughters, Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice. Sarah admitted that marrying Andrew wasn’t what she thought it would be; she said she got the royal life but lost the royal she’d married, since Andrew was always away. Though the two have been divorced for more than 20 years, they still get along well. They’ve even been spotted together since Andrew has been caught up in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal.  

Prince Andrew, Sarah Ferguson, Princess Beatrice
Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson attend daughter Princess Beatrice’s college graduation in 2011 | Ian Nicholson/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones

Antony Armstrong-Jones wasn’t Princess Margaret’s first choice for a husband. She actually wanted to marry Peter Townsend, but he had already been divorced, and the royal family would not allow the two to marry. Instead, Margaret married Antony, and though they lived a swell life on the outside, they were both rumored to have been having affairs. The couple finalized their divorce in 1978, but it looked horrible on the Princess, since it was nearly unheard of for someone so prominent to divorce without leaving a trail of shame. (Thankfully, the monarchy has become more accepting since then).

Princess Anne and Mark Phillips

The same year that Andrew and Charles’ marriages failed, so did Princess Anne’s. She had been separated from her husband, Mark Phillips, for about six years before the divorce was finalized, and the two initially denied that they’d ever truly divorce. However, once again, infidelity was involved, and eventually they had to bite the bullet and split up for good. Anne remarried Timothy Laurence, and the two are still together.

King Henry VIII

Though he’s not a current royal, King Henry VIII made history for many reasons, and a major one surrounded his divorce. He had married Catherine of Aragon, though he wished to divorce her and marry Anna Boleyn. However, divorce was not allowed in the Catholic church, so Henry VIII actually broke away from the church and formed his own church, known as the Church of England (most of us learned about it in history class). This allowed Henry VIII to divorce his first wife and marry his second wife, which is probably the furthest extreme to which any British royal has ever gone to end a marriage.