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We all love to sit around and fantasize about fairytale weddings and royal romances. After all, who doesn’t love a good love story, especially when it involves a handsome prince and a gorgeous princess? Since we get obsessed with all of the details in royal relationships, we’re often horrified when the curtain is pulled back and everything isn’t as rosy as we thought. Just like commoners, royals aren’t immune to divorce.

Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana had one of the most shocking divorces of all time. Prince Andrew, the future king’s younger brother also had a divorce that was riddled with scandal and humiliation. Despite all of this, royals try to handle divorces with as much dignity and grace as they can muster. An alarming amount of protocol must happen when royals get divorced. You won’t believe what Princess Diana had to do in the wake of her failed marriage (page 12).

1. A modern revolution

Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones
Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones | AFP/Getty Images
  • Princess Margaret’s 1978 divorce was the first in modern royal history.

Divorce is a modern revolution amongst the royals. In fact, there was a massive crisis in 1936 when King Edward VII decided to abdicate the throne because the crown refused to grant him permission to marry American commoner, Wallis Simpson. Simpson had been divorced twice before. There would be no Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex without the W/E scandal.

In fact, when Queen Elizabeth’s sister, Princess Margaret wanted to marry divorced military man Peter Townsend, parliament refused to grant their permission. The princess went on to marry Antony Armstrong-Jones, a photographer. When their marriage ended 18 years later in 1978, it was the first divorce for a senior member of the royal family since 1901.

Next: The royal family doesn’t grant quickie divorces.