The British Royal Family’s Most Scandalous Love Affairs, Revealed

Plenty of families out there experience scandals. The royal family, on the other hand, has made scandal a work of art for many, many years. While most people are familiar with Prince Charles’ scandalous relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles, he is far from the only royal to engage in disreputable behavior. Here are some of the most scandalous love affairs to occur in the royal family.

Princess Diana and James Hewitt

Princess Diana and James Hewitt collage.

Left: Prince Diana in a stunning red jacket. | WPA/Pool/Getty Images, Right: James Hewitt in 2004. | Steve Finn/Getty Images

Princess Diana reportedly carried out many affairs during her rocky marriage to Prince Charles. But her relationship with James Hewitt is probably the most scandalous of all. The red-headed army officer told sources that his love affair with the Princess of Wales started in the mid-1980s, sparking a storm of rumors that he was the birth father of Diana’s ginger-haired son, Prince Harry. (Hewitt has denied the allegations.)

Sarah Ferguson and John Bryan

Sarah Ferguson and her boyfriend near a pool.

The controversial photo spread like wildfire. | YouTube

The royal family had its fair share of issues with Fergie while she was married to Prince Andrew. But she really gave them reason to shun her when her affair with American businessman John Bryan came to light. To make matters worse, the former Duchess of York was photographed sunbathing topless while Bryan sucked on her toes — and she was reportedly with the royal family when the photo went public.

Captain Mark Phillips and the art teacher

Captain Mark Phillips on his daughter's wedding day.

Mark Phillips had his fair share of scandals. | Pool/Getty Images

To put it bluntly, Princess Anne’s first husband had trouble keeping it in his pants. He had a number of affairs throughout his loveless marriage to the princess royal. However his most notorious liaison was with an art teacher in New Zealand, with whom he fathered a love child. There was a paternity suit in 1991, and Princess Anne officially divorced Phillips in 1992.

Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend

Peter Townsend walking out of a building.

Peter Townsend’s relationship to Princess Margaret caused quite a stir. | Central Press/Getty Images

All marriages in the royal family have to be okay-d by Queen Elizabeth. And in 1953, she denied her younger sister, Princess Margaret, the right to marry royal equerry Peter Townsend. In addition to being almost two decades older than Margaret, Townsend was also a divorcee and couldn’t be married into the family. The queen reportedly denied the marriage multiple times, and Margaret’s title was threatened.

Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson

King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson in front of a building.

He was willing to give up his throne for Simpson. | Central Press/Stringer/Getty Images

Like Princess Margaret, King Edward VIII had an affair with a divorcee, named Wallis Simpson. American-born Simpson was actually twice divorced, and the Church of England would not recognize the union. Edward abdicated the throne and wed Simpson in France, creating a massive stir in the royal family.

Princess Diana and James Gilbey

James Gilby smiling in a red sweater.

His phone calls to Princess Diana were intercepted. | YouTube

Princess Diana got caught red-handed in 1992 when a British intelligence agency recorded a phone call between her and her supposed lover, James Gilbey — and the tapes were leaked to the public. The highlight of the call was that Gilbey referred to her by the pet name “Squidgy” multiple times. Buckingham Palace didn’t acknowledge the tapes, but the press couldn’t get enough of “Squidgygate.”

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles

Prince Charles and Camila Parker Bowles sit during an interview.

Prince Charles had an affair with Camilla during his marriage to Princess Diana. | Abdelhak Senna/AFP/Getty Images

The Prince of Wales and his long-time squeeze Camilla engaged in a romantic relationship before both marrying other people. While a definitive timeline isn’t really known, it is believed that Charles spent a good part of his marriage to Princess Diana having an affair with Camilla. The two finally married in 2005 and have been together ever since.

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