19 Embarrassing Scandals the Royal Family Will Never Live Down

Image: Splash News

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Splash News

The British Royal Family appears to be the epitome of perfection with their mannered public appearances and polite and proper demeanor. But the truth is, behind closed palace doors, the royals are a family marked by scandals and secrets. Seriously, given all the headlines over the years, one would think that E!'s scripted drama The Royals isn't all that far off! 

But all the drama is part of what the world loves about the royals. Without it, the family wouldn't be nearly as intriguing or fun to follow, right? 

Of course, certain scandals have been more tearjerking or troubling than entertaining. Consider Princess Diana and Prince Charles' divorce and all of the trauma that occurred before the pair officially split. Her utterly tragic death. Prince Harry's outrageously offensive move on Halloween 2004. 

That said, there have been headline-making moments that got the entire royal crew all worked up, and in retrospect, perhaps they were jaw-dropping to the world of the '70s, '80s, or '90s, but today, they'd be consider NBD.  

Here, the most deliciously dramatic royal family scandals.

  • Peek-a-Boob

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    Image via Tony Clark / Splash News

    Long before she was mom to George and Charlotte, Kate Middleton was just another topless sunbather being photographed by a cameraman in the bushes. The palace was horrified and so was Kate, but the world somehow managed to survive seeing Kate's boobs.

  • Harry's Naked Photos

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    Image via Splash News

    When he was unleashed for a weekend of partying in Vegas, he ended up playing billiards in his birthday suit. Unfortunately, a kind friend leaked the nude photos of Prince Harry cupping his crotch and groping another naked billiards player to the press. The palace, of course, had "No Comment." Undoubtedly a lot of women who viewed the photos did.

  • Prince Charles Wanted to Be ... WHAT?

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    Image via Splash News

    Long before Prince Charles married second wife and first love Camilla Parker Bowles, the two were caught on tape having the royal version of phone sex. The tawdry conversations included Charles saying he wanted to be Camilla's tampon. Ew, Charles. Just ew.

  • When the Duchess of York Played Footsie

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    Splash News

    Not long after she had separated from Prince Andrew, Sarah Ferguson's foot was literally in the mouth of Texas businessman John Bryan. The palace was embarrassed, as if they weren't already.

    More from CafeMom: 12 Times Kate Middleton & the Royals Couldn't Hide Their Dislike for Each Other

  • When Sarah Ferguson Tried to Sell Prince Andrew

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    With her career as Prince Andrew's wife not taking off, Ferguson was looking to make a few bucks when she tries to sell an undercover reporter unlimited access to the Prince Andrew in exchange for the small price of approximately $700,000.

  • James Hewitt Tried to Sell Diana's Letters

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    Splash News

    Princess Diana wasn't shy about admitting her five-year affair with the cavalry officer, but it wasn't until after her death that Hewitt tried to sell Diana's love letters to him. He has since been living in Marbella, Spain, after the scandal went public. Ouch.

  • Diana's Brother Rips the Family Apart

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    Tom Meinelt/Splash News

    After the palace stripped Princess Diana of her title and treated her less than princess-like, her brother was open about his disdain for the royal family. In Charles Spencer's eulogy for his sister, he said she didn't need her former title and had found happiness with Dodi Fayed. Burn!

  • The Photos of Kate's Butt

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    Splash News

    While it is widely known that the Queen has weights sewn into her hemlines to reduce the potential of the wind forcing her to give all of England a free show, Kate Middleton has had many near misses when it comes to the wind and her skirt. But on a trip to Australia with a helicopter whirring behind her, Kate's skirt flew up and photographers published photos of her behind. 

    More from CafeMom: 8 Times Kate Middleton Clearly Hated Prince William

  • Charles & Diana Get a Divorce

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    Corbis/Splash News

    Their romance started as a fairy-tale arranged marriage with both later admitting to extramarital affairs and a polite disdain for each other. Divorce is frowned upon in the royal family. Instead, couples are requested to suffer into eternity together. Upon their divorce, Diana was paid a lump sum. And despite being stripped of her title, she no longer had to spend her life with Charles.

  • Prince Philip Drops the F-Bomb

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    Keelane/Splash News

    While being photographed for the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain, Prince Philip grew impatient and yelled to a photographer, "Just take the eff-ing picture." The Queen's husband is known for his off-color remarks, like the time he visited China and said, "If you stay here too long you become slitty-eyed." Good thing he's a royal and not a politician or he'd lose his job, right?

  • Prince Andrew Dates an Adult Film Star

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    Splash News

    On vacation in the Caribbean after serving time in the Falklands, Andrew was photographed with Koo Stark, an American who had previously dabbled in the adult film business. All of England gasped, but apparently Andrew wasn't listening. 

    More from CafeMom: 16 Times Kate Middleton's Hot Legs Stole the Show

  • Princess Anne's Husband Has a Baby With Someone Else

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    Splash News

    When Princess Anne's first husband road horses out of town, Mark Phillips apparently also had an affair with art teacher Heather Tonkin. In 1981, a DNA test proved Tonkin's daughter was actually Phillips's. Anne and Philips divorced a year later.

  • Princess Margaret's Naked Photos

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    Demis Maryannakis /Splash News

    Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth's sister, was reportedly the beauty of the family and married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960. He became known as the Earl of Snowdon. Margaret reportedly carried on many affairs during her marriage to Snowdon. When robbers broke in to the Baker Street Branch of Lloyd's of London, they stole among other things nude photos of Margaret with a man who was not her husband. The story later became the premise for the Jason Statham film "The Bank Job."

  • Princess Diana's Phone Calls Aren't Private

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    Corbis / Splash News

    While Princess Diana seemed shy in public, on the phone she was anything but. When transcripts of Diana's private conversations with a special friend James Gilbey became public, they provided insight into the publicly shy princess including her description of her marriage to Charles as "real torture." 

    More from CafeMom: 8 Times Kate Middleton Channeled Princess Diana's Style

  • When Prince Harry Went to Rehab

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    Zak Hussein/Splash

    Back when Harry was just 17, he told Prince Charles that he’d tried marijuana on numerous occasions and participated in underage drinking and ended up going to a drugs rehabilitation clinic for a one-day stay. An official at St. James’ Palace said it was a way “to learn about the possible consequences of starting to take cannabis.”

  • When Harry Was Photographed Wearing a Nazi Armband

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    Toby Melville/Reuters/SPlash

    Scandal struck Harry once more a few years later when he was spotted at a costume party wearing a Nazi armband. In response, Clarence House released a statement that read, “Prince Harry has apologised for any offence or embarrassment he has caused. He realises it was a poor choice of costume.”

  • Princess Anne Fell in Love With a Royal Staff Member

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    Splash News

    Another Princess Anne scandal that swirled around her 1992 divorce: The princess had fallen in love with her one of her equerries, Timothy Laurence, who was a British Naval officer. After announcing her divorce with Phillips, Anne added that she’d be marrying Laurence.

  • Prince Charles Dated Princess Diana's Sister First 

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    Splash News
    Princess Di's eldest sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, is known for having introduced the future Princess of Wales to Prince Charles. But before that, McCorquodale reportedly dated the prince briefly in the '70s. But their dalliance ended when she said she'd never marry Charles “if he were the dustman or the King of England.” Burn!

  • When Kate Middleton Pulled a Marilyn Monroe 

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    Zak Hussein/Splash

    Back in 2014, Us Weekly reported that a German tabloid published photos of Kate with her dress up a la Marilyn. The palace did not comment on the decision to publish the photo.

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