The most scandalous royal romances of all time

When it comes to falling in love, not all Prince and Princesses follow the royal rule book! We've rounded up the most scandalous royal romances of all time.
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There’s something truly spectacular about the royals and their love lives.

From the outside, everything may appear to be all shiny tiaras, perfect place settings and elegant royal waves, but behind the scenes some of our favourite blue-blooded aristocrats have ruffled the palace’s feathers big time – all in the name of love.

As we countdown to this week’s royal wedding, which will see Princess Eugenie marry tequila brand ambassador Jack Brooksbank, what better time to take a trip down memory lane.

From Hollywood heavyweights, illicit love affairs to the ultimate sacrifice of giving up the crown, we look back at the most scandalous royal romances that shocked the palace and rocked the world…

Grace Kelly, Prince Rainier III, Prince Carl Philip, Sofia Hellqvist, Princess Charlene, Prince Albert,

Who doesn’t love a fairytale.

1. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

The world swooned over the couple’s engagement portraits.

Britannia’s reigning bachelor found love in a not so hopeless place.

At the time Harry was 32 when he well and truly broke the mould, falling for divorced American actress Meghan Markle.

While many royals have had flings with Hollywood starlets, Prince Harry made a point to declare his unwavering devotion to the then 36-year-old Suits star.

Throwing all caution to the wind, the former Army man released an official statement advising the world that Meghan was indeed his “girlfriend” and he has every intention on protecting her during this media storm.

Fast forward to 2017 and Prince Harry decided this was it.

In what can only be described as a whirlwind, Princess Diana’s son proposed… While cooking a roast chicken of all things!

The picture of unity.

In the lead up to her May 19th wedding of the decade, Meghan was been at the forefront of a ridiculous amount of scandal – caused by those closest to her The Markle Family.

You can catch up on all the drama right this way.

Despite everything from her ailing father not walking her down the aisle, to her half-siblings causing her a world of pain, one thing is evident: Meghan loves Harry and Harry loves Meghan.

And this romance will undoubtedly stand the test of time.

Meghan needn’t worry too much about all the drama that’s circled them in the lead up to their big day – she’s certainly not the only royal bride to have been caught in a storm! Keep reading to see our wrap-up of the most scandalous royal romances that rocked the world.

Can’t wait for Princess Eugenie’s Royal Wedding? See our full coverage of the event right here and be sure to check back in on Friday night as Now To Love brings you every moment as it happens!

It really is love…

2. Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III

“I fell in love with Prince Rainier without giving a thought to anything else.”

She was America’s silver screen sweetheart but Grace Kelly was destined to star in one of the greatest love stories of the 20th century.

The year was 1955, the then 25-year-old was at the height of her career after winning her very first Oscar.

Heading to the glitz and glamour of Monaco, the actress was there to promote her new film, attend a few media appearances and meet a Prince.

When Hollywood royalty falls for a real-life Prince…

At the time of their first enounter, Grace was dating French actor Jean-Pierre Aumont, but the blonde beauty had already caught Prince Rainier’s attention.

Following their meeting, Grace returned back to the States to begin filming her latest role as a princess in the The Swan. It was during this time she and Rainer began writing to one another.

By the end of the year, they were engaged and the press (rightly so) dubbed it “The Wedding of the Century”. Across the world, people celebrated the fact that a former girl from Philadelphia could end up as Grace the Princess of Monaco.

There wedding was televised across the globe.

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She famously mused, “When I married Prince Rainier, I married the man and not what he represented or what he was.”

“I fell in love with him without giving a thought to anything else.”

Grace went onto play her most iconic role as Princess of Monaco for 26 years before sadly dying in a car crash in 1982.

The former screen siren adored being a mother… Watch her reflect on parenthood in the video below.

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Grace once mused,”The idea of my life as a fairy tale is itself a fairy tale.”

3. Prince Albert and Charlene Wittstock

The pretty Olympian swam right into the arms of Monaco’s number one bachelor.

Inspired by his parents, Prince Albert found love outside the constraints of royal expectations.

Charlene, a South African Olympian, first met the royal at the Mare Nostrum swimming competition in Monte Carlo, Monaco in 2000.

It would take the duo 11 years before they tied the knot.

The duo met in 2000…

And wed 11 years later.

While the world was expecting a dazzling event, the nuptials were marred with scandal.

Talks of the blonde beauty having cold feet made headlines across the globe.

A notorious former playboy with two illegitimate children under his belt, there was chatter that Prince Albert had fathered yet another child.

Speculation was ablaze when tabloids reported that the sporting great attempted to leave Monaco on Tuesday, 28 June 2011, just days before their July wedding.

The couple went through many battles before making it to the alter.

At the time, reports claimed the Palace worked with the police to confiscate her passport so she couldn’t leave the country.

The palace denied the stories and called them “ugly rumours” born out of jealousy.

The couple clearly made up, with Charlene making it down the aisle on July 2nd – following their civil marriage the day prior.

Snaps from the day show Charlene went through a range of emotions, from sobbing to smiling.

While Charlene’s wedding was supposed to be one of the happiest of days of her life, she was plagued with doubts.

She infamously remarked, “The people I mixed with in Monaco didn’t relate to my South African mentality or humor… Although I have met some wonderful people since I’ve been living in Monaco, I regard them all as acquaintances. I only have two people I consider friends here.”

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The couple have since become parents to three-year-old twins, Princess Gabriella Therese Marie and Prince Jacques Honore Rainier.

The pair have moved on from their turbulent past and seem to be the picture of love.

In 2015, Charlene delivered a heart-felt speech in French, declaring her love for her man.

“[Prince] Albert I was the Explorer, Rainier III was the Prince-Builder, and you are the Prince of Hearts, of my heart,” the now-40-year-old beamed.

The couple found love, once more, following the arrival of their twins.

Charlene has come into her own, musing “I don’t want to be a princess who sits on the sidelines; I want to be present and actively involved. It’s a life with a purpose.”

4. King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson

A story of when your heart reigns supreme.

The 20th century sure knew how to give us sizzling royal scandals.

If it sounds like a Hollywood film, it’s because it has inspired many.

Yes, we’re talking about one of the juiciest romances of all time – the love story between a British King and a divorcée American Nazi-sympathiser.

The duo were the essence of old school glamour.

Over 80 years later and nothing compares to the saga that was Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson’s controversial love story.

Edward had been serving as Britain’s king for about 10 months before he gave it all up for the divorcée, who he’d been courting while she was still married to her second husband.

He infamously proclaimed, “I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love.”

Edward’s letter, abdicating his throne.

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The couple left England for Paris and went on to marry and embrace their role as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

Living a life of frivolity and treated like celebrities, they jet-setted across the globe and held glamorous parties where they notoriously screamed at each other in front of guests

But most shockingly, they both shared the opinion that Hitler was not a terrible human.

The couple were infamously volatile.

In fact, the couple visited Adolf before the war. The dictator, responsible for one of the most grievous acts of genocide in human history, infamously gave Wallis his substantial vote of confidence.

He mused, “she would have made a good Queen”.

Some might come to the conclusion that Ed’s pre-World War II abdication may have been a blessing…

They remained together until Edward’s passing.

5. Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend

A forbidden love story: the sister of The Queen once admitted, “I’m no angel, but I’m no Bo-Beep either.”

If you’re one of the millions across the globe who has watched The Crown, you’ll be very familiar with the sultry affair between the Queen’s sister Margaret and Group Captain Peter Townsend.

Their romance was flourished following the death of the Princess’ father, King George.

Despite clear obstacles including Peter being married with two children and 16 years her senior, the duo fell head over heels.

The romance of Peter Townsend and Margaret was immortalised on The Crown.

“She was a girl of unusual, intense beauty, confined as it was in her short, slender figure and centered about large purple-blue eyes, generous, sensitive lips, and a complexion as smooth as a peach,” Peter is said to have recalled.

“She could make you bend double with laughing and also touch you deeply in your heart,” he added.

With rumours rife about their romance, the pair were officially caught out when Margaret was spotted removing a piece of fluff from Peter’s uniform on the Queen’s Coronation Day in 1953.

Peter was a vital part of the Princess’ formative years.

The pair soon wanted to make things official and solidify their love through the act of marriage. Since the Princess was under the age of 25, she needed her big sister’s consent to go through with the nuptials.

Facing backlash from parliament, the Queen reportedly told Margaret, “Under the circumstances, it isn’t unreasonable for me to ask you to wait a year.”

Peter and his love waited for two years, until Margaret turned 25.

Sadly the British parliament decided that if the royal went through with the union, she’d be stripped of her title and all her privileges.

“She could make you bend double with laughing and also touch you deeply in your heart,” Peter quipped.

Putting duty before her heart, on October 31, 1955 she shared her heartbreaking decision to end their romance.

“I would like it to be known that I have decided not to marry Group Captain Peter Townsend,” she said.

“I have been aware that, subject to my renouncing my rights of succession, it might have been possible for me to contract a civil marriage. But, mindful of the Church’s teaching that Christian marriage is indissoluble, and conscious of my duty to the Commonwealth, I have decided to put these considerations before any others.”

Antony Armstrong-Jones, or Lord Snowdon was a society photographer who won the heart of Princess after she was unable to marry Group Captain Peter Townsend.

The pair were married between 1960 until 1978.

The pair both moved on with Margaret marrying magazine photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960 and Peter tying the knot to Marie-Luce Jamagne, a Belgium woman who bared a strong resemblance to his royal ex.

While both spoke very little of their love, Peter famously penned in his 1978 autobiography, Time and Chance, “She could have married me only if she had been prepared to give up everything – her position, her prestige, her privy purse.”

“I simply hadn’t the weight, I knew it, to counterbalance all she would have lost.”

Watch the royal addresses the end of her romance in the video below.. Article continues!

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The couple, who shared their two children, David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon, and Lady Sarah Chatto, went on to remain firm friends with the photographer snapping many official photos for the family, including the first portraits of Prince William with his little brother Harry.

6. Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist

Prince Charming fell head over heals for reality TV royalty.

It’s a tale as old as time. A dashing Prince falls for a former reality star/men’s magazine model… and then he puts a ring on it.

Prince Carl Philip and his now-wife Princess Sofia certainly take out the award for the most modern love story!

The pair first met in 2010 thanks to a chance encounter when they were having dinner at the same restaurant and their friends happened to know each other.

From energy drink launches, like this one in 2006, to living in a palace! The former Sofia Hellquist’s life has changed drastically since meeting the fourth-in-line to the Swedish throne, who was once branded the “playboy Prince”.

These days, the couple are loving life as parents.

“We started with a shy greeting and everything followed,” Carl Philip admitted.

Sofia reflected, “Some people said we clicked from the start.”

“But I could never believe it would end like this. Everyone who knows Carl Philip notices at once that he is an incredibly humble, warm and kind person. The more I got to know him, the more my love for him grew.”

What a doting Prince!

A year later they moved in together.

While everything seemed to be running smoothly, the couple faced backlash due to Sofia’s unconventional past.

The 33-year-old was best known as a model for men’s magazines and for her role in the reality TV series Paradise Hotel.

Rocking numerous tattoos, and often snapped wearing unique and risqué outfits, it took a while for the Swedish to warm to her.

On June 13, 2015, the stunning couple tied the knot in Stockholm’s Royal Palace chapel in a lavish ceremony.

Thankfully the Prince stood by his leading lady.

With reports circulating that the Prince’s two sisters, Crown Princess Victoria, 40, and Princess Madeleine, 35 – disapproved of the union, the royal made a very clear and public stance.

When asked if his family disapproved of his partner he retorted, “Absolutely not, not at all. My parents and my sisters were curious about her, open, and welcomed her with a big hug.”

Fall in love and see Prince Carl Philip raise a toast for his wife… Post continues!

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The look of love…

While Sofia says she felt welcomed by the family, has “no regrets” about her past.

“A lot has been written over the years, not only following our engagement,” she said.

“For me it’s pretty boring, it happened 10 years ago and I’ve moved on with my life. But no regrets. Experience shapes a person.”

On June 13, 2015, the stunning couple tied the knot in Stockholm’s Royal Palace chapel in a lavish ceremony and a year later they welcomed their first child Prince Alexander, followed by Prince Gabriel, Duke of Dalarna in 2017.

Their first year of marriage has been extremely special with the pair welcoming their first child in April – Crown Prince Alexander Erik Hubertus Bertil of Sweden.

7. Princess Mako of Japan and Kei Komuro

Princess Mako’s beau has been kept under wraps, but it’s believe Kei, now a lawyer, once worked as a “Prince of the Sea” to promote tourism to the beaches of Shonan in the Kanagawa coast.

Now this is giving us a royal flush!

Princess Mako, the granddaughter of Japan’s emperor, is believed to be engaged to a commoner.

Reports out Japan reveal the elder daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko is set to marry Kei Komuro, a former university classmate.

Kei, who currently works at a law firm, once worked as “Prince of the Sea” to promote tourism to the beaches of Shonan in Kanagawa coast.

The family is yet to officially comment on the news. This is the first engagement among the four grandchildren of the emperor and Empress Michiko.

The couple first met about five years ago through a friend at International Christian University.

And while sources claim Princess Mako’s parents accept the relationship, under the Imperial House Law, female members of the imperial family will lose the status of royal family members when they marry commoners.

Princess Mako of Japan

Her Imperial Highness Princess Mako of Akishino is the first born granddaughter of the Japanese emperor.

However, Imperial Law dictates that only a male can rise to the throne.

This is undoubtedly tragic news for the Japanese monarch, with the number of Imperial family members will drop to 18, and that of female members to 13.

Princess Mako’s sacrifice for love has reignited a national debate in Japan about whether women should be allowed to retain Imperial status after marriage and rise to the throne.

Currently, Imperial House Law allows only a male to take the throne.

And the family currently has only one young male, Mako’s younger brother 10-year-old Prince Hisahito.

The 26-year-old princess is certainly a groundbreaking woman.

Four years ago she carried out her dreams of moving to England to study a Masters in Art Museum and Gallery Studies… And her royal status went completely undetected.

Known as Mako at Uni, the Princess lived in on-campus accommodation, had no special treatment and even the people of Japan were kept in the dark about her time in England.

It was only as the royal finished off her Masters that a press conference was called in her homeland to reveal the news.

Speaking about her time she said, “I would like to express my sincere gratitude for having had the opportunity to pursue my studies in such a favourable environment. It has been a very fruitful year for me. I hope to apply what I have learned at postgraduate school in the future.”

We can’t wait for their royal wedding, which has since been postponed, and we expect Her Imperial Highness Princess Mako of Akishino will be breaking down some royal barriers as she makes her way down the aisle.

Speaking of why they have pushed back their wedding, the couple say it’s “because of our immaturity and we just regret it.”

Fingers crossed they make it to the aisle.

Mako lived among students in a hall of residence, and even did a work placement at Leicester’s New Walk Museum.

Honourable Mention: Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling

Princess Victoria ran head first into love with her fitness beau Daniel.

Heiress to the Swedish throne, Crown Princess Victoria married her personal trainer Daniel Westling, now known as Prince Daniel, in June 2010 on the 34th anniversary of Queen Silvia and King Carl XVI Gustaf’s wedding.

Taking a page out of Prince Philip’s book, Daniel famously mused, “My main task is to be [Victoria’s] support, especially in her next assignment as head of state.”

“I have an understanding of what it meant by ‘role model’, which is my wife.”

The Crown Princess first met Daniel during a session in his Stockholm gym, back in 2002.

Honourable Mention: Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Donaldson

The real life Australian fairytale.

18 years ago, no could have predicted a royal love story for the ages was about to unfold.

Mary Donaldson first crossed paths with Fred at Sydney CBD pub the Slip Inn during the 2000 Olympics. Unbeknownst to the then 28-year-old, she had no idea she’d just met a Danish royal.

“The first time we met we shook hands,” she recalled. “I didn’t know he was the prince of Denmark. Half an hour later someone came up to me and said, ‘Do you know who these people are?'”

Who knew a gal from Tassie would one day be the Queen of Denmark.

Two years later, on October 8, 2003, it was announced that the couple were officially engaged.

“I don’t recall wishing that one day I would be a princess,” Mary said shortly after the engagement. “I wanted to be a veterinarian.”

The couple was married on May 14, 2004, at Copenhagen Cathedral in the nation’s capital.

These days Mary and Fred are the proud parents to their darling four kids.

“From today, Mary is mine and I am hers,” Fred said at the altar.

“I love her and I will protect her with all my love.”

Today, the future Danish Queen and her charming husband, who celebrated their copper anniversary a year ago, are the proud parents to their four kids Prince Christian, Princess Isabella and twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine.

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