Royal romances are something we can only dream of. There have been so many royal romances over the years, but did you know some were met with controversy? From a twice-divorced American causing a king to abdicate to a runaway princess bride, we’ll explore six relationships that caused a public outcry.
If this one does well, this might be part of a series of posts, so please strap in. Also, just as an FYI, the Sussexes will not be included. Also, titles will NOT be included in the titles of each section.
1. Albert And Charlene – Monaco
When you thought royal romances weren’t complicated, think again. In 2011, Prince Albert of Monaco, the only son of the late Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier, married South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock. However, the ruler of the Monaco Principality had a scandalous reputation.
Albert had two children out of wedlock: a daughter and a son to two different women. While this wasn’t a problem for Charlene, the issue came when a story sent her over the edge just days before the wedding. Her soon-to-be husband had allegedly fathered a third child. This allegedly happened while he was with Charlene, whom he had dated for 11 years and had, therefore, allegedly cheated on her.
Distressed over this news, Charlene tried to escape three times, according to Marie Claire UK. The bride cried during the entirety of the ceremony. Though, the controversy wasn’t anything new to the Monaco royals. Albert’s younger sister, Princess Stéphanie, had also had two children out of wedlock and later married their father, which legitimised them.
Albert and Charlene later had twins, Heredity Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella. However, Charlene, even to this day, seems to want nothing to do with her husband and remains married to him for the sake of their two children. She allegedly lives in Switzerland and has proclaimed that her marriage is happy in a recent interview transcribed by Town and Country.
2. Carl Philip and Sofia – Sweden
Some people are plain strange in what they see as “controversial”, so the surprise engagement of Prince Carl Philip to Sofia Hellqvist raised a few eyebrows in Sweden. However, royal families all have “standards” of what a future royal should be. Not every person fits the expected “criteria”.
Sofia was a heavy partier who had taken questionable photos for a Swedish men’s magazine. She had also kissed a female contestant while filming the Swedish version of Paradise Hotel in Las Vegas. She also had a well-known feud with another female contestant.
The marriage proceeded as planned, and the couple are now parents to three sons, Princes Alexander, Gabriel and Julian.
3. Andrew And Koo – Britain
Of all the royal romances, this one didn’t last. Before Meghan Markle hooked her claws into Prince Harry and before Sophie Winkleman married Lord Frederick Windsor, there was Koo Stark, an American girlfriend of Prince Andrew before he married Sarah Ferguson in 1986.
Some consider Koo the only serious love affair Prince Andrew has ever had. However, the relationship caused controversy. She was an actress with a rather risqué past, appearing in a film where she was topless.
Koo also appeared in a deleted scene in the original Star Wars movie, where she played Camie, a friend of Luke Skywalker. She also auditioned for the role of Princess Leia but lost to Carrie Fisher.
Andrew and Koo dated for two years and broke up after pressure from The Queen. It was after this that he would date and later marry Sarah Ferguson. He would also become the godfather of Koo’s daughter, Tatiana Walker.
4. Mako And Kei – Japan
We have many opinions about the Japanese Imperial family, but know this: they’re insanely sexist. The men are allowed to marry commoners, but the women are not allowed to do so without risking losing their royal titles. It has happened several times over the years.
So, Princess Mako is the latest Japanese royal to lose her title because she “dared” to marry a commoner. The marriage caused outrage from her family. After a press conference, the couple moved to New York, where Kei works as a lawyer.
We’ve written that people compare Mako to Meghan Markle, which is inaccurate. Mako was forced to give up her titles. Meghan was a commoner who married a prince. This is before she quit the royal life she had worked hard to worm her way into.
5. Haakon And Mette-Merit – Norway
Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit are actual love goals. But of the royal romances on this list, their love has to be the least controversial. At least by today’s standards. Mette-Marit was a single mother when she met and later married Haakon. She also had limited education, used drugs and had a short rap sheet.
At the time of the relationship becoming public, the relationship was questioned. When the couple became engaged, Haakon gave Mette-Marit the same engagement ring passed from his grandfather and then his father.
Haakon and Mette-Marit became parents to a daughter and the future Queen of Norway, Ingrid Alexandra, a year into their marriage. They later had a son, Prince Sverre Magnus. Haakon is also the stepfather of Marius, Mette-Marit’s son.
6. Edward VIII And Wallis – Britain
The death of King George V was supposed to usher into a new era with his eldest son, Edward, taking the throne. However, there was a hiccup just months into his reign. He had fallen in love with Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American socialite, and he had to choose between being with her or the crown.
Edward chose Wallis, and he abdicated. This caused a massive scandal as it meant his younger brother, Prince Albert, The Duke of York, would be on the throne in his place. Albert became King George VI, meaning his eldest daughter, Princess Elizabeth, would become monarch upon his death.
Queen Elizabeth, George VI’s wife, never forgave Edward for choosing Wallis over the throne, which added stress to Albert, who already had failing health due to his smoking habit.
Upon Edward’s abdication, he married Wallis in the same month her second divorce was finalised. They were given the titles of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. However, what upset Edward was his wife was not given the styling of Her Royal Highness, a title he fought to get her until he died. However, behind closed doors, the staff informally addressed her as Royal Highness, despite publically having the styling of Her Grace.
What’s more, the marriage was opposed not just by the royal family, but the British government too.