9 of the Biggest Royal Wedding Scandals Throughout History
Weddings should be a day of pure celebration—unless you’re part of the most famous families in the world.
William and Kate didn’t invite the Duchess of York to their wedding
Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, has stayed on good terms with ex-husband Prince Andrew, son of Queen Elizabeth, but the rest of the royal family hasn’t been so quick to embrace her again after their 1996 divorce. When Prince William and Kate Middleton married in 2011, the Duchess of York was conspicuously absent, even though her daughters, Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, were in attendance. The lack of invitation was hard “because I wanted to be there with my girls … to be getting them dressed and to go as a family,” she confessed on The Oprah Winfrey Show. “Also, it was so hard, because the last bride up that aisle was me.” Learn about the rules the royal family must follow at weddings.
King Edward VIII abdicates in the name of love
Universal History Archive/Shutterstock
When Britain’s Edward VIII became king after his father died in 1936, he was already in love with a married (and previously divorced) American, Wallis Warfield Simpson. Later that year, Simpson had a preliminary decree of divorce from her second marriage, but the rest of the royal family still refused to accept her affair with the king. By December, King Edward VIII announced he was giving up the crown (meaning his descendants would lose their place in line, too), and the couple got married in June 1937 in France. The new king, George VI, named his brother Duke of Windsor but refused to give his sister-in-law the rank of “royal highness.” Check out these other 15 little-known facts about past royal weddings.
Queen Elizabeth II misses her son’s wedding
Prince Charles’s marriage-ending affair with Camilla Parker-Bowels was surrounded in enough scandal when it was revealed that Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip wouldn’t be attending their son’s second wedding. Her Majesty insisted her absence wasn’t a snub against the marriage but was a sign of prioritizing her role as Supreme Governor of the Church of England over any motherly duties. Still, recent reports claim the Queen drunkenly called Camilla “that wicked woman” soon after Diana’s death. Find out what really happened between Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
Princess Diana says the wrong name
When marrying Prince Charles in 1981, Lady Diana Spencer had an awkward mix-up when she said the wrong name during her vows. Thankfully, she didn’t accidentally slip in the name of a former flame, but she called the groom “Philip Charles” instead of “Charles Philip.” Oops! But Charles had his own flub, mentioning “they goods” instead of “my worldly goods.”
The Prince of Hanover’s dad skips his wedding
Before Prince Ernst-August Jr. of Hanover married his eight-year girlfriend Ekaterina Malysheva in July 2017, his father had one message: I want my castles back. Prince Ernst-August V refused to accept the marriage, asking his son to return an estimated $100 million worth of property he’d been given a decade earlier to “preserve the interests of the House of Hanover.” Ersnt-August Jr. wouldn’t budge, so his father skipped the ceremony. For some happier royal wedding moments, get a look at the most iconic royal wedding photos of all time.
Monaco’s Princess Charlene sobs through the ceremony
Right after Charlene Wittstock married Prince Albert of Monaco, rumors flew that the marriage was a sham. Reportedly, Charlene had found out Albert had fathered two illegitimate children with other women after their relationship began, so the princess-to-be had tried fleeing three times to avoid marrying the cheater. The couple denied the rumors and sued The Sunday Times for libel, but the fact that Princess Charlene had cried through most of the ceremony (Happy tears? Sad tears? Hard to tell.) left some eyebrows raised.
Meghan Markle’s dad skips her wedding
Tabloids had claimed for months that Meghan Markle’s dad wouldn’t be walking her down the aisle, but Kensington Palace squashed the rumors, announcing Thomas Markle would attend with an “important” role. Fast-forward to less than a week before the wedding, and the father of the bride was caught in a scandal of staging pre-wedding “paparazzi” photos for good press, plus had to undergo heart surgery. Two days before the wedding, Meghan confirmed her father wouldn’t be able to attend while he recovered, and made plans for father-in-law-to-be Prince Charles to accompany her down the aisle instead. Check out these other 11 ways Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding will make history.
Princess Stéphanie of Monaco marries her former bodyguard
Princess Stéphanie met her future husband Daniel Ducruet in 1988 when he was working as her bodyguard. That factoid might have earned enough whispers if they hadn’t also had two children out of wedlock before tying the knot in 1995. The marriage didn’t last long— Ducruet was caught on tape cheating on his wife the next year, and the scandal led to a quick divorce.
Prince Frederick’s new wife gets sick
When 17-year-old Augusta of Saxe-Gotha arrived in London to marry Frederick, Prince of Wales, in 1795, she barely knew her fiancé and didn’t speak his language. Understandably, she had pretty major wedding jitters and threw up on her own dress and her future mother-in-law’s on her way up the aisle. Here are 15 more of the worst royal wedding mishaps in history.