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Dec. 8, 2022

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Top 5 royal scandals during Elizabeth’s reign

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Seven decades on the British throne meant royal waves of scrutiny surrounding Queen Elizabeth’s family.

Controversies involving Prince Charles, Meghan Markle and more brought extra attention during the queen’s record-long monarchy, which lasted from 1952 until her death Sept. 8 at age 96.

Here are some of the most memorable scandals that occurred during that time.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s exit

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped down from their senior royal duties in 2020 and left the United Kingdom for a life in Southern California.

During an explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey the following year, Meghan described feeling unsupported by royal officials and claimed there were concerns within the palace over “how dark” their first child would be.

Harry said shortly afterward that the queen wasn’t part of those discussions, and he and Meghan named their second child, daughter Lilibet, after Elizabeth’s childhood nickname.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s divorce

Charles, the eldest son of the queen who now takes over the British throne, acknowledged having an affair with current wife Camilla Parker Bowles before his divorce from first wife Princess Diana.

Diana addressed the relationship during a famous 1995 interview with the BBC, saying, “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.” Diana also said she was in love with riding instructor Major James Hewitt during her marriage to Charles.

She and Charles divorced in 1996, and he married Camilla in 2005.

Prince Harry’s costume

Harry’s partying often made headlines during his younger years, but no instance garnered more controversy than his wearing a Nazi uniform to a costume party in 2005.

He apologized following the incident, calling it “a very stupid thing to do.”

“I’ve learnt my lesson,” Harry said at the time.

Prince Andrew allegations

Andrew — the third child of Queen Elizabeth — stepped down from his royal duties after being accused of having sex with Virginia Giuffre, a victim of Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking scandal, when she was 17.

Andrew, who denied the allegation, reached a settlement with Giuffre this year that was reported to be around $13.5 million.

He also expressed regret for his friendship with the financier Epstein, who was found dead in a New York City jail cell in 2019.

Princess Anne’s divorce

The queen’s only daughter divorced her first husband, Olympian Mark Phillips, and married naval officer Timothy Laurence in 1992.

The divorce came three years after The Sun reported that Laurence, who was working for the royal household at the time, had written secret letters to Anne.

Local media described the letters, which were never published, as “extremely intimate,” according to Insider.

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