8 royal moments that shocked the world

Photo: © PA


The royals are some of the most well-known figures around the globe, but they haven’t been exempt from the odd scandal or two over the years.

From Prince Andrew‘s retirement from public life to Princess Diana’s tell-all Panorama interview, HELLO! takes a look at some of the most shocking royal events to date.

The Duke of York

The Queen’s second son stepped back from royal duties in November 2019, following his TV interview with BBC Newsnight, which focused on his connections to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Prince Andrew’s statement at the time read: “I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission. I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein. 

“His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure. I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives. Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required”.

WATCH: Harry and Meghan: a year on from leaving royal life behind

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shocked the world when they announced their decision to step back from royal duties in a statement on their @SussexRoyal Instagram account and a new website in early January 2020.

After talks with the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge in Sandringham, an agreement was reached that the Sussexes would no longer receive public funds and will not use their HRH titles, but that they would keep their patronages and retain Frogmore Cottage as their UK home.

Harry and Meghan now live in Montecito, Santa Barbara with their son Archie. 

MORE: Meghan Markle reveals her unexpected ‘support’ during turbulent year – exclusive

Photo: © Getty Images


The Duchess of Cambridge

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were awarded £92,000 in damages in 2017 after French Closer magazine published topless photos of Kate on a private holiday in Provence in 2012. A French court ruled that the paparazzi pictures were an invasion of the couple’s privacy.

A statement from Kensington Palace at the time read: “This incident was a serious breach of privacy, and their Royal Highnesses felt it essential to pursue all legal remedies.

“They wished to make the point strongly that this kind of unjustified intrusion should not happen.”

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Photo: © Getty Images


Diana, Princess of Wales

Princess Diana shocked the world when she sat down for an extensive interview with BBC1 Panorama in November 1995, in which she spoke candidly to interviewer Martin Bashir about the breakdown of her marriage to Prince Charles, her battle with bulimia and life behind palace walls.

MORE: 14 times the royals looked visibly shocked

Photo: © Getty Images


King Edward VIII

The monarch triggered a constitutional crisis in 1936 when he proposed to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. The Church of England and government ministers opposed divorce at the time and so King Edward VIII chose to abdicate to wed the woman he loved.

He was succeeded by his younger brother George VI – the father of the future Queen Elizabeth.

Edward and Wallis married in France and spent the remainder of their lives in the country.

MORE: The Queen’s life changed forever after this royal death

Photo: © Getty Images


King Albert II of Belgium

In January 2020, the former king of Belgium, King Albert II, admitted that he is the father of an illegitimate daughter, born from an affair with Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps.

The former monarch had been fighting the paternity claim by artist Delphine Boël for more than a decade.

In October 2020, Delphine was granted the title of Princess of Belgium following a court battle.

Photo: © Getty Images


King Juan Carlos of Spain

The former king, 82 abdicated in 2014 after a number of alleged controversies, including reported extramarital affairs.

In March 2020, Juan Carlos’ son King Felipe renounced any future inheritance from his father due to reported connections to an alleged financial scandal. It was also declared that Juan Carlos would lose his public allowance from the state’s general budget.

Photo: © Getty Images


Iñaki Urdangarin

King Felipe of Spain’s brother-in-law was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison in June 2018, following convictions of embezzlement and money laundering in excess of £4.5 million through his non-profit organisation, the Noos Institute. 

Iñaki’s wife and King Felipe’s sister Infanta Cristina was also investigated but acquitted of any charges. However, King Felipe issued a decree stripping his sister of the title of Duchess of Palma in 2015.

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