Royal weddings have all the makings of a fairy tale as a real-life prince and princess say their vows in a lavish ceremony and are expected to live happily ever after. But sometimes their marriages are far less glamorous and end in bitter divorces instead. Many of the royal unions over the years have been rocked by scandals and illicit affairs that shocked the public.
From the shocking divorces of the British royals to those of Monaco and more, here is a list of some famous royal marriages that ended in divorce.
15. Princess Victoria of Edinburgh and Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse
Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Edinburgh divorced her first cousin, Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine, in 1901. The decision to divorce was against the family’s wishes and received strong opposition from their grandmother, Queen Victoria. It wasn’t until the queen passed away that the two were able to officially end their marriage.
The princess later married another first cousin, Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich of Russia.
14. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and Princess Ameerah Al-Taweel
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is a businessman and member of the Saudi royal family with a net worth of around $18 billion. He’s been married several times, but it’s his divorce from his fourth wife, Princess Ameerah Al-Taweel, in 2013 that was so shocking because no one could figure out why they were separating.
After just five years, the pair called it quits and while it was reportedly amicable no reason as to why they decided to end their marriage was ever given.
13. Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and Princess Srirasmi
In 2001, Thailand’s then-Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn married Princess Srirasmi but they were involved in multiple scandals. When some of the princess’ family members were arrested on corruption charges, they divorced after 13 years of marriage. Srirasmi’s titles were stripped and she returned to life as a commoner.
In 2016, Vajiralongkorn became king following his father’s death.
12. Prince Louis and Princess Tessy of Luxembourg
Prince Louis and Princess Tessy of Luxembourg made the surprising announcement in January 2017 that they were divorcing. The couple wed in 2006 and Louis had to give up succession rights for himself and his descendants because Tessy was not of royal blood. However, he retained the title of Prince of Luxembourg and in 2009, a decree was issued granting Tessy the title of Princess of Luxembourg and the couple’s two sons Princes of Nassau.
The princess cited “unreasonable behavior” as the reason to end their marriage and was granted a “quickie” divorce in February 2017.
11. Prince Joachim of Denmark and Princess Alexandra
In 2004, Prince Joachim of Denmark and Princess Alexandra became the first couple of the Danish royal family to announce a divorce in 150 years. They had two sons and what seemed like a dream life together, but in reality, the prince couldn’t shake his partying ways. Following their divorce, the princess lost her title and became Countess of Frederiksborg.
Both she and Prince Joachim have since remarried new partners.
10. Princess Stephanie of Monaco and Daniel Ducruet
Princess Stephanie of Monaco married her first husband, Daniel Ducruet, who was also her bodyguard, in 1995. The couple had two children in 1992 and 1994 before they even walked down the aisle. However, things didn’t last and they divorced after a year of marriage.
The princess then had another child in 1998, but never publicly announced who the father was.
9. Princess Stephanie of Monaco and Adans Lopez Peres
Princess Stephanie gave marriage another shot in 2003 when she wed Adans Lopez Peres. But this was another brief union as they divorced after only one year as well.
She has not remarried.
8. Princess Caroline of Monaco and Philippe Junot
Princess Caroline of Monaco hasn’t been lucky in love as she has been married three times. The eldest daughter of Princess Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III wed her first husband, Philippe Junot, in 1978, but they divorced in 1980.
A few years later, she married her second husband, Stefano Casiraghi, who she had three children with. Casiraghi was tragically killed in a boating accident in 1990.
7. Princess Caroline of Monaco and Ernst August, Prince of Hanover
The princess figured that the third time might be the charm when she married Prince Ernst August of Hanover. However, the press published photos of the prince kissing another woman while on vacation.
Although they did not officially divorce, the two split up in 2009 and are likely headed that way as they’ve been living separately for years.
6. Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon
What’s sometimes referred to as the “original royal divorce” was the one between Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon.
When Henry no longer wanted to be married to his first of six wives because she had not given birth to a male heir, the pope denied the king’s request for a divorce. Therefore, Henry established his own Church of England which the papal had no authority over.
5. Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn
Following his failed marriage to Katherine, Henry VIII wed Anne Boleyn in 1533 and she was given the title queen consort. Their marriage didn’t last either though when Anne was found guilty of adultery and sentenced to death.
She was executed in 1536, becoming the first of Henry’s two wives he had beheaded.
4. Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones
Queen Elizabeth II’s younger sister, Princess Margaret, had wanted to marry her longtime lover Peter Townsend, but when the British cabinet would not approve that union she ended up marrying photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones. They had the first ever televised royal wedding in 1960. However, their marriage was plagued with rumors of infidelity by both parties and in 1978 they divorced.
The princess never married again.
3. Princess Anne and Mark Phillips
Queen Elizabeth II’s only daughter, Princess Anne, married Mark Phillips in 1973. But their marriage was not a happy one and they separated in 1989 before divorcing in 1992.
The princess did find love again and shortly after her divorce ended up marrying Timothy Laurence.
2. Prince Andrew and Duchess Sarah Ferguson
In 1986, Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson and she became the Duchess of York. Several years later though, a shocking scandal rocked the royal family when Fergie was photographed sunbathing topless and getting her toes sucked by another man while married to the Duke of York. The embarrassing scandal and countless rumors of infidelity spelled the end to their marriage and they divorced in 1996.
The two have, however, maintained a close relationship over the years.
1. Princess Diana and Prince Charles
The most famous divorce in royal family history was between Princess Diana and Prince Charles. It wasn’t too much of a surprise that the Prince and Princess of Wales finally ended up divorcing in 1996 after separating four years earlier, but what was shocking was everything we learned about their marriage post-split.
Who would have thought that following a fairy tale wedding watched by millions around the world in 1981, the two would be in such an unhappy union riddled with lies and infidelity? After Diana famously aired out their dirty laundry in a television interview, Queen Elizabeth wrote a letter asking that they officially end their marriage. They did just one year before Diana’s tragic death.
Prince Charles later married his longtime lover, Camilla Parker Bowles.
Follow Michelle Kapusta on Twitter @philamichelle.