Prince Andrew, sex scandals and paternity suits: the biggest royal controversies

Prince Andrew in dark suit smiling at camera
Prince Andrew has been pulled from royal duties over his ties to Jeffrey Epstein. Photo: Getty Images

Fallout from Prince Andrew’s former friendship with the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and allegations that he had sex with a teenage girl has seen the disgraced royal step down from royal duties.

The 59-year-old Brit was notably absent from Tuesday night’s NATO reception in London over the Epstein connection and allegations being levelled against him personally.

He isn’t, however, the only modern-day royal to be caught up in a scandal, nor is he the only one linked to Epstein.

While paternity suits, sex scandals and accusations of money laundering may pale in comparison to the allegations facing Andrew, these royals have all courted controversy.

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway in navy dress
Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway has issued a statement of regret regarding her ties to Jeffrey Epstein. Photo: Getty Images

In addition to Prince Andrew, Jeffrey Epstein also had ties Norway’s Crown Princess Mette-Marit. As People reports, the royal issued a statement to Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv expressing regret for meeting with Epstein after his conviction and prison term.

“I would never have had anything to do with Epstein if I had been aware of the seriousness of his criminal acts,” the statement read in reference to numerous meetings with the disgraced financier between 2011 and 2013. “I should have examined Epstein’s past more closely, and I regret that I did not.”

Mette-Marit was also considered an unconventional choice when Crown Prince Haakon proposed marriage, as she was a single mother who had enjoyed a self-proclaimed “youthful rebellion.”

Prince Albert of Monaco

Prince Albert of Monaco in military dress
Prince Albert has been embroiled in multiple paternity dramas. Photo: Getty Images

The only son of Grace Kelly and Monaco’s Prince Rainier III, Prince Albert is the epitome of Hollywood royalty but his own line of succession is considerably more complicated.

The Prince shares twins Gabriella and Jaques with his wife of eight years, Charlene Wittstock, and has two other children he fathered before his marriage during his lengthy stretch as a bachelor.

In 2005, he announced that he was the father of Alexandre Coste, the now-16-year-old child of a former Air France flight attendant after he was exposed in the press.

The following year DNA testing confirmed him as father to now-27-year-old Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, 14 years after her mother filed a paternity case against the Prince.

Jazmin’s American mother, former waitress Tamara Rotolo, sued the royal in the paternity suit in 1992, but a California judge dismissed it over jurisdiction concerns.

Another paternity suit filed by German topless model Bea Fiedler in the late ‘80s was also dismissed, though no paternity has been established in that case.

Neither Jazmin nor Alexandre are in the royal line of succession as they are considered illegitimate.

Princess Stéphanie of Monaco

Princess Stéphanie's love life has made headlines. (Photo: YANN COATSALIOU/AFP via Getty Images)
Princess Stéphanie's love life has made headlines. (Photo: YANN COATSALIOU/AFP via Getty Images)

Like her brother Albert, the younger daughter of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III has made headlines with her personal life.

The former model and singer dated Rob Lowe before romancing her bodyguard Daniel Ducruet whom she married in 1995 and divorced in 1996.

The pair had two children before their wedding, and it wasn’t until after the nuptials that the children were secured as legitimate heirs to the throne.

In 1998, less than two years after her divorce from Ducruet, the royal gave birth to a daughter, Camille, and declined to name the baby’s father.

Camille, however, has identified another former bodyguard Jean Raymond Gottlieb and uses his last name as her own.

The now-54-year-old royal made headlines again in 2001 when she quite literally joined the circus.

Even the circus wasn’t a scandal-free zone however, with the princess moving in with married elephant trainer Franco Knie before eventually marrying acrobat Adans Lopez Peres in 2003.

They split the following year.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand

Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida in October, three months after he made his lover his official consort. (Photo: REUTERS/Athit Perawognmetha)
Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida in October, three months after he made his lover his official consort. Photo: Getty Images

Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn is said to have a reputation for being a playboy and an eccentric.

The 67-year-old monarch has who has been married four times and is said to sport tattoos, but it was his decision to officially anoint his 34-year-old lover, Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi his official “royal noble consort” this year that truly raised eyebrows.

The controversial ceremony was televised, and attended by his newest wife Suthida, who he had married in May.

According to The Times, it was the first public display of polygamy by a Thai king since absolute monarchy was replaced in 1932.

Sineenat’s stint as royal consort was short-lived, however. By October she’d been stripped of her title following charges that she was disrespectful to the queen and disloyal to the king.

Juan Carlos I of Spain

King Juan Carlos I of Spain dressed in a vest and jumper holding a walking stick at a sailing club in Spain
Juan Carlos I of Spain has been accused of money laundering. Photo: Getty Images

Having abdicated the throne in 2014 to pave the way for his son Felipe VI to take over, this former king has had his share of controversies.

From outcry over his hunting trips, to allegations that he’s fathered illegitimate children to recent financial scandals.

The latter has kept the monarch firmly in the headlines of late.

In 2018, after daughter Cristina, was accused and acquitted of tax fraud, and her husband Iñaki Urdangari convicted of fraud and tax evasion, Juan Carlos I was also accused of taking part in a money-laundering scheme.

The devastating news came on the back of a 2015 audio recording in which Princess Corinna Sayn-Wittgenstein, who was allegedly the royal’s lover, claimed Juan was using her name on overseas properties.

Princess Michael of Kent

Princess Michael of Kent has been busted over behaviour called racist. Photo: Getty Images
Princess Michael of Kent has been busted over behaviour called racist. Photo: Getty Images

Wife to the Queen’s cousin Prince Michael, Baroness Marie Christine, or Princess Michael of Kent as she is known, has been busted over racism on multiple occasions.

The royal’s German father was a member of the Nazi Party and SS Cavalry Corps, and the Princess has been heard on a number of occasions making problematic comments.

The 74-year-old told a group of African-Americans to ‘go back to the colonies’ in 2004, and later gave an interview on British TV in which she called Africans ‘adorable’.

“I even pretended years ago to be an African, a half-caste African, but because of my light eyes I did not get away with it, but I dyed my hair black," Princess Michael added, according to the Guardian.

She also made waves when she wore a racist blackamoor brooch depicting an enslaved African woman to a 2017 Christmas lunch.

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden

King Carl XVI Gustaf was the subject of a book documenting his alleged philandering and visits to sex clubs. (Photo: REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis)
King Carl XVI Gustaf was the subject of a book documenting his alleged philandering and visits to sex clubs. Photo: Getty Images

In 2010, Sweden’s reigning royal took a hit with the publication of The Reluctant Monarch, an unauthorized biography which claimed that Carl XVI frequented sex clubs, enjoyed trysts with strippers and had an affair with Swedish singer and actress Camilla Henemark during the 1990s.

“I have spoken to my family and the queen and we chose to turn the page and move forward — because, as I understand, these are things that happened a long time ago,” the king, now 73, said of the allegations which scandalized his country.

This article has been updated to clarify the description of the recording involving Princess Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein regarding Juan Carlos I.

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