E!’s first-ever scripted series, The Royals, premieres this Sunday at 10 PM. It follows a fictional British royal family, led by Queen Helena (Elizabeth Hurley), as they navigate scandals in the public eye. The show is undoubtedly influenced by the real-life shenanigans of several royal family members (*cough, Prince Harry, cough*). However, will fantasy be more salacious than fact? The show certainly has some big (read: crazy) shoes to fill.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a scandal the royal family hasn’t experienced. Affairs! Nude photos! Foot fetishes (more on that later)! For families perceived as the picture of sophistication, the IRL royals certainly know how to shake things up. Relive these moments with us to feel better about your own questionable life choices.
1. King Edward VIII abdicates the throne for love.King Edward VIII gave up the throne to marry twice-divorced American commoner Wallis Simpson in 1936. This shocked England as Edward was quite literally abandoning his power (that he’d only had for less than a year) for love. However, FBI files imply Edward had to abdicate because Simpson was giving state secrets to her extramarital Nazi lover. (This has never been 100 percent confirmed.) Madonna was so taken with Edward and Simpson’s story that she based her 2012 film W.E. on their romance.
2. Fergie gets a
Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York (better known as Fergie) is not a stranger to royal family scandals. There was the time she offered a businessman (actually an undercover journalist) access to Prince Andrew — her ex-husband, whom she divorced in 1996 — and the royal family for £500,000 in 2010. However, her most titillating moment was when she was photographed sunbathing in 1992 while Texas businessman John Bryan sucked on her toes. No judgement here, but we hope he brushed his teeth after.
3. Prince Harry gets wild in Las Vegas.
Let’s get one thing straight: Prince Harry is the Regina George of royal party boys. Nothing tops the time he came stateside to Sin City (when he was 27, mind you) and had a little too much fun. And by that, we mean he stripped down to his birthday suit and got photographed. Fortunately, he managed to hide his — erm — family jewels with strategically placed hands. On the infamous pictures, Harry told Man of the World magazine, “It was probably a classic case of me being too much Army and not enough prince. It’s a simple case of that.” Whatever the hell that means.
4. Prince Charles just wants to be Camilla’s tampon.Prince Charles married Princess Diana in 1981, but just couldn’t get over his ex-flame Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. This interest hit a fever pitch in 1992 when a conversation between the two exes was caught on tape. In the sweaty word exchange, Charles mused how he’d love to live in Camilla’s pants, to which she asked how that would be possible. “What are you going to turn into, a pair of knickers?” she asked. “Or, God forbid, a Tampax. Just my luck,” Charles responded. Yup. This was an actual thing that was actually said between two actual adults.
5. Kate Middleton’s topless photos rock the world.
In 2012, Middleton (Duchess of Cambridge) was photographed sunbathing topless while vacationing in Provence, France. Closer, a French tabloid, published the photos in full to the dismay of the royal family. “We certainly feel a red line’s been crossed. . . .,” the palace said in a statement. “Their Royal Highnesses have been hugely saddened to learn that a French publication and a photographer have invaded their privacy in such a grotesque and totally unjustifiable manner.” After Closer published the photos, French officials took legal action against the publisher and photographer. If that’s not enough, a German tabloid published photos of Middleton’s exposed bum after a gust of wind blew up her dress in May 2014. Girl can’t catch a break!
6. Princess Diana is “Squidgy.”
In 1992, irreverent phone conversations between Diana and her friend (and rumored lover) James Gilbey became public. Although Diana admitted in the conversations that her marriage to Prince Charles was “real torture,” the tidbit that shocked everyone was Gilbey’s nickname for the princess: “Squidgy.” We can only imagine what this means! What is fact, however, is Diana’s affair with Major James Hewitt. In these phone conversations, Diana admitted to buying Hewitt some pretty pricey threads.
7. Princess Anne’s husband cheats.Anne married Lieutenant Mark Phillips in 1973 with an audience of about 500 million watching. However, that pressure didn’t stop Phillips from messing around with a New Zealand woman. Things took an interesting turn when the woman gave birth to Phillips’ child in 1985, which eventually led to his separation from Anne in 1989. The couple finally divorced in 1992.
8. Prince Harry dresses up as a Nazi.
In 2005, the prince donned a Swastika-stamped Nazi outfit to a party — to the outcry and dismay of everyone with a pulse. He was 20 at the time. “I am very sorry if I caused any offense or embarrassment to anyone,” Prince Harry said in a January 2005 statement. “It was a poor choice of costume and I apologize.”
9. Prince Andrew gets caught in a sex scandal.Prince Andrew, Duke of York, started off 2015 with some pretty heinous accusations. A woman named Virginia Roberts, now 31, claimed that Andrew sexually violated her when she was 17 years old. Roberts later asserted she was kept as an underage sex slave by an American billionaire named Jeffrey Epstein, and he made her have sex with Andrew. This is still undergoing investigation.
10. Prince Albert of Monaco has (several) children out of wedlock.
The 56-year-old prince has two confirmed children with two non-royal women. In 1992, a California woman named Tamara Rotolo filed a paternity suit against Albert concerning her daughter Jazmin Grace Grimaldi. However, it took until a 2006 DNA test to prove that he is Jazmin’s father. In a similar case, an Air France flight attendant named Nicole Coste claimed her son Alexandre was Prince Albert’s child in May 2005. Albert (and, well, a DNA test) confirmed this two months later. A third woman, German topless model Bea Fiedler, claimed Albert was the father of her son. However, a blood test did not corroborate this story.
Will you be tuning into The Royals? Let us know in the comments below.