Queen Elizabeth will be remembered as a pillar of permanence during her unrivaled 70-year reign as monarch.
After the death of her father, King George VI, at the tender age of 25, she was to serve as queen for the reigns of no fewer than 15 prime ministers.
While the Queen is revered as one of Britain’s finest monarchs, her reign has not been without scandals, largely caused by her extended family.
Some of the most prominent crises have occurred in recent years, while others have been brought to light again by the recent hit Netflix series The crown.
That Irish Independent has compiled eight of the most controversial episodes of the Queen’s long reign.
Allegations against Prince Andrew
The Queen’s second son – British tabloids dubbed him “Airmiles Andy” or “Randy Andy” for his playboy lifestyle – hit the headlines in 2011 when his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein rose to prominence after the US financier was convicted of child molestation was.
Andrew was forced to step down from his role as Britain’s itinerant trade ambassador.
In 2017, Virginia Giuffre claimed she was forced to have sex with the prince when she was a minor. Andrew denied the claim. These questions arose after Epstein took his own life in prison in 2019 while serving on sex trafficking charges.
To clear his name, Andrew gave the BBC a disastrous interview, after which he was forced to retire from his royal duties.
In 2021, Ms. Giuffre directly sued Andrew over allegations that he sexually assaulted and hit her.
Last January, he was stripped of his military connections and the title of His Royal Highness. In February, Andrew settled the lawsuit without admitting wrongdoing.
Charles and Diana get divorced
One of the biggest scandals in the history of the royal family was the failed marriage of today’s King Charles III. with his first wife Diana and his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles, with whom he had an affair and whom he later married after Diana’s death.
Charles and Diana’s wedding was followed by numerous tabloid stories as their relationship fell apart. A 1992 book by Andrew Morton, for which he later confirmed Diana had been his primary source, revealed that the marriage was irreparable and that she had eating disorders and had been driven to attempt suicide.
After their split, both gave television interviews admitting their infidelity, with Diana saying she had had an affair with military officer James Hewitt and that “there were three of us” in the marriage – a reference to Camilla.
Death of Princess Diana
The darling of the British public, Diana’s death in 1997 shook Britain to the core.
The Queen’s handling of death was criticized when the Union Jack was not initially lowered to half-mast above Buckingham Palace as a mark of respect and she did not return to the palace from Balmoral immediately when news of Diana’s death broke.
Scandal involving the Duchess of York
Prince Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, with whom he still lives at the Royal Lodge in Windsor, had a very public separation in 1992.
“Fergie,” as the Duchess is known, was spotted shirtless on the front page of a newspaper with wealthy US businessman John Bryan sucking her toes by the pool at a French villa.
The Queen described the year as an “annus horribilis”.
One of the biggest blows to the modern monarchy came when Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, stepped down from their royal duties in 2020.
This was seen as the couple shunning the royal family and the scandal was further aggravated when they gave Oprah Winfrey a bombshell interview.
The couple, who claimed to be unhappy with the intrusion and media focus on their life, relocated to Los Angeles and then launched a devastating attack on the royals and Buckingham Palace that included accusations of racism in the television interview with Oprah, Meghan said , she had been driven to the brink of suicide.
The couple said a family member asked “what color their child would be.”
Harry also said his father Charles and older brother William are trapped in the royal family.
Marriage to Prince Philip
Prior to her accession to the throne, Queen Elizabeth married Prince Philip of Greece, a marriage that was not without controversy.
Philip, an officer in the British Royal Navy during World War II, had sisters married to German aristocrats who were members of the Nazi Party.
Therefore, none of his German relatives were invited to their wedding.
In her early years on the throne, the marriage was dogged by rumors that he was having affairs.
While Philip was on a tour of the Commonwealth in 1957, his private secretary, Mike Parker, resigned after his wife filed for divorce, prompting speculation about the Queen’s husband herself.
During the early years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, her younger sister Margaret was at the center of many scandals that rocked the monarchy.
A rebellious beauty, Margaret had to turn down a marriage proposal in 1955 because, as a divorced man, he was deemed unsuitable by the strict conventions of the time.
Instead, she married society photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones, who took the title Lord Snowdon. This marriage ended after her affair with landscape gardener Roddy Llewellyn, 18 years her junior.
Had there never been another royal scandal in the form of King Edward VIII’s abdication to marry an American, Elizabeth would never have become queen.
Edward knew he had to choose between the love of his life, American Wallis Simpson, and royalty.
Since Wallis was divorced, she would never be accepted as the king’s wife.
Edward chose love and abdicated in December 1936, just 325 days into his reign.
His younger brother, the Queen’s father, ascended the throne to become King George VI – and Elizabeth became heir presumptive until his death in 1952.
https://www.independent.ie/news/queen-elizabeth-was-a-pillar-of-consistency-but-her-reign-was-littered-with-controversy-41977833.html Queen Elizabeth was a pillar of permanence, but her reign was riddled with controversy