The 5 Royal Divorces Of Queen Elizabeth II's Reign
Everything hasn't always been rosy during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. In fact, over that time, the Queen has witnessed many marriages break up in her family—some of them accompanied by intense scandal. These are the five royal divorces of the Queen's six-plus decade reign.
The British Royal Family could do well to follow the lead of its matriarch: Queen Elizabeth II was married to Prince Philip for 73 years. But, in contrast to the Queen, several other family members have experienced relationship scandals and breakups.
Queen Elizabeth II's reign has witnessed 5 royal divorces
The most recent separation in the British Royal Family took the Queen particularly by surprise. In early 2020, her eldest grandson, Peter Phillips, confirmed his separation from wife Autumn Kelly, which had occurred in 2019. The royals only learned of the divorce plan in 2019, too. According to reports, the Queen was said to have been "very sad" about the news.
In 1978, a real scandal ensued when the Queen's sister, Princess Margaret, divorced celebrity photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones, Lord Snowdon, after 18 years together. But even before the divorce was finalized, she consoled herself with landscape architect Roddy Llewellyn, who was 17 years her junior.
In 1992, the Queen's own daughter, Princess Anne, followed not her mother's lead, but that of her aunt Margaret. After 19 years of marriage, the Princess Royal separated from her unfaithful husband, Mark Phillips, father of her children Peter and Zara. The Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence brought love back to Anne's life in the same year, and they were married not long after.
British Royals: Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson's scandal
In 1992, it came to a meltdown for the British royals: Photos of then-married Sarah Ferguson and her lover appeared in the press—though it wasn't the only incident that led to the Duchess of York and Prince Andrew's 1996 separation.
Because of daughters Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, the two still have a good relationship today. The Yorks share not only a home, but they also spend holidays and free time together. This has led to occasional speculation of a possible love comeback over the years.
But the most severe separation for the Queen, which still causes waves to this day, was that of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Despite a fairytale wedding in the summer of 1981, their happiness lasted only a short time.
In 1995, it was enough for the Queen to get involved. When Diana gave her legendary television interview to 20 million viewers, it changed everything. The Queen had had enough. In two identical letters, she asked the couple to divorce, a request that was granted on Aug. 28, 1996.
Counting Charles, three of Queen Elizabeth II's four children have now been divorced. Will he be the last? For a model of consistency, the family can look to the Queen and Prince Philip, who crossed the incredible 73-year married milestone on Nov. 20, 2020 before Prince Philip passed at the age of 99 in April 2021.