The British royal family is no stranger to controversy, but nothing seems to dampen its popularity.
Prince Andrew recently flew home for an awkward conversation with his mother. He’s been accused of having sex with a woman who was under 18, who says she was pressured into the liaison.
The monarchy has mounted an aggressive defense of Andrew, who denies the allegations. Amid the controversy, news that he and ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, recently bought a multi-million-dollar Swiss ski chalet—”the family are keen skiers and it makes sense to have their own place there,” a source told the BBC—is awkwardly timed.
But this is just the latest in a series of awkward revelations, unfortunate comments, and sordid scandals to swirl around Britain’s royal family, including:
- The undercover sting in which Ferguson was caught offering access to Prince Andrew for £500,000 ($756,000)
- The long, drawn-out collapse of Princess Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles, featuring adultery on both sides
- The long, drawn-out collapses of many other royal marriages
- The time Prince Harry went to a party dressed as a Nazi
- After a deadly school shooting, when Prince Philip noted that a cricket bat could also be a dangerous weapon
Few extended families are blameless, of course, but few families command the public attention, and resources, of the one that currently occupies Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and all the others. The campaign group Republic argues that the monarchy is outdated, expensive, and dangerous for democracy. But according to the polls, few Brits agree: