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Four of the most salacious non-British royal scandals

The global press may be captivated by the British royals, but it’s not to say other royal families are without controversy.
By Hayley Peppin

The Royal Wedding of Prince Albert II of Monaco to Charlene Wittstock. | GETTY IMAGES

BETWEEN King Charles’ and Camilla’s affair, Prince Andrew (in general), Megxit and of course all of the details from Prince Harry’s memoir, Spare; UK royal scandals have dominated the headlines for decades. 

But with 26 reigning royal families around the globe — from Thailand to Morocco — it isn’t just the British monarchy with royally juicy secrets and scandalous behaviour. 

Here are four other royal scandals from around the world.

Related: Prince Harry’s Spare ghostwriter speaks out about working on the explosive memoir

Thailand’s King imprisoned his own mistress

While affairs seem to be more common than not in royal circles, it wasn’t so much Thailand’s, King Vajiralongkorn’s affair that had tongues wagging. But rather some other choices he made in regard to his long-term mistress, Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi that created controversy (and headlines).

In 2019, Wongvajirapakdi went from being promoted to ‘royal consort’ (the first appointed to this role in over a century), to imprisonment for “misbehaviour and disloyalty against the monarch” in the span of three short months. Despite being given the honorary consort title to keep her happy following his fourth marriage (to Queen Suthida), Wongvajirapakdi’s ‘promotion’ didn’t quite hit the mark as she allegedly tried to “elevate herself to the same state as the queen.” 


In response, the royal consort was punished with 10 months imprisonment in a Bangkok jail for her ‘misbehaviour.’ At the time, the Palace officially stated Wongvajirapakdi was “ambitious,” and “disrespectful” with her “resistance against the king and the queen.”

“The king gave her a royal consort position, in hopes of relieving the pressure and a problem that could affect the monarchy,” the statement said, before noting: “she neither was grateful to the title bestowed upon her, nor did she behave appropriately according to her status.” 

Although she was expected to rejoin the King, with all of her prior titles and privileges reinstated after her sentence, sexually explicit selfies were stolen and leaked sabotaging her return. 
But it seems time really does forgive all wounds, because it is rumoured (although not confirmed) that in 2021, on her 36th birthday, she was crowned as the second Queen of Thailand.

King Albert II of Belgium fathered a secret child from an affair (and finally admitted it after five decades)

While the 18-year-long extramarital affair between the King and his mistress, Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps was an open secret amongst the royal family (and unsurprisingly a source of contention with his wife, Queen Paola), it wasn’t until 2020, after DNA tests were ordered, that the King (reluctantly) admitted he had also fathered a child from the affair, a daughter who was born 51 years prior.

Princess Delphine of Belgium. | PATRICK VAN KATWIJK / GETTY IMAGES

It is reported that while trying for seven years to prevent the DNA tests from being performed, the King also phoned his ‘illegitimate’ daughter, Delphine, shouting, “You are not my daughter!”

Except of course she was, and is now, known as Princess Delphine of Belgium. 

A corrupt King.

King Juan Carlos of Spain spent close to 40 years on the throne before he abdicated his power and handed it to his son, Felipe.

Dubbed ‘The Playboy King,’ he was said to be a notorious philanderer, and his reputation declined over the years.

But it wasn’t this element of his lifestyle that saw him come unstuck. Instead, it was a Supreme Court investigation into corruption and his excessive spending during an economic crisis in his homeland that drove anger amongst Spaniards and caused the monarch to flee to the United Arab Emirates in order to avoid answering questions for the investigation.He has since returned to Spain for personal visits over the past year while investigations are still underway and is now referred to as ey emérito (king emeritus).

prince Felipe of Spain, Princess Letizia of Spain, Queen Sofia of Spain and King Juan Carlos. | CARLOS ALVAREZ / GETTY IMAGES

The runaway bride

The son of literal Hollywood royalty, Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier, Prince Albert of Monaco was once considered quite a ‘catch’. But when Prince Albert did pop the question and was headed to the altar, it took a lot of ‘catching’ to finally exchange vows with his fiancé, as his wife-to-be attempted to escape the nuptials not once but three times.

In the weeks leading up to the 2011 wedding, rumours swirled that the Prince had fathered a third love child to a mystery woman. Despite being understanding of the first two love children the Prince had fathered, it was three strikes for Charlene. 

It was reported by the French newspaper, Le Journal du Dimanche that Charlene sought “refuge in the South African Embassy, while in France for a bridal-gown fitting.” But obviously, the two sorted things out because Charlene returned to Monaco, albeit only to attempt escape number two soon thereafter. This time the now Princess reportedly attempted to flee while attending the Monaco Grand Prix, that was until her passport was confiscated by palace staff.

Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene of Monaco. | GETTY IMAGES

Her third and final attempt occurred only days before the wedding. Charlene is said to have regained possession of her passport and booked flights to her homeland of South Africa before someone, or something convinced her to stay. Le Journal du Dimanche reported: “Several sources have confirmed that an arrangement was reached between the future bride and groom.”

Images of Charlene on her wedding day show the bride often tearful and appearing, absolutely miserable. Despite this, the couple remained married and have two children together.

Related: 18 rules the British Royal Family have to follow