AKA the royal family and their love lives
While the royal family has always been in the public eye, there are certain times in a generation when something will thrust them into the forefront of pop culture. Way back when, it was the abdication of then King Edward III, who gave up the throne to be with the woman he loved (who just happened to be an American divorcee). Some decades ago, it was Princess Diana who resonated with the global public. Then, of course, her love triangle with Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles was brought to light. And then it was her tragic death in Paris in 1997.
But recently, it’s been one after the other: Prince William, heir to the throne, marrying commoner Kate Middleton, the birth of the next heir in Prince George, the wedding of Prince Harry to American divorcee Meghan Markle, the accusations of Queen Elizabeth II’s third child, Prince Andrew, dabbling in Jeffrey Epstein’s circle, the resignation of Harry and Meghan as senior royals…the list goes on and on.
And with Netflix’s The Crown airing out the royal family’s old laundry, let’s just say there’s a lot to talk about—and they all go back the royal family’s very common experiences of love, lust and lies.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
Once just known as Lilibet to close family members, Queen Elizabeth II married Philip, who he himself is of Greek and Danish royal descent. She was 21 and he was 26; in six years, she became queen after the sudden death of her father, King George VI.
Needless to say, the young couple thought they had more time to be…well, young. Philip, always the alpha male, found it difficult to get his footing in a world quite literally ruled by his wife. He fought tooth and nail, one of his biggest wins being the royal family’s current surname: the hyphenated Mountbatten-Windsor.
Prince Philip, in his seat beside Queen Elizabeth II, has given up a lot for the crown. But he and the queen’s ability to compromise has given them the healthiest and arguably most stable marriage in the royal family—at the very least, it’s definitely the longest standing one.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana
Prince Charles didn’t marry until he was 32 years old. The public and his family, at that point, were worried the king-to-be would never tie the knot (and inevitably never give the monarchy an heir). When his engagement to Diana Spencer was finally made public, the commonwealth was in a frenzy. Diana was, as many described, a breath of fresh air. But the attention she was getting, as The Crown claims and narrates, was a sour point with the future king. His limelight was being taken from him, after all.
By now, we all “know” things were never good behind closed doors. Diana battled so many demons and when she went on air to discuss everything that had been going on, Prince Charles was never satisfied and the circling eventually led to Queen Elizabeth II finally pushed for their divorce. This was after multiple love affairs, countless arguments, a seemingly debilitating feeling felt on both sides of the marriage.
With The Crown‘s latest season at this exact point in the royals' history, there are so many feelings circling again. Many are asking who was wrong: Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Camilla Parker-Bowles, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip? There are so many factors to consider, too many points of view to look through.
What's your take?
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles waited until 2005 to officially marry each other, 10 years after her divorce to Andrew Parker Bowles, whom she had two kids with. At this point, Charles and Camilla’s affair is no longer a secret—and the two have worked for decades to win the hearts of the British and global public.
With The Crown’s latest season, the fear is that all the bad feelings regarding the affair (and what it ultimately lead to) will again see the light of day. Here’s to hoping we also don’t forget how Charles was pressured into marrying Diana, a woman he barely knew, when the entire world knew his heart was always with Camilla.
Don't they deserve their happily ever after, too?
Prince William and Kate Middleton
When Kate Middleton walked down the aisle of Westminster Abbey, the headlines were clear: This was the modern fairytale everyone was waiting for and needed. An heir to the throne marrying the woman he was truly in love with—nevermind that she was a commoner he met during his university years.
There aren’t many issues to be said about William and Kate (at least, when it comes to their marriage and parentage). I consider them to be the next Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, to be that stability, charm, intelligence and beauty that the monarchy needs to stay relevant to the times. They seem to understand their roles and respect the institution they were born and married into, which clearly makes all the difference.
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Before any of you get mad at me again for calling Meghan Markle a mixed-race American divorcee (and asking questions like “Why do you feel the need to point that out? She is just a woman”), please understand that, in the context of the royal family, it is an extremely big thing. Less than a century ago, Prince Harry’s great granduncle had to give up his throne to marry an American divorcee.
But anyway. Harry and Meghan married in 2018 and welcomed Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor the following year. By early 2020, the two officially resigned from their posts as senior members of the royal family and, since then, have moved to live in the United States full time.
The resignation and move have reportedly put strain on Harry’s relationships with his family, particularly Prince William. Tabloids have claimed the two are almost at each other's throats, with the older royal thinking the younger disrespectful, the younger apparently not wanting his wife to suffer the same nightmare that his late mother did.
However, it might be worth pointing out that Harry's current state as sixth in line to the British throne does give him the freedom to provide for and raise his family with more flexibility than William could ever hope for. Is it a spit on the face of how they were raised? Maybe. Was it right for Harry's family? Likely. Can we blame him? Absolutely not (especially if that's what he really wants).
There are…so many more royal relationships and marriages to be discussed. Princess Margaret, in my opinion, has one of the most exciting albeit tragic love lives in the royal family. There’s Princess Anne, whose marriage to Mark Philips ended in 1992—the same year she wed a member of the Queen’s Equerry, Timothy Laurence. Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson divorced in 1996, though there are still rumors that their friendship is a little bit more than just a friendship.
The Crown gives us a great look at the lives of the royal family. But it’s best to remember that the producers and writers have also, at moments, ran with their creative freedom. Don’t believe everything you watch; it isn’t a documentary. Not everything is based on fact. So do your research alongside your binge watching to see what actually went down in British royal history. Trust me, it's just as colorful as the Netflix series.
Art Alexandra Lara