The future of the monarchy was tested in 2022.
Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, passed away on Sept. 8 at age 96. It marked the end of an era as it also launched the beginning of a new reign, with her eldest son becoming king.
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This year also proved to be a tumultuous one for the British royal family, as they were plagued with shocking revelations, jaw-dropping investigations and the ongoing struggles following the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s royal exit.
As King Charles prepares to be crowned in the New Year, here are 14 ways Buckingham Palace was rocked by scandal during the last 12 months.
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Prince Andrew is stripped of his military titles, settles his sexual abuse lawsuit.
In January, the Duke of York’s military affiliations and royal patronages were returned to his mother the queen amid his legal battle with Jeffrey Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre. Buckingham Palace confirmed in a statement sent to Fox News Digital that the monarch agreed to accept the returned accolades. It would not be until March that a U.S. judge dismissed the lawsuit. It occurred three weeks after lawyers for the American woman who filed it reached a deal. It called for the prince to make a substantial donation to his accuser’s charity and declare he never meant to malign her character.
The former Prince Charles’ charity gets investigated by London police amid cash-for-honors scandal.
In February, the Metropolitan Police tweeted they were looking into then-Prince Charles’ charity due to alleged offenses made by a former palace aide. Michael Fawcett, once a top aide to the royal, quit as chief executive of The Prince’s Foundation amid allegations he offered to pay a Saudi businessman who made a large donation to secure a knighthood and British citizenship. Fawcett resigned, and Clarence House announced it would no longer use his services or his company, Premier Model.
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Prince William and Kate Middleton are “overwhelmed with remorse” following tense Caribbean tour.
In March, a palace insider told Us Weekly that the Prince and Princess of Wales were “overwhelmed with remorse” after completing their eight-day tour of Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas. The royal tour was criticized as being “tone-deaf” for perpetuating images of Britain’s colonial rule and even sparked protests in some areas. Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness also told the couple that his country intended to become a republic, removing the British monarch as its head of state. The source claimed that since returning to London, the couple has begun thinking of ways to “strengthen their relationship” with other leaders within the Commonwealth while “working closely with former colonies.”
Jeffrey Epstein “told people” that Prince Andrew was “a useful idiot,” book claimed.
In April, former Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown wrote a bombshell book titled “The Palace Papers.” In it, she described how late American financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein boasted to his pals about using the Duke of York’s friendship.
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“Privately, Epstein told people that Andrew was an idiot, but – to him – a useful one,” Brown wrote in an excerpt published by The Telegraph. “A senior royal, even if tainted, is always a potent magnet abroad. Epstein confided to a friend that he used to fly the Duke of York to obscure foreign markets, where governments were obliged to receive him, and Epstein went along as HRH’s investment adviser. With Andrew as frontman, Epstein could negotiate deals with these (often) shady players.”
Prince Andrew, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were absent from the palace balcony during the Platinum Jubilee.
In May, Buckingham Palace confirmed that Andrew, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, would not appear on the palace balcony in celebration of the queen’s 70-year reign. The queen decreed that only working members of the royal family would join her on the balcony to watch a Royal Air Force fly-past after the traditional military review known as Trooping the Color. Andrew, who had reached a multimillion-pound settlement with his accuser, later tested positive for COVID-19 and was noticeably absent from the festivities. Meanwhile, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were booed by some members of the public after leaving the Service of Thanksgiving, while other senior royals were cheered.
BBC vowed to “never air” Princess Diana’s controversial interview.
In July, BBC director general Tim Davie pledged to “never” air Princess Diana’s “Panorama” interview on the network again and urged other broadcasters to follow suit. The Princess of Wales was interviewed by journalist Martin Bashir 27 years ago for the network’s program. An independent investigation conducted by Lord Dyson found that the public broadcaster “fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark.” The report also found that Bashir used “deceitful behavior” to gain access to Diana, including allegedly forging documents. William’s former nanny Alexandra Pettifer received compensation for “false and malicious” allegations that she had an affair with Charles. Davie issued a public apology to Charles and his sons.
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Prince Charles’ charity fund accepted 1 million pounds from Usama bin Laden’s family, spokesperson confirmed.
In July, The Sunday Times reported that The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund accepted 1 million pounds from the family of Usama bin Laden in 2013. The money came from Bakr bin Laden, patriarch of the large and wealthy Saudi family, and his brother Shafiq. Both are half-brothers of the former al-Qaida leader, who was killed by U.S. special forces in Pakistan in 2011. A spokesperson for Clarence House has disputed some of the claims in the report but confirmed that the charity accepted the money.
Clarence House told Fox News Digital in a statement, “The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund has assured us that thorough due diligence was undertaken in accepting this donation. The decision to accept was taken by the charity’s Trustees alone and any attempt to characterize it otherwise is false.” The spokesperson added that Charles did not personally accept the donation.
A spokesperson for The Prince of Wales Charitable Fund (PWCF) also told Fox News Digital, “The donation from Sheik Bakr Bin Laden in 2013 was carefully considered by PWCF Trustees at the time. Due diligence was conducted, with information sought from a wide range of sources, including the government. The decision to accept the donation was taken wholly by the Trustees. Any attempt to suggest otherwise is misleading and inaccurate.”
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U.K. man is charged for allegedly intending to “injure or alarm” the queen.
A 20-year-old man who was arrested at Windsor Castle while carrying a crossbow on Christmas Day last year was charge with intent to “injure or alarm” the queen, the Crown Prosecution Service announced in August. Jaswant Singh Chail, of Southampton, was charged with making threats to kill, possession of an offensive weapon and a crime under the 1842 Treason Act. Under the 19th century Treason Act, which has not been used in four decades, it is an offense to “assault the Queen, or have a firearm or offensive weapon in her presence with intent to injure or alarm her or to cause a breach of peace.”
Professor wished “excruciating pain” for Queen Elizabeth as she “finally dies.”
A professor at Carnegie Mellon University drew criticism on social media after wishing the queen “excruciating pain” hours before she died in September. “I heard the chief monarch of a thieving raping genocidal empire is finally dying,” Carnegie Mellon University Professor Uju Anya tweeted. “May her pain be excruciating.” The Twitter post came as reports began to circulate that the 96-year-old’s health was deteriorating and doctors were “concerned” about her condition. The social media site went on to remove the tweet.
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A Twitter spokesperson said, “We took enforcement action on the account you referenced for violating the Twitter Rules on abusive behavior.” These rules include “Wishing, hoping, or calling for serious harm on a person or group of people.”
Carnegie Mellon University released a statement saying, “We do not condone the offensive and objectionable messages posted by Uju Anya today on her personal social media account. Free expression is core to the mission of higher education, however, the views she shared absolutely do not represent the values of the institution, nor the standards of discourse we seek to foster.”
Kate Middleton faced a heckler during surprise trip to Northern Ireland.
In October, the Princess of Wales was confronted about not being in her “own country” during a surprise visit to Northern Ireland. The mother of three was meeting with members of the public when a woman shook her hand and confronted her. “Nice to meet you, but it would be better if it was when you were in your own country,” she said in a video obtained by PA Media.
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Northern Ireland is in the U.K. like England, Scotland and Wales. However, there has been conflict since England first occupied Ireland in the 1600s. In 1920, an act was passed that split the country into Northern Ireland, part of the U.K., and the Republic of Ireland, People magazine noted.
The British princess smiled, let go of the woman’s hand and continued to greet others in the crowd. The heckler, who filmed the encounter on her phone, replied, “Ireland belongs to the Irish.”
“The Crown” revisited “Camillagate.”
In November, Netflix released Season 5 of their British royal drama “The Crown.” It revisited “Camillagate,” also known as one of the most explosive scandals to rock the palace.
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It was 1993 when tabloids published the transcript of an intimate conversation between Charles and his lover Camilla Parker Bowles. During the call, Charles told Camilla he wanted to “live inside her trousers” and joked that he could be reincarnated as a Tampax tampon. A giggling Camilla said she “desperately, desperately” yearned for him. The pair exchanged multiple “love yous” before finally hanging up. The scandal was coined “Camillagate” and “Tampongate” by U.K. tabloids.
“Everything that was being discussed in that phone call was about as intimate as it can get,” Nick Bullen, the co-founder of True Royalty TV told Fox News Digital. “I think it was always going to get played out in ‘The Crown’ because it was such a big tabloid scoop, such a scandal. … However, it is incredibly embarrassing for everybody involved.”
King Charles III was targeted by eggs.
In November, Charles and his wife Camilla were nearly hit with eggs during a visit to northern England. A video showed the king shaking hands with several people when multiple eggs narrowly missed his face. Police arrested a 23-year-old man, who was later released on bail. Then in December, another man was arrested after allegedly throwing an egg at the king while the monarch was meeting with the public in Luton, 30 miles north of London. Police in Bedfordshire said a man in his 20s was questioned over the alleged common assault.
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Prince William’s godmother resigned after racism allegations.
As William and his wife were making their first U.S. trip in eight years, the royal’s godmother, Lady Susan Hussey, resigned after claims of racism were made against her by a palace guest. Domestic abuse activist Ngozi Fulani claimed she was repeatedly asked racially-loaded questions about her heritage and background by the 83-year-old. In a statement, Buckingham Palace said the member of the royal household, later identified by multiple U.K. outlets as Hussey, resigned. According to the palace, the longtime Lady-in-Waiting to the late queen apologized for the “unacceptable and deeply regrettable comments” that were made.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle released Netflix docuseries.
In December, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex released a docuseries on Netflix titled “Harry & Meghan.” It chronicles the couple’s estrangement from the royal family and the societal racism they believe has fueled coverage of their relationship. Promoted with two dramatically edited trailers that hinted at a “war against Meghan,” the show is the couple’s latest effort to tell their story after a series of interviews with U.S. media organizations, most notably a two-hour sit down in 2021 with Oprah Winfrey. The king declined to comment on the Netflix series during public engagements in London on or during a visit Friday to Welsh soccer club Wrexham AFC, where he met the team’s owners, Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.