Prince Andrew, sex scandals and paternity suits: the biggest royal controversies

Prince Andrew has been pulled from royal duties over his ties to Jeffrey Epstein. (Photo: LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images)

Fallout from Prince Andrew’s former friendship with the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and allegations that he slept with a teenage girl kept the disgraced royal away from Tuesday night’s NATO reception in London. But the 59-year-old Brit — who has been pulled from official duties following a controversial interview about his Epstein connection — isn’t the only modern-day royal to be caught up in a scandal, nor is he the only one linked to Epstein.

While paternity suits, sex scandals and accusations of money laundering may pale in comparison to the allegations facing Andrew, these royals have all courted controversy.

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway has issued a statement of regret regarding her ties to Jeffrey Epstein. (Photo: SILAS STEIN/dpa/AFP via Getty Images)

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway

In addition to Prince Andrew, Jeffrey Epstein also had ties Norway’s Crown Princess Mette-Marit. As People reports, the royal issued a statement to Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv expressing regret for meeting with Epstein after his conviction and prison term.

“I would never have had anything to do with Epstein if I had been aware of the seriousness of his criminal acts,” the statement read in reference to numerous meetings with the disgraced financier between 2011 and 2013. “I should have examined Epstein’s past more closely, and I regret that I did not.”

Mette-Marit was also considered an unconventional choice when Crown Prince Haakon proposed marriage, as she was a single mother who had enjoyed a self-proclaimed “youthful rebellion.”

Prince Albert has been embroiled in multiple paternity dramas. (Photo: Sebastien Nogier/Pool via REUTERS)

Prince Albert of Monaco

The only son of Grace Kelly and Monaco’s Prince Rainier III is the epitome of Hollywood royalty — but his own line of succession is considerably more complicated. In addition to the boy-and-girl twins — who turn 5 on Dec. 10 — he shares with his wife of eight years, Charlene Wittstock, the 61-year-old has fathered two children out of wedlock during his lengthy stretch as a bachelor. In 2005, he announced that he was the father of Alexandre Coste, the now-16-year-old child of a former Air France flight attendant; the following year DNA testing confirmed him as father to now-27-year-old Jazmin Grace Grimaldi. Jazmin’s American mother, former waitress Tamara Rotolo, sued the royal in a paternity suit in 1992, but a California judge dismissed it over jurisdiction concerns. Another paternity suit filed by German topless model Bea Fiedler in the late ‘80s was also dismissed, though no paternity has been established in that case. Neither Jazmin nor Alexandre are in the royal line of succession as they are considered illegitimate.

Princess Stéphanie's love life has made headlines. (Photo: YANN COATSALIOU/AFP via Getty Images)

Princess Stéphanie of Monaco

Like her brother Albert, the younger daughter of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III has made headlines with her personal life. The former model and singer dated Rob Lowe before romancing her bodyguard Daniel Ducruet; though their two children were born prior to their 1995 wedding, the nuptials secured them as legitimate heirs to the throne. In 1998, less than two years after her divorce from Ducruet, the royal gave birth to a daughter, Camille, and declined to name the baby’s father. Camille, however, has identified her mother’s former lover and bodyguard Jean Raymond Gottlieb and uses his last name as her own. And the now-54-year-old royal made headlines again in 2001 when she quite literally joined the circus, moving in with married elephant trainer Franco Knie before eventually marrying acrobat Adans Lopez Peres in 2003; they split the following year.

Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida in October, three months after he made his lover his official consort. (Photo: REUTERS/Athit Perawognmetha)

King Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand

Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn raised eyebrows around the globe this July when he boldly anointed his 34-year-old lover, Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, as his official “royal noble consort” — in a televised ceremony attended by his new wife, Suthida, whom he had married that May. According to the British newspaper the Times, it was the first public display of polygamy by a Thai king since 1932, when the country’s absolute monarchy was replaced. Sineenat’s stint as royal consort was short-lived, however; by October she’d been stripped of her title following charges that she was disrespectful to the queen and disloyal to the king. France 24 reports that the 67-year-old monarch has a reputation for being a playboy and an eccentric who has been married four times and is said to sport tattoos.

Juan Carlos I of Spain has been accused of money laundering. (Photo: Europa Press Entertainment/Europa Press via Getty Images)

Juan Carlos I of Spain

Having abdicated the throne in 2014 to pave the way for his son to become Felipe VI, this former king has had his share of controversies, from outcry over his hunting trips to allegations that he’s fathered illegitimate children. More recently, it’s financial scandals that have kept him in the headlines. In 2018, a year after son-in-law Iñaki Urdangari (husband of daughter Cristina, who was herself acquitted of tax fraud) was convicted of fraud and tax evasion, Juan Carlos I was accused of taking part in a money-laundering scheme. As the Telegraph reports, last year saw the publication of a 2015 audio recording in which the royal’s alleged lover, Princess Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, was heard alleging that he was using her name on overseas properties.

Princess Michael of Kent has come under fire for her remarks on race. (Photo: John Stillwell/Pool via REUTERS)

Princess Michael of Kent

Wife to Queen Elizabeth II’s cousin Prince Michael, Baroness Marie Christine Anna Agnes Hedwig Ida von Reibnitz was born shortly after her German father was dismissed from the Nazi Party and SS Cavalry Corps. A tabloid favorite who’s been busted gossiping about other royals — including Princess Diana, whom she called “bitter” and “nasty” — and complaining about her financial situation, the 74-year-old has been criticized for her comments on race. After telling a group of African-Americans to “go back to the colonies” in 2004, she gave an interview on British TV in which she called Africans “adorable.”

“I even pretended years ago to be an African, a half-caste African, but because of my light eyes I did not get away with it, but I dyed my hair black," Princess Michael added, according to the Guardian. She also made waves when she wore a controversial blackamoor brooch to a 2017 Christmas lunch which included Meghan Markle, whose mother is black.

King Carl XVI Gustaf was the subject of a book documenting his alleged philandering and visits to sex clubs. (Photo: REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis)

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden

In 2010, Sweden’s reigning royal took a hit with the publication of The Reluctant Monarch, an unauthorized biography which claimed that Carl XVI frequented sex clubs, enjoyed trysts with strippers and had an affair with Swedish singer and actress Camilla Henemark during the 1990s.

“I have spoken to my family and the queen and we chose to turn the page and move forward — because, as I understand, these are things that happened a long time ago,” the king, now 73, said of the allegations which scandalized his country.

Editors’ note: (This article has been updated to clarify the description of the recording involving Princess Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein regarding Juan Carlos I.)

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