16 of the Worst Royal Weddings and Marriages of All Time

16 of the Worst Royal Weddings and Marriages of All Time

Trista - December 3, 2018

Whether it is forgetting vows, a ring that won’t fit, or an unruly in-law, weddings are not immune from imperfection. No matter how hard people try, they still have many weddings which have gone down in history as being disasters. And no matter how hard they try, the members of the royal families across the world are not exempt from terrible weddings and marriages. Here is a list of some of the most disastrous royal weddings in history.


16 of the Worst Royal Weddings and Marriages of All Time

Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ wedding. Getty Images/Pinterest.

16. Diana And Charles’ Marriage Was Doomed From The Start

On July 29, 1981, Diana was a bride who was about to become a Princess. However, days before the notorious wedding date, Diana reportedly told her sister that she should back out. She stated to her sister, “I can’t marry him, I can’t do this, this is absolutely unbelievable.” However, the wedding went on, but not without more imperfections. Diana started to stumble over her words during her vows. Instead of calling her future husband, “Charles Philip Arthur George” she called him “Philip Charles Arthur George.”

However, Princess of Wales, Diana, was not the only one who was struggling with the wedding. Prince Charles also had his struggles. A little over a decade later, while the two were still married, Charles admitted in a biography that he was forced into the marriage with Diana. He stated that it was his father, Philip, who made sure the pair got married, no matter how Prince Charles felt. In 1996, the marriage ended, and the two went the separate ways. Unfortunately, Diana would pass away during a car accident in 1997.

16 of the Worst Royal Weddings and Marriages of All Time
Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha. National Trust Images/Artuk.

15. The Bride From The 1700s Who Threw Up On Her Mother-In-Law

It is not hidden history that women used to marry in their early to mid-teens during the 18th Century. This was not an exception for royalty. In fact, the next bride on our list, Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha was only 16 years old when she had to marry Prince Frederick. Not too long before her wedding day, Princess Augusta traveled from Germany to England for her wedding. To make things worse for Princess Augusta, she was unable to speak a word of English and, according to Prince Frederick, awkward and lanky.

The date of the royal wedding was April 27, 1736, and took place at Chapel Royal in St James’s Palace in London. Prince Frederick was the heir to the United Kingdom, and this made Princess Augusta very nervous. In fact, she became so worried that she ended up throwing up on her mother-in-law, Queen Caroline, and all over her wedding dress. On top of this, it was Princess Augusta’s mother-in-law who had to translate for the princess during her wedding. However, no matter how nervous Princess Augusta or how controversial her life was after, the couple had nine children together.

16 of the Worst Royal Weddings and Marriages of All Time
Paintings of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Discover Walks.

14. Marie Antoinette And The Wedding Dress That Became Scandalous

Born in 1755, Marie Antoinette left her home in Vienna at the age of 14 years old. She traveled to her new home as she was to marry the future French King Louis XVI and the difficult trials of her married life were only beginning. Not only did Marie barely know Louis XVI but her wedding dress was too big for her. Unfortunately, Marie’s dressmaker did not read her measurements correctly when making the dress. On top of this, changes could not be made because there was not enough time before the wedding.

Therefore, the dress was baggy, and Marie walked around with a gap in the back of her dress, making her dress very scandalous for the time period. No matter how much they tried to tighten the dress, there was a gap between the rows of pearls and diamonds in the back. Of course, this was a time where women were supposed to be covered. Therefore, all Marie’s wedding guests were shocked to see her walk down the aisle with a gap in the back of the wedding dress.

16 of the Worst Royal Weddings and Marriages of All Time
Empress Wanrong and Puyi to the left, China’s last Emperor. Scmp.

13. The Runaway Chinese Emperor

Puyi, who was 16 years old when of his wedding, was China’s Emperor. The wedding was to be the grandest affair in all of China. His bride, Gobulo Wan Rong, was chosen out of a series of photographs. She was the daughter of a prominent government official and Puyi not only felt she was beautiful but that she could also handle being an Empress and the pressure that came with the title. While it seemed that Puyi was right about Wan Rong being able to handle the demands, it would become too much for the Emperor himself.

The had one of the grandest wedding affairs in China on December 1, 1922. The ceremony included all the best China hand to offer when it came to the rituals. At first, it seemed that Puyi was fine. However, after the meal, the newlyweds retired to their chambers. No one knows if Puyi was just exhausted or simply became overwhelmed at the end of the celebrations, but once he entered the room, he saw the decorations on the bed and ran away. Of course, Puyi did come back, but this did not stop the scandal throughout their marriage.

16 of the Worst Royal Weddings and Marriages of All Time
George IV and Caroline of Brunswick’s wedding. Wiki Commons/Public Domain/Royal Central.

12. George IV Was A Drunken Crier

The marriage of George IV and his wife, Catherine of Brunswick was miserable from the beginning. The year was 1795 and George needed to pay off thousands of dollars in debt. Therefore, it was decided that George would marry his cousin, Caroline. No matter what the two thought of each other, they would have to marry so that George could pay off his debts. From the first moment that George and Caroline saw each other, it was nothing but hate. In fact, George reportedly stated, “I am not well. Get me a glass of brandy!”

And this was only the beginning of one of the worst royal weddings in history. Both George and Caroline could not stand each other right up until the day she passed away. Furthermore, neither one was embarrassed to admit it. In fact, throughout their whole wedding ceremony, the two were honest that neither one wanted to marry the other. George was drunk by the time the service started. In fact, he was so drunk that he had to be held up during the ceremony. Furthermore, George was nothing but a crying mess during their vows.

16 of the Worst Royal Weddings and Marriages of All Time
Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. Keystone USA/eyevine/Pinterest.

11. The Couple Who Gave The Nazi Salute

Obviously, with the favorite royal weddings that have happened in the last few decades, it is not uncommon for a royal family member to marry a commoner. However, this might mean the royal member has to give up the high lifestyle and live as a commoner. This happened King Edward VIII married Wallis Simpson in the mid-1930s. Because Wallis was not only a commoner but also an American divorcee, King Edward VIII had to give up the throne.

However, this was only the beginning of what would become one of the worst royal weddings in history. With around 20 guests, the couple married in France with rows and rows of empty chairs. Furthermore, the couple did not have nor, could they pay a professional photographer, so they had the best man’s wife take a few photographs of their wedding. However, these photographs were not seen by the public until nearly 80 years later. On top of this, and probably for many, the worst part of the wedding, was the couple was seen giving the Nazi salute.

16 of the Worst Royal Weddings and Marriages of All Time
King Henry VIII. Lisby/Flickr/English History.

10. No Matter Who He Married, King Henry VIII Had A Bad Wedding and Marriage

Not only is King Henry VIII of England known for the phrase “off with her head” when discussing his many wives, but he is also known to have held many terrible weddings. While there is no specific information on the details of his weddings, we do know that his marriages ended in disaster so his weddings could have easily been the same. During his first marriage, Henry VIII triggered the English Reformation by breaking the thousand-year alliance with the Catholic Church. Of course, his most famous marriage was his second marriage to Anne Boleyn, which ended with her beheading.

His next marriages were no different. King Henry VIII’s third wife died while giving birth. He married a fourth time; however, this marriage was very short lived because he began to find her gross and called for a divorce less than a year later. When it came to his fifth wife, who was a cousin to his second wife, met the same fate as his second wife. However, his last marriage, which was his sixth to Catherine, ended in his death.

16 of the Worst Royal Weddings and Marriages of All Time
Circa 1610, A group of supposed witches being beaten in front of King James I (King James VI of Scotland). Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

9. The King Who Spent His Honeymoon Hunting Witches

The year was 1589 when Scotland King James VI sailed the sea to meet and wed his bride, Anne of Denmark. The story to the witch hunting King goes that on the way back to Scotland, where the newlyweds were going to live and rule, the ship nearly sunk due to all the storms that occurred during the journey. In trying to find a meaning to all these nasty storms and his near-death experience during such a happy time, King James VI could only come up with one answer: witches.

Therefore, once King James VI and his new wife, Anne, safely got back to the land of Scotland, the King immediately began his witch hunt, which means he canceled the honeymoon. The story of a list of accused and tortured witches begins with Geillis Duncan. While she was being abused, she admitted that several witches, who she named, put a spell on the King and his new wife during their journey. In response, the King started to torture all the accused witches, and more, who were named by Geillis. Today, this event is known as the North Berwick Witch Trials.

16 of the Worst Royal Weddings and Marriages of All Time
Queen Tamar of Georgia. Ancient Origins.

8. The Queen Who Was Forced To Marry The Wrong Dude

During Queen Tamar’s life, it was entirely typical for people to be forced to marry for different reasons. The Queen’s marriage in 1185 to Yuri Bogolyubsky was no exception. Queen Tamar had ruled alongside her father for years before his death. And while she believed she had proved herself to be a good ruler alone, many other people, including her own family members, were not impressed that they would only have a Queen as a ruler. Therefore, pressure mounted on Queen Tamar to find a husband, even though her father had left her as sole heir and ruler.

However, due to overwhelming pressure, the Queen married. Yuri was a drunk, and this did not end because he got married. On top of his drinking, he also happened to have several affairs, which people quickly began to hear about. Therefore, around two years after her marriage, Queen Tamar called for a divorce, which was granted. But this would not be the end of Yuri. In response, he tried to lead a revolt against the Queen; however, she was much more powerful and smarter than Yuri and was able to defeat him at his tasks.

16 of the Worst Royal Weddings and Marriages of All Time
Queen Elizabeth with Philip after their wedding. Keystone/Getty Images/Vanity Fair.

7. When The Tiara Breaks

For nearly a whole century, Queen Elizabeth II and her family have had a very fancy and expensive tiara in their possession. This tiara, known as Queen Mary’s Fringe Tiara, is made of gold, diamond, and silver. The crown was initially created in 1919 by Queen Elizabeth II’s grandmother, Queen Mary. This tiara was then passed down to Queen Mary’s daughter, and Queen Elizabeth II’s mother, Queen Elizabeth, who was also photographed wearing it on a few occasions. Today, the Queen Mary’s Fringe Tiara is in possession of the current queen.

Queen Elizabeth II decided to wear the Queen Mary’s Fringe Tiara on her wedding day. The day was November 20, 1947, and Princess Elizabeth was getting ready to marry Prince Philip. Elizabeth was given the tiara the morning of her wedding, however, while the hairdresser was putting it on, the tiara broke. Panic-stricken, the tiara was taken to the same designers who created the crown, the House of Garrard workshop. Fortunately for all involved, they were able to fix the tiara in time for the wedding. Today, Queen Elizabeth II and her husband have been married for over 70 years.

16 of the Worst Royal Weddings and Marriages of All Time
King Philip IV of Spain. Mad Monarchist.

6. King Philip IV Married His Niece — She Gave Him Children Who Could Hardly Function

While today we often become disgusted by the idea of close family members marrying each other, it was often common during the 1600s. However, if they did marry into their own family, they often married cousins, usually distant cousins. But this was not the case for King Philip IV of Spain. Instead of marrying a distant cousin, he chose to marry his niece. On top of this, King Philip should have especially known this would turn out to be a bad idea because so many other relatives of his had already married family members.

Because of this, many people of this line were born with deformities and others had died due to their condition. King Philip and his niece married in 1644 and had King Charles II. While childhood paintings would show Charles II as looking like an average kid, he reportedly had the “Hapsburg jaw,” which created difficulties in chewing. King Charles II also regularly dealt with illnesses throughout his life, including excessive vomiting. Genetic tests show that there was so much inbreeding by the time Charles II was born that he was comparable to if a brother would have impregnated a sister.

16 of the Worst Royal Weddings and Marriages of All Time
King Henry of Navarre. Wikimedia.

5. The Wedding That Turned Into A Massacre

Margaret of France, raised Catholic married King Henry of Navarre, who was Protestant, on August 18, 1572. This was during the darkest days of Reformation when there were wars of Religion going on. Many people on both sides were highly against this marriage. In fact, it angered so many people who it literally divided Paris. However, many Catholics did not view the wedding as a wholly adverse event because they began to realize that there were thousands of Protestants who went to the wedding and saw an opportunity.

The Catholics were able to act on the opportunity when the Queen gave some orders. A couple of days after the wedding, many Catholics were sent to raise havoc on the Protestants who were still in the area due to the public ceremony. Once the raid was over, about 3,000 people had been murdered. Today, this is known as one of the worst massacres in the history of France and is called St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. Fortunately, at least for some, the killings did not end the marriage.

16 of the Worst Royal Weddings and Marriages of All Time
King Edward II. The History Vault.

4. The King Who Kissed A Man And Was Overthrown By His Wife

A year after becoming King, on January 25, 1308, King Edward II of England married a twelve-year-old girl by the name of Isabella. However, while the king was married Isabella, it did not mean this was the person he was going to kiss at his wedding. Instead of kissing his new wife, King Edward II decided to kiss a knight named Piers Gaveston. However, King Edward’s kiss with Piers would not be the only interaction the two men had. Reportedly, King Edward was always cheating on his wife with Piers.

Of course, King Edward II decided to kiss a knight instead of his wife irritated Isabella. Furthermore, the irritation and anger Isabella felt towards her husband continued to grow the more and more interaction he had with Piers. When the couple’s oldest son, Edward III was about 14 years old, Isabella decided to have revenge on her husband. In the mid-1320s, Isabella invaded England with an army. At the beginning of 1327, King Edward II was overthrown, and Edward III took over for his father. Edward II was then imprisoned, where he died September of that year.

16 of the Worst Royal Weddings and Marriages of All Time
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor Biography. TheFamousPeople.com.

3. The Roman Emperor Who Arranged His Children’s Marriages Before They Were Born

There have been many weddings on this list which have led to very interesting and terrible marriages, and this next one is no different. In the early 1500s, it was very typical for marriages to be arranged. However, it was also very average for the people of the arranged marriages to be alive and not a fetus. In 1506, the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I arranged a marriage between his heirs and King Vladislas of Hungary and Bohemia. Surprisingly, this went over well for the families and actually worked.

The arranged marriages were between Maximilian’s two grandchildren. The first marriage was to be between his three-year-old grandson, Ferdinand, who was arranged to marry Vladislas’s daughter Anna, who was also three years old at the time. This marriage took place in 1515 when the two were teenagers. The next arranged marriage, which would also occur in 1515, was between Maximilian’s second grandchild, Mary, who was an infant. She was set to marry Vladislas’s unborn baby, who was still in his wife’s stomach when the arrangement was made.

16 of the Worst Royal Weddings and Marriages of All Time
Portrayal of King Harthacnut’s marriage and death. Londonist.

2. King Harthacnut Drank Himself To Death

While King Harthacnut, who ruled England for two years before his untimely death, was not the groom at the wedding, he did become one of the most memorable guests. King Harthacnut, whose name means “tough knot” ruled from 1040-1042. He was at a wedding for Tovi the Proud and Gytha in 1042 when he was asked to make the toast for the couple. In typical fashion, King Harthacnut rose to give the salute, however, he was not able to finish his speech.

Like all the other guests, King Harthacnut had been drinking. And when he rose to give the toast, he started speaking, but then he suddenly fell to the floor and started convulsing. Of course, the guests who were closest to him reportedly ran to help him; unfortunately, King Harthacnut would never speak a word again. No one knows if the king died at that moment of if he died later. It is also not unclear if the king really drank himself to death or if he was poisoned. Nevertheless, with how the story goes, many people believed he was murdered.

16 of the Worst Royal Weddings and Marriages of All Time
Alfred The Great. Kids Konnect.

1. The King Who Had Intestinal Issues

There are many things people fear for their wedding day. Some fear that they will be left at the altar or that they are making the wrong decision while other fear there won’t be enough food for everyone or will the trip going down the aisle. However, for a king in the 800s, his worries the night before his wedding dealt with his health. King Alfred the Great, the King of Wessex, was 19 years old when he was going to marry his bride in 868. By this time, the king had been bothered with painful hemorrhoids.

In wanting to get rid of the pain, and probably have the best wedding possible, Alfred prayed the night before his wedding day. When he prayed, he asked that he would be given a less painful illness. However, when Alfred woke up the morning of his wedding day, the soon-to-be groom woke up to worse pain than the day before. The pain in his intestines was so great that Alfred started to wish that he had stuck with the hemorrhoids. Today people believe that Alfred the Great actually had Crohn’s Disease.


Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“Why was Marie Antoinette’s wedding dress so scandalous?” Kate Kershner, How Stuff Works.

“The Royal Family’s honeymoon hotels and destinations.” The Telegraph. March 2018.

“Royal Wedding Rewind: George IV and Caroline of Brunswick.” Lydia Starbuck, Royal Central. July 2018.

“5 Mini-Disasters at Princess Diana’s Wedding.” U.S. Weekly Staff, U.S. Weekly. April 2011.

“Charles II Of Spain Destroyed His Dynasty And Plunged Europe Into War, In Part Because He Was Inbred.” Genevieve Carlton, Ranker.

“The Most Disastrous Royal Weddings In History.” Genevieve Carlton, Ranker.

“Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, Princess of Wales (30 November 1719 – 8 February 1772).” English Monarchs.

“Edward II Of England – A King Overthrown By His Wife.” Kathryn Warner, The History Vault.

“Unhappily Ever After: The Most Destructive And Abusive Royal Marriages In History.” Setareh Janda, Ranker.

“The English King Who Drank Himself To Death In Lambeth.” Matt Brown, Londonist. June 2018.