Royal Scandals that No Amount of Money Could Cover Up
Royal Scandals that No Amount of Money Could Cover Up

Royal Scandals that No Amount of Money Could Cover Up

Alli - October 31, 2021

Royal Scandals that No Amount of Money Could Cover Up
Windsor Castle Fire 1992. Royal Collection Trust.

The Windsor Castle Fire

An enormous fire overtook the royal home in November 1992 after beginning in the Queen’s private chapel, where a curtain was pressed against a spotlight. The fire began in the Queen’s Private Chapel at 11:15 in the morning when a curtain was ignited by a spotlight pressed up against it. Agents of the Royal Household were in the chapel at the time inspecting works of art. A fire alarm went off in the watch room of the castle fire brigade, manned by the Chief Fire Officer, Marshall Smith. The location of the fire was shown by a light on a grid-map of the castle. Initially, the Brunswick Tower was lit up, but lights soon began to flash indicating that the fire had quickly spread to neighboring rooms. A major part of the State Apartments was soon ablaze. Building contractors working in a nearby room attempted to tackle the blaze using fire extinguishers.

Apart from the several hundred firemen directly involved in the fire-fight, staff and tradesmen helped the castle’s fire brigade and volunteer salvage corps move furniture and works of art from the endangered apartments, including a 150-foot (46 m) long table and a 120-foot long carpet from the Waterloo Chamber, to the safety of the castle’s riding school. It was an enormous operation. The major loss was to the fabric of the castle. The false ceiling in St George’s Hall and the void for coal trucks beneath the floor had allowed the fire to spread. It burned as far as the Chester Tower. Several ceilings collapsed. Apartments burnt included the Crimson Drawing Room (completely gutted), the Green Drawing Room (badly damaged, though only partially destroyed by smoke and water) and the Queen’s Private Chapel (including the double-sided 19th century Henry Willis organ in the gallery between St George’s Hall and Private Chapel, oak panelling, glass and the altar).

Royal Scandals that No Amount of Money Could Cover Up
Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh (c. 2017). Jeff Spicer/Getty Images.

Prince Philip Compares Lockerbie Plane Crash to Water Damage at Windsor Castle

Tragedy struck Scotland in 1988 when terrorists bombed Pan Am Flight 103, ending in the demise of 259 people on board and an additional 11 in Lockerbie, where the plane landed. In 1993, Prince Philip visited the location, where he made a cringe-worthy comparison to the previous year’s Windsor Castle fire, which took no lives. “People usually say that after a fire, it is water damage that is the worst,” he said. “We are still trying to dry out Windsor Castle.” But this isn’t the first time the former Duke of Edinburgh put his foot in his mouth. He was known for being racist and problematic as well.

Philip, who passed away at 99, was the longest-serving consort in the history of the British monarchy. While he’s remembered for his work with charity organizations like the World Wide Fund for Nature, he’s repeatedly made offensive statements. In 1986, while on a visit to China, Philip described Beijing as “ghastly.” He also told British students: “If you stay here much longer you’ll all be slitty-eyed.” That same year, while speaking at a World Wildlife Fund meeting, Philip made an insensitive comment on Cantonese cuisine. “If it has four legs and is not a chair, has wings and is not an airplane, or swims and is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it,” he said. This doesn’t even begin to show the tip of his problematic iceberg.

Royal Scandals that No Amount of Money Could Cover Up
Princess Diana. James Gray/Daily Mail/Shutterstock/RD.

Squidgygate

In 1992, The Sun revealed the existence of a recording of a 1989 phone call between Princess Diana and her friend James Gilbey. Gilbey repeatedly used “Squidgy” as a term of affection when speaking to Di, as the two discussed topics including her fear of becoming pregnant, the way the Queen looked at her, and the show EastEnders. Diana eventually denied that the relationship was romantic, saying, “He is a very affectionate person. But the implications of that conversation were that we’d had an adulterous relationship, which was not true.”

The tape was very revealing for the two, however: “Kiss me, please (sound of kisses). Do you know what I’m going to be imagining I’m doing tonight, at about 12 ‘o clock? Just holding you close to me. It’ll have to be delayed action, for 48 hours!” Gilbey says. During the call, Gilbey calls Diana “darling” 53 times and “Squidgy” 14 times. Later he tells her: “No, I haven’t played with myself, actually. Not for a full 48 hours.” Meanwhile, in Oxfordshire, Cyril Reenan, a 70-year-old retired bank manager was out for the night. The ham radio enthusiast claimed on January 4, four days after Gilbey and Diana’s scandalous chat, to have heard and recorded the conversation via his home set-up. Then, on January 8, he contacted The Sun, selling the tape for about $10,000.

Royal Scandals that No Amount of Money Could Cover Up
Queen Elizabeth II. Getty Images.

Annus Horribilis

The year 1992 will forever go down in history as Queen Elizabeth II’s “annus horribilis” (horrible year). That year, three of the Queen’s four children (Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, and Princess Anne) took steps towards ending their respective marriages. If that wasn’t bad enough, later that same year, Anne remarried despite that her ex-husband was still alive. Perhaps even more scandalously, this episode marked the first – but not the last – time a British monarch’s child remarried after divorce.

The tension between the media and the royals came to a head several times throughout the year through events such as the publication of Princess Diana’s tell-all memoir which exposed scandals within the family and reporting of the Duchess of York’s affair with her financial advisor. Hit after hit against the royal family culminated in the Queen’s speech and her remarking, “there can be no doubt… that criticism is good for people and institutions that are part of public life… But we are all part of the same fabric of our national society and that scrutiny, by one part of another, can be just as effective if it is made with a touch of gentleness, good humour and understanding.”

Royal Scandals that No Amount of Money Could Cover Up
Captain Mark Phillips and Princess Anne on their wedding day. Wikimedia.

When Captain Mark Phillips had a Lovechild

Hidden for almost four decades, intimate details about an affair involving Princess Anne’s former husband, Captain Mark Phillips, were revealed by New Idea. Over 30 years ago, Phillips fathered a secret love child with New Zealander Heather Tonkin. An art teacher. Her name is Felicity Tonkin. While still married to Princess Anne, Captain Mark Phillips had a one-night affair with the art teacher. She became pregnant and had the baby, who is now the half-sister of Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips. It was reported that Phillips asked the woman to end the pregnancy. However, according to royal sources, Mark has been “in denial” about his daughter since the day she was born.

Mark secretly paid his one-time lover a meagre $12,000 a year in child support, but refused to have anything more to do with his secret daughter. When the payments trailed off, Heather sought to secure a better deal for Felicity, however Mark refused to be named on her birth certificate. In 1991 a court ordered DNA test proved he was the father. Defending her decision to make the matter public and threaten Phillips with court action, Tonkin said in a previous interview, “I am doing what I am doing for my child. I hope and pray Mark will do the right thing and make a proper and legally binding settlement on her. “I wish I could wake up one morning in the knowledge that the record had been put straight and I don’t have to worry any more. Nothing can compensate for the tears I have cried while trying to plan for Bunny’s future, when at any moment I could find myself penniless.”

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary,_Queen_of_Scots

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Philip-IV-king-of-France

https://www.insider.com/princess-diana-threat-to-camilla-from-moment-they-met-2021-2

https://www.historyplace.com/speeches/edward.htm

https://www.historyextra.com/period/a-big-day-in-history-when-william-ii-met-his-demise-in-the-new-forest/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/william_ii_king.shtml

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Anne-Boleyn

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/2002/11/22/princess-anne-is-fined-court-for-dog-attack/84d48f03-dbcc-4fbe-a439-92afaddd986b/

https://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/articles/the-windsor-castle-fire-25-facts/

 

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