5 Former Royals And Why They Quit

Princess Diana and Prince Charles Source: Elke Wetzig (Elya) / Wikimedia Being royalty might seem like the life you’d buy if you won a huge jackpot—living in a palace, having all the finest clothes and jewels, and endless high-profile social engagements. But royal titles come with a lot of pressure—and some members of the royal family and their spouses have decided that the life of tiaras and sashes just wasn’t for them. The most recent naysayer is Prince Harry, along with his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. We already knew Prince Harry had some friction with the family, after his visits to several Las Vegas casinos caused a headache for the Queen.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Big Decision

Stepping down as senior royals doesn’t just mean giving up your crown, but also losing the financial support of the monarchy and living a much more private life. Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, made the decision to scale back their duties less than a year after the birth of their first son, Archie. The news also came as a bit of a shock to the rest of the family, who were reportedly not consulted about this major decision. The details of how the couple will earn money to pay their expenses remain to be seen, as does how their relationship with the royal family will be moving forward. Here are 5 members of the royal family who made similar decisions.

1. Edward VIII

Edward VIII created quite a stir when he decided to step down from his role in the royal family—because he was actually the King at the time. He ruled for less than a year after his father died, from January 1936 to December of the same year. He abdicated for love…after he proposed to Wallis Simpson and was told she wasn’t a socially acceptable wife for the King and head of the Church of England. Simpson was a twice-divorced American whose two ex-husbands were still alive, which was a no-go at the time. After stepping down, Edward VIII became known as the Duke of Windsor, and Wallis Simpson was barred from holding a royal title even after marrying the former King. This caused ongoing drama between him and the rest of the royal family, though he continued to receive a royal allowance and held titles and roles like Governor of the Bahamas later in life.

2. Diana, Princess of Wales

Princess Diana was one of the most celebrity-status members of the royal family ever, long before the internet was watching every move in the castle. She married Prince Charles in 1981, and we all know their two children Prince William and Prince Harry. Even though the world loved the shy Diana for her beauty and grace, her marriage with Prince Charles didn’t work out so well. Their relationship ended as a result of their affairs—particularly Prince Charles’ relationship with Camilla, who is now his wife. Princess Diana and Prince Charles divorced in 1996, but she kept working on charitable causes related to the crown until her tragic death in 1997.

3. Sarah, Duchess of York

You probably know this formal royal better by her nickname, Fergie. She was formerly married to Prince Andrew, the Queen’s second son. The couple separated in 1992 and later divorced in 1996, reportedly because of the stress from spending so much time apart as a result of Prince Andrew’s duties. She caused a bit of a sensation in the press during that time, due to paparazzi pictures of her topless with another man. In spite of the drama, she remained friends with the royal family, and even attended Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip Source: Mario Sánchez Prada /Wikimedia

4. Prince Philip

Prince Philip married Queen Elizabeth II in 1947, before she ascended to the throne. He worked closely with Queen Elizabeth, who has shared responsibilities and decision-making with him throughout her reign. He accompanied her on official tours and trips, and only retired from his official duties two years ago, at the age of 96.

5. Prince Andrew

Prince Andrew, the son of Queen Elizabeth II, also stepped down from his public duties recently, in 2019. He faced allegations of sexual abuse, including connections to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Before that, he had already been the focus of criticism for making various offensive comments in the press and having questionable associations with corrupt dealings abroad. Only time will tell how things play out for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle…but royal or not, we’ll still be following them.   Do you want to know about other royal families? You may also like this

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