Several royal divorces are quite well known. After all, no royal watcher worth their salt is unaware of Prince Charles’ infamous divorce from his late ex-wife, Princess Diana. Some new members that have married into the family, like Camilla Parker Bowles and Meghan Markle, are also famously divorced, but they’re not the only ones. Though it was once almost unheard of (we have King Henry VIII to thank for the almost), divorce among members of the royal family is no longer all that uncommon, nor is remarrying after the fact.
Prince Charles, Camilla Parker Bowles
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles are likely the most famous divorced members of the British royal family. After all, it was while they were married to their previous spouses, Princess Diana and Andrew Parker Bowles respectively, that the two carried on an affair that soon became the world’s worst-kept secret.
Both Parker Bowles and Prince Charles would get divorced from their spouses (Parker Bowles in 1995 and Charles in 1996), but it was years before the two went on to tie the knot themselves.
At the heart of their inability to marry earlier was the fact that remarrying following a divorce was almost impossible for members of the royal family, and marrying a divorced person could prevent them from ascending to the throne. Queen Elizabeth II’s own uncle, King Edward VIII, notoriously abdicated the throne to his younger brother, King George VI, to marry the divorced American Walis Simpson.
Since those days, however, modern laws have been passed that not only allow remarriage after divorce, but allow divorced people to marry into the royal family. Charles and Parker Bowles took advantage of the 2002 law and got hitched in 2005.
Before she married Prince Harry in 2018, Meghan Markle had previously been married to film producer and literary manager Trevor Engelson. The two reportedly met in 2004 and enjoyed a long courtship before marrying in 2011. By 2013, however, the two were allegedly barely spending time together, as Markle’s career as an actress kept them largely separated.
That year, Markle filed for divorce, citing “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for the separation. Markle went on to wed Harry, while Engelson found his match in his wife Tracey Kurland. Like Markle and Harry, Engelson and Kurland are the proud parents of two children, although the latter couple had two girls rather than a boy and a girl.
Out of Queen Elizabeth’s four children, three have gone on to get divorced. Of those divorced adult children, only Prince Andrew hasn’t remarried, though he still lives with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson with whom he shares a close relationship. Prince Edward, the queen’s youngest child, is the only non-divorced sibling.
Princess Anne married her first husband, Mark Phillips, in 1973 and was the first of Queen Elizabeth’s children to marry. The couple welcomed two children, Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, before divorcing in 1992. That same year, Anne went on to marry her current husband, Timothy Laurence. As the 2002 law regarding remarriage following divorce hadn’t passed yet, the Princess Royal had to marry her new husband in Scotland to skirt the complicated legalities.
True love can’t always wait around for the law to say it’s ok to be together and to dedicate your lives to one another.
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