4 forbidden royal romances: from King Charles to Princess Mako

The royal family has had its fair share of romantic scandals… WhilstPrince William andPrincess Kate's fairytale nuptials remain firmly etched in our memories, it's all too easy to forget about the romantic crushes and relationships that sparked whispers and serious debate behind palace walls.

Join HELLO! as we take a closer look at some of the most memorable forbidden royal couples. Buckle up because it's quite the ride…

King Charles and Queen Camilla

King Charles III and Queen Camilla's unconventional love story most definitely upset the apple cart. Whilst the couple are now happily married, their romance got off to a sticky start when reports suggested that the monarch had an affair with Camilla during his marriage to Princess Diana.

After meeting at a polo match, Charles and Camilla first started dating in the 70s. They nonetheless called it quits when a young Prince Charles travelled overseas. Camilla went on to marry Andrew Parker-Bowles in 1973, and Charles wed Princess Diana in 1981.

Prince Charles looks smart in suit as he joins Princess Diana who is wearing aqua blue
Prince Charles looks smart in suit as he joins Princess Diana who is wearing aqua blue

In 1992, Charles and Diana announced their split. Meanwhile, in 1995, Camilla filed for divorce from Andrew Parker-Bowles.

You may also like

Nearly 30 years after they first met, Charles and Camilla eventually went public with their relationship in 1999. They went on to marry in 2005 in a civil ceremony at Windsor's Guildhall followed by a service of blessing at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla leave the Service of Prayer and Dedication blessing their marriage at Windsor Castle on April 9, 2005
King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla leave the Service of Prayer and Dedication blessing their marriage at Windsor Castle on April 9, 2005

Whilst key members of the royal family such as Prince Harry and Prince William attended the couple's ceremony, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were notably absent on Charles's big day. The reason? According to the Telegraph, the late monarch bowed out because of her role as head of the Church of England, which discourages divorce.

Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson

Despite marrying for love, both Edward and Wallis were effectively exiled by the royal family. The once future King only returned to England a handful of times, most notably to attend two royal funerals: that of his brother in 1952, and later for his mother Queen Mary in 1953.

edward wallis simpson wedding
edward wallis simpson wedding

Why did their relationship cause such a scandal? Prior to finding love with Edward, Wallis had been married twice before. She married Earl W. Spencer (a navy pilot) in 1916 whom she divorced in 1927, and later wed Ernest A. Simpson in 1928 whom she divorced in 1936.

In light of her two divorces, Wallis was deemed socially and politically unacceptable as a prospective British queen. Beyond this, both the government and the crown rejected Edward's proposal to Wallis as the Church of England did not permit divorced people to remarry in the church.

wallis simpson edward viii pet dogs
wallis simpson edward viii pet dogs

Thus, on December 10, 1936, Edward famously renounced the throne before marrying Wallis in France at Chateau de Cande.

Princess Mako and Kei Komuro

Princess Mako's fairytale love story rocked the Imperial House of Japan, leading her to give up her royal title.

Princess Mako holding a bouquet
Princess Mako holding a bouquet

Princess Mako, now known as Mako Komuro, fell head over heels in love with her beau Kei after they first crossed paths as students in 2012. And in 2018, the couple announced their decision to wed.

Just two months after the young lovebirds went public with their engagement, Kei became the subject of headlines, with numerous news outlets reporting on Kei's mother's alleged money dispute with her former fiancé.

The couple at a press conference to announce their wedding
The couple at a press conference to announce their wedding

The revelations sparked a public backlash, eventually leading Princess Mako's father to temporarily withhold his approval of their marriage. Despite the uproar, in November 2020, Crown Prince Akishino eventually gave his daughter the green light she needed to wed her university sweetheart.

Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend

Prior to finding love with Antony Armstrong-Jones, Queen Elizabeth II's sister Princess Margaret sparked controversy with her engagement to Peter Townsend: King George VI's equerry.

News of their engagement sparked debate within the royal family given that Peter had been married before. Princess Margaret, who was just 25 years old at the time, needed the Queen's consent to marry a divorced man.

Princess Margaret with her husband Lord Snowdon and their two children
Princess Margaret with her husband Lord Snowdon and their two children

In 1955, Margaret issued a heartbreaking statement calling off her engagement. Her message read: "I would like it to be known that I have decided not to marry Group Captain Peter Townsend.

"Mindful of the Church's teachings that Christian marriage is indissoluble, and conscious of my duty to the Commonwealth, I have resolved to put these considerations before others."