These 3 High-Profile Divorces Changed the British Royal Family Forever

It’s a sad statistic to think about, but the fact remains that divorce is far more common in the royal family than it is in the rest of the world. Three out of four of Queen Elizabeth’s own children have experienced at least one failed marriage in their lifetime. As of February 2023, the royal family has a divorce rate 48 times higher than the U.K. public and 66 times higher than the United States, Insider reported.

But just like every royal wedding isn’t as significant as the next, not every royal divorce has as many repercussions on the monarchy at large. Throughout history, three divorces particularly had the most drastic impact on the world.

King Henry VIII divorced his wife and changed history

King Henry VIII

King Henry VIII

King Henry VIII of England (1491-1547) | Stock Montage/Getty Images

RELATED: Here’s What Happens When Royals Get Divorced

The Roman Catholic Church forbid King Henry VIII from divorcing his wife Catherine of Aragon. He wanted to leave her and marry Anne Boleyn because Catherine hadn’t been able to bear him a son. When the pope refused to grant the king his divorce, he became so furious he left the Catholic church and began his own religion instead.

King Henry created the Church of England explicitly so he could divorce and made himself the person in charge. To this day, the ruling monarch is head of the church. And ironically, Queen Elizabeth is personally against divorce because she sees herself as a moral compass for her people.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana had a high profile divorce

Prince Charles and Princess Diana

Prince Charles and Princess Diana

Prince Charles and Princess Diana | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

The most notorious royal divorce in modern history was between Prince Charles and Princess Diana. This ill-fated couple never should have gotten married in the first place and experienced way more turmoil than happiness over the course of their relationship.

The biggest issue in their relationship was that Charles engaged in an affair with his ex-girlfriend Camilla, the woman he eventually married. But they probably wouldn’t have survived anyway. Prince Charles and Diana barely knew each other when they got married and weren’t well-suited to each other in the least.

Princess Margaret married the wrong man

Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong Jones

Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong Jones

Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones | Anwar Hussein/WireImage

Queen Elizabeth’s younger sister Princess Margaret wanted to marry the king’s former courtier Peter Townsend, but the queen would not allow it because Townsend was a divorced man. Margaret obeyed her sister’s wishes and went ahead to marry photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones instead. But there was just one problem: that marriage didn’t last either.

Royal followers were especially critical to heart Princess Margaret was divorcing Lord Snowden after a very public scandal involving an affair with the landscape gardener brought shame to the family, CNN reported. Once again, divorce rocked the royals, and it was all because of the queen’s disdain toward divorced people generally.

Princess Margaret’s divorce helped change royal attitudes about divorced spouses. Later, Prince Harry was able to marry Meghan, Duchess of Sussex even though she was a divorcee.

Queen Elizabeth despises divorce

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip| Oli Scarff/Getty Images

It’s widely believed that Prince Philip was unfaithful to Queen Elizabeth at various points of their marriage, but she would never leave him because of how much she hates divorce. Before she became queen, Elizabeth gave a speech to a Christian women’s organization called the Mothers’ Union and said, “divorce and separation are responsible for some of the darkest evils in our society today.”

Even though most of her family members didn’t stick to the queen’s strict “no divorce” rule, Queen Elizabeth did. She recently celebrated 70 years of marriage with her husband.

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