Moments that have shocked the Palace

Moments that have shocked the Palace: From Diana’s bombshell Panorama interview to the stunning fall out from Megxit – how Andrew’s court battle is the latest heartache for the Queen

  • Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s tell-all interview sent shockwaves around world
  • Prince Andrew being sued in New York City court by his accuser Virginia Roberts
  • Princess Diana’s Panorama interview was watched by some 23 million people

From the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s tell-all interview about The Firm with Oprah Winfrey to Prince Andrew’s links to paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, the Palace has been rocked by a number of bombshells over the years. 

In 1936 King Edward VIII triggered a constitutional crisis when he decided to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson despite opposition from the Church of England and government ministers.

More than 50 years after his abdication, the monarchy was again plunged into crisis after Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s divorce was officially finalised following a very public fall out. 

Now, the royals are again facing a crisis after Prince Andrew was sued in a New York City court by his accuser Virginia Roberts who claims that she was forced to have sex with the Duke of York three times on the orders of the paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. 

Here are a few of the moment that have rocked the Palace over the years: 

Princess Diana’s bombshell interview on the BBC’s Panorama 

Princess Diana  sent shockwaves around the world when she famously told journalist Martin Bashir there were ‘three of us in this marriage’

In 1995, Princess Diana sent shockwaves around the world when she famously told BBC journalist Martin Bashir there were ‘three of us in this marriage’ during an interview on Panorama.

The 60-minute interview, which was watched by some 23 million people, saw the royal speak of Prince Charles’ relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles, the lack of support she felt from the royal family and her struggles with bulimia and post-natal depression.

She also admitted her infidelity with former army captain James Hewitt. 

The interview led to the Queen demanding that Charles and Diana swiftly divorce in 1996 and also saw her being stripped of her HRH status. 

Earlier this year Prince Harry blasted the BBC Panorama interview as ‘unethical’ while a furious Prince William said Martin Bashir’s ‘lurid and false claims’ to secure it fuelled the ‘paranoia and isolation’ of their mother’s final years.

The Duke of Cambridge said Bashir’s deceit in obtaining his 1995 interview with Princess Diana hastened his parents’ divorce and ‘hurt countless others’ in an unprecedented broadside against the shamed BBC.

It came after Lord Dyson’s damning report showed how Bashir commissioned fake bank statements to secure his interview with Princess Diana.

The statements wrongly suggested that Earl Spencer’s security boss was in the pay of tabloid journalists and a shadowy company linked to the security services.

His lies landed the Panorama reporter the interview of the century and multiple awards – but hastened the end of Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles.

Princess Diana’s death in Paris 

Princess Diana and her then boyfriend Dodi Fayed died following a horrific car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997

On August 31, 1997, Princess Diana, 36, died following a horrific car crash in Paris.

The royal and her then boyfriend Dodi Fayed, the son of Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed, were being driven at high speed in a Mercedes S-280 after they left the Ritz Hotel.

However just moments later, the car crashed into the 13th pillar of a tunnel under the Alma bridge shortly after midnight.

Mr Fayed and driver Henri Paul died at the scene while Princess Diana died from her injuries in a nearby hospital a few hours later.

An inquest into the crash in 2008 found that the deaths had been caused by ‘grossly negligent driving’.

Following the inquest a jury forewoman told the coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker: ‘The crash was caused or contributed to by the speed and manner of the driving of the Mercedes, the speed and manner of driving of the following vehicles, the impairment of the judgment of the driver of the Mercedes through alcohol, and there are nine of us who agree on those conclusions.

‘In addition, the death of the deceased was caused or contributed to by the fact that the deceased [were] not wearing seatbelt(s), the fact that the Mercedes struck the pillar in the Alma Tunnel rather than colliding with something else, and we are unanimous on that, sir.’   

In her address to the nation, the Queen told mourners: ‘What I say to you now as your Queen and as a grandmother I say from my heart. First I want to pay tribute to Diana myself.

‘She was an exceptional and gifted human being. In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh and to inspire others with her warmth and kindness.’

The fire at Windsor Castle in 1992

A fire, which broke out at Windsor Castle on November 20, 1992, went on to destroy 115 rooms, including nine State Rooms

On November 20, 1992, a fire broke out at Windsor Castle and caused extensive damage to the royal residence.

The blaze which started in Queen Victoria’s Private Chapel after a faulty spotlight ignited a curtain next to the altar, was first spotted around 11.30am.

Within minutes the blaze had spread to St George’s Hall next door and went on to destroy 115 rooms, including nine State Rooms.

Three hours after the blaze was first spotted 225 firemen from seven counties were battling the fire, using 36 pumps to discharge 1.5million gallons of water. 

The fire, which did not affect the Royal Library, was finally extinguished at 2.30am on November 21. 

According to the Royal Collection Trust: ‘Amazingly, only two works of art were lost in the fire – a rosewood sideboard and a very large painting by Sir William Beechey that couldn’t be taken down from the wall in time. 

‘Luckily works of art had already been removed from many rooms in advance of rewiring work.’

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s shocking CBS interview with Oprah Winfrey

The Duke and Duchess of Susses speak with Oprah Winfrey during their CBS interview this year

During their CBS interview with Oprah Winfrey this year, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle claimed racism drove them out of Britain and said their son Archie was denied the title of prince because he is mixed-race.

The Duchess of Sussex claimed she entered the Royal Family ‘naively’ and didn’t do any research about her husband or the institution and Prince Harry accused his father Prince Charles of refusing to take his calls when they emigrated to the US last year. 

Meghan also claimed that a relative of Harry’s asked him ‘how dark’ their unborn child would be, with the Duchess claiming Archie being mixed-race was a ‘problem’ for the royals after Oprah asked her if they were worried their son would be ‘too brown’. 

The former Suits star said she would not name the person because it would be ‘too damaging’ for them but she confirmed that the duke was asked the question – ‘how dark his skin might be when he’s born’ – ‘by family’. 

Meghan also said her sister-in-law Kate Middleton made her cry in a row over dresses for the flowergirls before her Windsor wedding.

She said: ‘She (Kate) was upset about something, but she owned it, and she apologised. And she brought me flowers’.

Meanwhile Prince Harry said he felt ‘very let down’ by his father Prince Charles, accusing him of refusing to take his calls and then ‘cut him off’ financially when they emigrated. 

Asked about his relationship with Prince Charles, Harry said they were now speaking again, adding: ‘There’s a lot to work through there, you know? I feel really let down, because he’s been through something similar.

‘He knows what pain feels like, and Archie’s his grandson. I will always love him, but there’s a lot of hurt that’s happened. And I will continue to make it one of my priorities to try and heal that relationship’.

When asked about if he remains close to William he replied: ‘I love William to bits. He’s my brother. We’ve been through hell together. I mean, we have a shared experience. But we’re on different paths’.

The Sussexes also revealed they were already planning to leave the country just six months after they married in May 2018. 

As Oprah wrapped up the interview, the couple insisted that they had had a ‘happy ending’ by moving to LA, with Harry saying he had ‘no regrets’. But his wife added: ‘My regret is believing them [the Royal Family] when they said I’d be protected.’ 

Prince Andrew and his links to paedophile Jeffrey Epstein

The Duke of York, who is being sued by his accuser Virgina Roberts, has faced questions about his links to Jeffrey Epstein

Last night it was revealed that Prince Andrew was being sued in a New York City court by his accuser Virginia Roberts.

Ms Roberts accused the Duke of York of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress in the lawsuit filed in federal court.

The lawsuit – filed on Ms Roberts’ 38th birthday – claims that she was forced to have sex with the duke three times on the orders of the paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

The lawsuit was filed under a law in New York that relates to child abuse as Ms Roberts was considered a minor at the time under state law. 

In a statement to ABC News, Ms Roberts said: ‘I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me.

‘The powerful and the rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions. I hope that other victims will see that it is possible not to live in silence and fear, but one can reclaim her life by speaking out and demanding justice.

‘I did not come to this decision lightly. As a mother and a wife, my family comes first. I know that this action will subject me to further attacks by Prince Andrew and his surrogates.

‘But I knew that if I did not pursue this action, I would be letting them and victims everywhere down’.

In 2019, Prince Andrew spoke publicly for the first time in a ‘no holds barred’ interview with the BBC about his relationship with Epstein – denying he ever had sex with the financier’s ‘sex slave’ Virginia Roberts.

The Duke of York faced questions on BBC Newsnight about his links to Epstein who was found dead aged 66 in 2019 in a prison cell while being held on sex trafficking charges.

The royal maintained he did not recall meeting Ms Roberts and did not spend time with her at Tramp Nightclub in London on March 10 in 2001 after which she claims the pair first had sex.

The duke denied he slept with her on three separate occasions, saying the encounter in 2001 did not happen as he had taken his daughter Princess Beatrice to Pizza Express in Woking for a party, and they spent the rest of the day together. 

The Duke of York said: ‘I was with the children and I’d taken Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party at I suppose sort of 4 or 5 in the afternoon.

‘And then because the Duchess was away, we have a simple rule in the family that when one is away the other one is there.

‘I was on terminal leave at the time from the Royal Navy so therefore I was at home.’ 

Prince Andrew has always strongly denied any wrongdoing and claimed he has never even met Ms Roberts, now a mother-of-three living in Australia who goes by her married name, Virginia Giuffre. 

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