The Most Arrogant Royal Family Members
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The following article includes mentions of sexual abuse allegations.
Royalty has been around for centuries, but it’s certainly not been just all bows, curtsies, inbreeding, and crown jewels along the way. According to National Geographic, the hierarchal hereditary concept dates back to 660 BC, when legend has it that Jimmu, the first Emperor of Japan, started his Imperial House — which is believed to be the earliest form of monarchy, as we know it today.
Over the years, more and more royal dynasties began springing up worldwide, and things started to take a decidedly dark turn. There were wars, mass murders and genocides, backstabbing, and intrigue. Families duked it out between themselves for the "right" to sit on the throne, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of commoners in their thirst for royal power. There were beheadings, religious crusades, hung-drawn-and-quarterings, and naysayers were burned alive. Those in roles of absolute power were anointed by God himself and duty-bound to carry out His orders — which strangely always seemed to fit their own agendas — and people couldn’t vote them out.
These days, royalty has (thankfully) become more symbolic than tyrannical, thanks to some good old bloody revolutions. But that doesn’t mean there’s any less of a sense of entitlement and privilege among nobles — for our purposes, that’s still very alive and definitely kicking. Tipeth thy caps po’r commoners, sitteth thyselves down and raiseth a tankard ‘r two as we take a look at the most arrogant royal family members.
The Queen Mother
The Queen Mother’s death in 2002 was marked by 10 days of mourning, and a never-ending stream of Dame Vera Lynn and WWII songs. Per The Guardian, it also proved a turning point for the royal family, sparking public unwillingness to tolerate their wealth and privilege. Many commoners were starting to revolt (in a polite, British way), as UK citizens, who were struggling through a recession, were fed up with funding the opulence and luxury the royals reveled in.
The Daily Mail reports that the Queen Mother’s life was filled with grandeur and splendor. She owned five residences and employed over 100 staff. Elizabeth had a "dozen racehorses," a cellar of rare, expensive wine, and wardrobes of designer duds. She hosted lavish dinner parties, ringing her Faberge pearl bell to summon her servants. Wealthy and influential guests feasted on lobster and quaffed £300 bottles of vintage Krug champagne. The so-called "Empress of Extravagance" left debts of over £7 million when she died, but who cares when you’re the Queen Mother?
According to William Shawcross’ "The Queen Mother: The Official Biography" (via The Guardian), Elizabeth reportedly treated commoners contemptuously, with an alleged sense of entitlement and arrogance that made her dismissive and cruel, condescending, and racist. For example, the Queen Mother’s two nieces were hidden away in an institution for life because they were born with learning difficulties, and she apparently never visited them once. In fact, they were seemingly treated like a dirty little secret. When news of their existence broke, Elizabeth made sure everybody knew their genes weren’t from her lineage.
When Princess Margaret’s sister was crowned Queen Elizabeth II, she had to settle for the lowly title of Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret, The Countess of Snowdon. As any fans of "The Crown" already know, Margaret believed she should have been queen rather than her boring sibling. But she was born second, so Elizabeth took the throne after George VI’s unexpected death at age 56 in 1952 (via Royal.uk).
Poor Margaret made the best of a bad lot, though. She threw her heart and soul into being a countess. By the 1970s, she was blowing through her annual $103,000 tax-payer funded "expense allowance" (via The Washington Post) — which, according to InflationTool, is around $432,092 in today’s money — as quickly as humanly possible. Margaret was renowned for her jet-setting, hard-partying, and freeloading, not to mention her lavish cash splashing and scandalous, free-lovin’ lifestyle. She became a tabloid fixture, leading to political grumbling about her being an "expensive kept woman," per Town & Country.
The princess was renowned for her alleged sense of entitlement and privilege, too — supposedly dismissive and rude to those she deemed beneath HRH … unless they were young, hot, and male, apparently. Reportedly treating her servants with contempt and having endless over-the-top demands, Margaret supposedly also treated "lesser" royals and celebrities disrespectfully and with disdain. "I have been at the same house parties as her, and her arrogance, her petulance, her rudeness, and her plain bad manners were awful," an acquaintance claimed to "Princess Margaret: A Biography" author Theo Aronson (via Biography).
King Albert II of Belgium
King Albert II of Belgium abdicated in 2013. He cited "health reasons," but his reign had been packed with controversies. Per BBC News, in 1997, it was revealed Albert had an 18-year-long affair, resulting in the birth of a daughter back in the ’60s. After the news broke five decades later, Delphine Boël hoped to be acknowledged by her father.
However, Albert denied fathering any nonmarital children — and, as far as he was concerned, that was the end of it. But Boël demanded Albert be ordered to provide a DNA sample. He refused, claiming his royal status ensured legal immunity. It took a drawn-out legal battle to force him to ‘fess up. "King Albert has decided to put an end to this painful procedure in good conscience," his lawyer said (via People).
Albert seemingly had no conscience whatsoever, though, regarding the mass genocide committed by his ancestor. BBC News reports that King Leopold II ravaged the Congo and surrounding African countries in 1885, resulting in 10 million deaths. King Albert II refused to acknowledge the atrocity — however, his son, King Philippe, was forced to release a #SorryNotSorry statement in 2020 following mass protests in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Meanwhile, Albert has whined about surviving on the paltry €1 million a year salary he was allotted post-abdication. Luckily, as per the Independent, at least the poor man can continue "seeking solace by traveling between his three holiday homes." It’s hard out there for a former king.
It might not be all that shocking to see Prince Andrew pop up on the most arrogant royal family members list. The Duke of York’s alleged sense of entitlement dates back decades and seemingly knows no bounds. Per the Daily Mail, Andrew is the queen’s favorite offspring. So it’s no surprise he was reportedly unbearably arrogant even as a child — regularly spotted "taunting the guardsmen on duty and aiming sly kicks at the dogs."
Vanity Fair claimed Andrew’s "dissolute private life and dodgy friends" had caused "a major P.R. problem." They listed some of Andrew’s (many) scandals, including his relationships and deals with shady billionaire "businessmen" — like the "convicted Libyan gun smuggler" who gave him a $30,000 gold necklace — and how he was nicknamed "Air-Miles Andy" after flying 50 miles by helicopter for "a lunch with Arab dignitaries," costing taxpayers $5,000. Not to mention his "secret" rendezvous with Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, and his Egyptian dinner with "the corrupt president of Kazakhstan" — resulting in Nazarbayev’s son-in-law paying "$4.9 million more than the asking price" to buy Andrew’s Ascot mansion.
Then there’s his close ties with late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Andrew has repeatedly denied Virginia Giuffre’s allegations of sexual misconduct and claimed in his trainwreck BBC interview that he would cooperate with "any appropriate law enforcement agency." However, he’s reportedly resisted all efforts to force him to comply. As The Sunday Post noted in 2021, "[He] is an arrogant man, used to getting his own way without having to explain himself. He is an immovable object. However, in Giuffre and her legal team, he may well have met an irresistible force."
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King Juan of Spain
King Juan of Spain was subjected to more than his fair share of controversies. His brother was heir to the throne until he was allegedly shot by Juan during a "prank." The family hushed up the death and has never spoken about it. But in his biography, "Juan Carlos: A People’s King" (via The Times), author Paul Preston claims Juan’ fessed up to "holding the gun" when the shooting happened.
Juan escaped the spotlight for allegedly killing his brother, but he didn’t for other deaths he caused. Per CGTN, in 2004, Juan was slammed for "kill[ing] four bears, including a pregnant female" during a luxury hunting trip. Then, in 2012, while Spain was suffering its worst financial crisis in history, Juan splashed out $60,000 to jet off to Botswana and head up an elephant hunt.
King Juan also had multiple mistresses — one of which he gave €65 million to. He awarded a building contract to Saudi Arabia in return for an "undeclared ‘gift’ of a hundred million dollars," per The New Yorker. He faced "persistent rumors of … corruption." He spent an inordinate amount of time jetting around the world to stay at palatial estates owned by elite and powerful pals. As news of more scandals continued to surface, King Juan abdicated in 2014. His successor, King Felipe VI, revealed he wouldn’t accept his father’s inheritance. In addition to stripping Juan of his "royal allowance," Felipe also ordered him to leave the country and never represent the royal family again.
Prince Philip was the epitome of privilege and alleged arrogance — wealthy, elitist, and renowned for his problematic "gags." For example, per Mashable, during a visit to a Bangladeshi youth club, Philip once asked, "So who’s on drugs here?" before pointing to a teenage boy and saying, "He looks as if he’s on drugs." He also told the Nigerian president his traditional robes made him look "ready for bed." Philip asked a Kenyan lady who gave him a gift, "You are a woman, aren’t you?" Oh, and he once remarked, "I don’t think a prostitute is more moral than a wife, but they are doing the same thing." Major yikes all around.
But it was Philip’s 2019 car crash that many felt really displayed his arrogance. The 97-year-old pulled out of a road, causing a car carrying two adults and a baby to smash into him. Philip escaped without injury. However, the other car’s passenger "suffered a broken wrist" and was written off work for two months. The Duke of Edinburgh didn’t apologize and was seen the next day driving a brand-new Land Rover without wearing a seatbelt, no less (via Daily Beast).
The accident and his subsequent behavior led to Piers Morgan going on a rampage, branding Philip "the rudest human ever" — but hey, Piers Morgan. "It’s time the Queen gave her rude, stubborn, insensitive, arrogant and dangerous Duke of Hazard his driving marching orders," Morgan raged in the Daily Mail. Meanwhile, the Mirror wrote, "Prince Philip needs to stop behaving like an arrogant, self-regarding a**e."
Princess Cristina of Spain
Princess Cristina is the sister of the reigning Spanish King, Felipe VI. Her husband, Iñaki Undargarin, is a former Olympic handball athlete who won two bronze medals for Spain. They met at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and were married a year later, scoring the titles of Duke and Duchess of Palma. For a while, they were the ultimate power couple and "media darlings," but then came their "fall from grace" — and it was a spectacular one. The couple is responsible for one of the biggest scandals to rock the Spanish monarchy, per The Guardian.
King Juan ceded the throne to Felipe, citing "health reasons" after it was revealed Undargarin and his daughter were at the center of a vast financial scandal. The duke had utilized his "power, aristocracy and privilege" to win government contracts and carry out shady deals, then siphoned the money into offshore accounts. Undargarin was ultimately sentenced to 5 years for tax fraud and embezzlement (via El Pais).
The duchess was on the board of The Noos Institute, of which her husband was the director. The non-profit organization was used to launder around "€5.6 million in public funds." Per Forbes, Cristina also faced charges of tax fraud. King Juan insisted his daughter wouldn’t be treated differently because of her noble status, declaring, "Justice is the same for everyone." However, Princess Cristina managed to walk away scot-free, although she did lose her title and has been banned from attending any royal events.
Princess Michael of Kent
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Some might consider Princess Michael of Kent to be near the top of the most arrogant royal family members list. She was Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz before becoming Princess Michael. These days, she’s also known as "Pushy Princess" and "Rent-a-Princess" — because she’d attend the opening of an envelope for a quid or two — and is famous for her alleged arrogance, racism, "haughty behavior, and less-than-sensitive trash talk" (via Ranker).
Because of the royal family’s endless rules, the baroness wasn’t permitted to add "princess" to her birth name when she married. So, she took new husband Prince Michael’s full name — allowing her to formally be titled princess, per Town & Country. (Just roll with it.) But the controversial HRH has been accused of racism multiple times. According to Vanity Fair, she named her two black sheep Serena and Venus. To meet Meghan Markle, she infamously wore a "Blackamoor" brooch — a symbol of celebrating slavery. Oh, and she once reportedly screamed at a bunch of Black people in an American restaurant to "go back to the colonies" (which she later denied). In an odd interview (via The Guardian), however, Princess Michael of Kent insisted she wasn’t racist because she used to pretend to be "half-caste."
Then there’s the fact her father was a Nazi and an SS Major. Per the Daily Mail, the princess adamantly denied any knowledge of her father’s past, alleging she felt "deep shame" upon learning of it. However, in the documentary "Princess Michael: The Controversial Royal," experts branded her claims "naive and arrogant."
Captain Mark Phillips
Princess Anne married then-acting Captain Mark Phillips in November 1973. The couple shared a love of horses — they met at an equestrian event in Mexico City — and for a while, it seemed like a fairytale romance. They had two children and lived on a palatial estate given to Anne by mummy (via People). The outspoken, hardworking Anne was one of the most popular royals. Mark Phillips? Not so much. However, what he lacked in approval, he more than made up for in alleged arrogance.
According to Nicholas Courtney’s biography, "Princess Anne" (via Express), "Mark suffered from a short temper when tired, and ‘found official visits tiring and hard standing around for hours.’" Per Town & Country, cracks soon started to appear in the marriage, with rumors of infidelity on both sides. They divorced in 1992 following a report claiming Phillips had fathered a nonmarital child. Anne remarried just months later. Phillips remarried in 1997, but that ended in divorce 15 years later due to his philandering.
In 2016, Phillips finally ‘fessed up to engaging in an affair with one of the US Olympics team riders he had been training. The affair had led to the end of his second marriage and was somewhat controversial as Lauren Hough is 30 years younger than Phillips. However, perhaps in his typical style, which the Daily Mail labeled "a display of almost breath-taking arrogance," he boasted, "I’m not out to win a popularity contest." At the time of this writing, Phillips and Hough are still together.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Prince Harry went from winning the public’s hearts as the sad little boy forced to walk behind his mother’s coffin to becoming the second least popular royal by 2021. According to a YouGov poll, Harry ties as second with Meghan Markle, behind — drumroll — Prince Andrew. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have a rating of 21% among "baby boomers," while 7% still manage to deem The Duke of York popular. Perhaps they haven’t renewed their BBC TV license in a couple of years.
Harry and Meghan were branded "arrogant" for expecting the public to pay for their post-"Megxit" security. "I’ve seen some disgraceful royal antics in my time, but for pure arrogance, entitlement, greed, and wilful disrespect, nothing has ever quite matched the behaviour of the ‘Duke and Duchess of Sussex,’" Piers Morgan, who’s been known to criticize Markle in particular, raged in the Daily Mail.
Their popularity dropped further following their Oprah Winfrey interview, which led to Morgan ripping the couple for their supposedly "staggering degree of narcissism" in another furious Daily Mail rant. Harry and Meghan also came under fire for a statement on their Archewell Foundation website. They said the August 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan (where Harry served two frontline tours) left them "speechless" and "feel[ing] many layers of pain," and announced they were working to "support vaccine equity" to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Royal biographer Angela Levin told The U.S. Sun, "It’s so grandiose and patronising," and accused the couple of "posturing."
The Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson
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Sarah Ferguson was hounded by the press from the moment it was revealed she’d snared "Randy Andy." Fergie, as she was nicknamed, was constantly criticized over her fluctuating weight — leading to tabloids calling her "The Duchess of Pork." She later admitted on "The Gemma & Emma Podcast" (via the Mirror) that the "cruel jibes" were "soul-destroying." However, Ferguson did little to ingratiate herself with the public or the royals. According to Express, she reportedly encountered Queen Elizabeth II’s wrath before even marrying Prince Andrew. HRH was horrified by Ferguson’s "vulgar" bachelorette night antics — which apparently included "laying on the floor [with] bottles of champagne being fired in every direction."
Things went further downhill from there on. There were topless photos of Ferguson having her toes sucked by a millionaire on a yacht. She used her royal status and connections to land a $3 million Weight Watchers spokesperson contract. Fergie made an awks docu-reality show. And, despite not being invited to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding, she wormed herself in anyway, giving a TV interview on the big day while dispensing marital advice to the couple (via BestLife). Oh, Fergie!
Worst of all, though, was when she was caught in a tabloid sting, per The Guardian. Ferguson was secretly filmed negotiating to sell ex-husband Prince Andrew’s endorsement in return for £500,000. And, according to the Daily Mail, she was reportedly "the driving force" behind Andrew agreeing to his infamous BBC trainwreck interview. Not surprisingly, she’s been accused of being "arrogant and rude."
Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark
In 2021, the Crown Prince of Denmark, Frederik, allegedly exiled brother Prince Joachim and his wife, Princess Marie, to France. Their banishment reportedly stemmed from Joachim complaining about Frederik being "dismissive." The feud started after Joachim and Marie relocated from their remote castle in Jutland to Copenhagen. Frederik apparently felt the couple was threatening his sovereignty by muscling in on his territory (via Daily Beast).
Per Hello!, Frederik was so enraged he ordered that the couple be excluded from the family Christmas gathering. In Frederik’s defense, Joachim’s past actions resulted in TheLocal.dk claiming, "He’s a man who makes the UK’s Prince Andrew look positively likable." They also reported that Frederik caused a "genuine uproar" by ignoring orders not to cross the Storebælt Bridge during a severe storm. He was accused of committing an "arrogant, willfully dangerous act of entitlement" by driving past the commoners waiting in line.
The cray appears to run in the Danish noble blood. The brothers’ father, the Prince Consort of Denmark, went on a "bizarre rant" about Queen Margrethe II. In an interview with tabloid Se og Hør (via the Independent), Henrik, who’s renowned as "the world’s grumpiest royal," complained, "My wife does not give me the respect a normal wife must give her spouse." He vowed he’d never be laid to rest next to Margrethe in the royal cemetery. "It is her that is making a fool of me. I didn’t marry the Queen to be buried at Roskilde," Henrik charged.
King Edward VIII
King Edward VIII infamously renounced the throne in 1936 to marry US-born, two-time-divorcée Wallis Simpson. His abdication forced his shy, unprepared, and unwilling younger brother, George, to become king. George VI’s wife, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (later known as the Queen Mother), was reportedly "furious" at Edward for thrusting the crown onto her beloved "Bertie," but she fully "blam[ed]" Simpson for "ruining their lives" (via The Guardian).
As if abdicating wasn’t enough of a scandal in itself, Edward was involved in numerous others over the years. Philip Ziegler’s book "King Edward VIII: A Biography" (via The New York Times) claimed that the Duke of Windsor "was monumentally indiscreet, politically shallow, and surprisingly avaricious." He was also apparently blatantly arrogant, racist, classist, and a Nazi sympathizer and supporter. But it was the jet-setting, money-grabbing, and glamorous life he lived post-abdication that displayed his alleged arrogance at its best.
Per the Daily Mail, the diaries of King George VI’s private secretary were released in 2006. "The King’s Counsellor: Abdication and War — The Diaries of ‘Tommy’ Lascelles" painted "a damning portrait of Edward VIII." Lascelles wrote that Edward placed money above all else, despite being "one of the richest men in Europe — if not the richest." Yet, he and Simpson persistently pled poverty — probably due to the expense of funding their luxurious lifestyle. Lascelles claimed Edward was "immature" and had no ethics. "So isolated was he in the world of his own desires that I do not think he ever felt affection — absolute, objective affection — for any living being," he wrote.