Former Royal Flames Who Probably Regret Their Relationships

The following article mentions sexual abuse allegations and suicide.

Most people usually associate royal romances with a big, fancy royal wedding, followed by a joyous pregnancy announcement and then an official royal baby reveal. While that does happen a lot for many members of the British monarchy, not every relationship involving a prince or princess has ended with a happily ever after like it does in fairytales. 

After all, dating a royal comes with a lot of rules, restrictions, and pressure; the scrutiny can be overwhelming for the royal and the non-royal alike. Prince Harry appeared to have struggled with this in particular when dating his now-wife Meghan Markle. Things got so bad that his team issued a statement to address the press' treatment of the future duchess. "[Harry's] girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment," it read. "It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm."

Of course, Meghan presumably doesn't regret dating Prince Harry despite the obstacles, considering that they appear to now be happily married with their own family. Yet not everyone who's dated a monarch in the past feels the same way. So let's break down those former royal flames who probably regret their relationships.

Anna Wallace was treated poorly by King Charles

King Charles III is known for his controversial love triangle with his late ex-wife Princess Diana and his current wife, Camilla, Queen Consort. Yet the royal did have other romances before them. One of those was with Scottish socialite, Anna Wallace, who he dated in 1980. Things were apparently serious enough between them that the heir to the throne even proposed to her twice, yet she said no both times.

While it's unclear why Wallace turned King Charles' proposals down, the reason behind their breakup seems to be a widely known anecdote. According to Daily Mail, Wallace had dumped the then-future king after they got into an argument at the Queen Mother's 80th birthday ball. He had seemingly spent the majority of the night dancing with the future queen consort, who then was just his on-again-off-again lover. Wallace wasn't ok with being ignored and reportedly yelled to him, "I have never been so badly treated before in my life." She added, "No one treats me like that. Not even you."

The woman who'd earned the nickname "Whiplash Wallace" clearly wasn't ever going to play second fiddle to anyone. As Vanity Fair detailed, Wallace was known to be a "fiery" person and a "reckless horsewoman." When it came to her relationship with Charles, however, she clearly knew when to rein it in.

Sarah Spencer wasn't in love with King Charles

Lady Sarah Spencer probably rues the day that she dated King Charles III back in 1977 for a couple of reasons. First off, she wasn't even that into him. She made that clear when she spoke to Woman's Own (via Time) after they spent a weekend together at Windsor Castle. While she complimented him for being fun, she dished, "There is no chance of my marrying him. I'm not in love with him." She then added, "And I wouldn't marry anyone I didn't love whether he were the dustman or the King of England."

Unsurprisingly, their relationship didn't survive that proclamation with King Charles not only probably salty that she wasn't interested in him, but reportedly more livid that she spoke to the press. According to "The Diana Chronicles" by Tina Brown, he reportedly told Spencer, "You've just done something extremely stupid." Whether or not Spencer regrets wasting time with someone she didn't love, she could be remorseful over the fact that their relationship led him to her younger sister, Princess Diana.

Yes, King Charles dated Princess Diana's older sister years before they got married. According to The Guardian, after they announced their engagement, Spencer even said, "I introduced them. I'm Cupid." That didn't turn out to be the best love match though, since King Charles and Princess Diana went on to have an unhappy marriage then bitter divorce, before the attention she received as a royal is believed to have ultimately led to her death.

James Hewitt regrets the fallout from his Princess Diana affair

It's no secret that the late Princess Diana had an intriguing love life during her rocky marriage to King Charles III. One of her most famous dalliances was with a British army captain called James Hewitt, whom she reportedly dated between 1986 and 1991, which was when he was then deployed to the Middle East. After the affair, he contemplated suicide before taking a trip to France. "Then my mother insisted on coming with me," he said on "Inside Edition" (via Daily Mail). "If she hadn't, I would probably have shot myself."

Hewitt's reputation took a nosedive following his relationship with Diana; he was dubbed "Britain's biggest cad," and there were unfounded rumors about him being Prince Harry's real father. While Hewitt denied the latter claim, he did bring a lot of the negative attention he's received upon himself. He tried to cash in on his romance with Princess Diana, writing tell-all books about their affair and even attempting to sell their love letters.

With that said, it's worth mentioning that the late princess also wasn't happy with how things played out. Before her death, she reportedly said that while she was once in love with him, he ultimately let her down. As for Hewitt, he once clarified on "Sunday News" (via E! News), "I don't regret [meeting her]. I regret some of the things that have been caused by that."

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Oliver Hoare's reportedly messy affair with Princess Diana

Princess Diana's next lover, the late millionaire Oliver Hoare, seemed to have regretted their 1992 romance for a different reason than James Hewitt did. For one, Hoare, who was also married at the time, had met the royal through her then-husband King Charles III, whom he was friends with. Yet that wasn't why Hoare felt contrite about the fling. Rather, the princess supposedly became obsessed with him, particularly when he ended things.

It's been alleged that Princess Diana would sit outside Hoare's home and bombard him with hundreds of phone calls where she'd either hang up quickly or say nasty things to his wife. "Diana would always say, 'I know he will never leave his wife'... So she would enjoy taunting him and reminding him she was there," a friend told The Mirror. The alleged harassment got so bad that Hoare's wife had police investigate the phone calls before Hoare was said to have confronted Princess Diana himself. When asked about the calls, Princess Diana later said to Martin Bashir (via The Sun), "[It was] over a period of six to nine months, a few times, but certainly not in an obsessive manner, no."

When looking back at their romance, Hoare apparently also felt a lot of remorse over breaking Princess Diana's heart. He said in the Daily Mail, "I told her before anything had happened it would end in a lot of pain for us both but it would be a lot of fun along the way."

Koo Stark's time with Prince Andrew was a 'nightmare'

There are probably a lot of people who regret their associations with Prince Andrew due to his ties to Jeffrey Epstein as well as his own sexual abuse scandal. His ex-girlfriend, Koo Stark, however, presumably would have rather never been romanced by him because of the negative attention that she received. The twosome dated in the early 1980s and were even serious enough for Stark to meet Prince Andrew's mother, Queen Elizabeth II. Yet, things took a turn when, per the Daily Mail, an arthouse film Stark had done in the 1970s resurfaced. In the flick, Stark's character is topless and has sex with another woman.

The palace put out a statement that suggested it wasn't so thrilled with this revelation: "We do not know if the Queen was aware of the girl's acting career before she was invited to Balmoral." While some may argue that all press is good press, Stark struggled with all of the scrutiny and judgment that she received from the general public and the royal family alike. According to The U.S. Sun, she later said, "The amount of attention and pressure on me became unbearable. It was a nightmare."

Decades after their relationship fizzled out, the Daily Mail incorrectly referred to Stark as a porn star in a roundup of Andrew's "very shady friends." According to The Guardian, Stark sued the outlet and won money as well as a published apology.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Peter Cross' romance with Princess Anne cost him big

Former royal protection officer Peter Cross may regret his relationship with Princess Anne because their affair torpedoed both his job and marriage. The twosome's professional relationship allegedly turned romantic in the 1980s when Princess Anne was married to her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips. Cross recalled their liaison somewhat fondly though, telling the Daily Mail, "It was very affectionate. We got on fantastically, basically because we're both straight-talking people who like to be down to earth."

However, once Phillips heard of the affair rumors, he apparently didn't want Cross anywhere near his wife. And with that, Cross was forced to leave his job protecting Princess Anne by his commander. They continued to meet up for a while after he left his post though and Princess Anne and Phillips later went on to divorce. Don't feel bad for Phillips though: As per the Express, he too cheated on Princess Anne by fathering a child with another woman during their marriage. 

You could say Cross risking his job to be with Princess Anne didn't work out for him in the end, not only because she went on to marry Captain Timothy Laurence, but because he also lost his own wife, Linda, because of the scandalous affair. Even Cross's next relationship was hurt because of his ties to the princess as well. As his former partner, Gillian Nicholls, explained, "His affair with her always overshadowed our relationship. It always felt like she was there in the background."

John Bryan became known for sucking Sarah Ferguson's toes

Sarah Ferguson was no stranger to scandal in the 1990s, having made her fair share of headlines for being the misbehaved ex-wife of Prince Andrew. A businessman she was linked to in 1992 named John Bryan got caught up in one of those scandals. That particular incident was racy photos taken when the couple was in France with Ferguson's daughters, which showed Bryan sucking a topless Ferguson's toes. The pictures were splashed across newspapers, and understandably, Bryan and Ferguson were both mortified and upset. 

However, Bryan maintains that the act wasn't at all sexual in nature. After the incident was referenced in a 2022 episode of "The Crown," he insisted to the Daily Mail that it was nothing more than an innocent moment with Fergie and her daughters. "On this day we were playing Cinderella and I said, 'Look, let's kiss Mummy's toes.' It was part of the game," he said. "I don't want to be forever known as 'Fergie's Texan toe-sucking financial adviser.'" Alas, it's proven to be a hard reputation to shake.

While Bryan recalls the rest of the relationship with Ferguson fondly, he appears to be disappointed with how he handled the fallout from the photos. He said on "Lorraine," "I wish I had been a little more experienced in media at the time. That's a very, very difficult thing to certainly run into the media buzz saw."

Paolo Liuzzo faced jail time because of his relationship with Princess Beatrice

It seems that Paolo Liuzzo shouldn't have dated Princess Beatrice in 2006 considering that their brief relationship almost landed him in jail. The then-24-year-old American already had legal problems before they dated, having been convicted on assault and battery charges related to the 2002 death of a college student. Liuzzo was still on probation when he wooed the then-teenage princess in England, where he was allowed to be only for work.

However, dating someone as high-profile as Princess Beatrice clearly wasn't a good idea. Turns out, reports about Liuzzo's trip to the French Alps with the royal family landed on a U.S. judge's desk. As reported by The New York Post, Liuzzo violated his probation and could have been sentenced to 2.5 years in jail. However, he ended up just getting his probation extended. Yet, the judge clarified, "There is always the possibility of incarceration in the future if there is a further parole violation."

Princess Beatrice ended up breaking up with Liuzzo right after that, so it probably wasn't worth getting into trouble or losing his job in England for, because he wasn't allowed to return there either. However, he apparently wasn't too heartbroken, later telling Daily Mail, "I loved her but I wasn't in love with her."

Caroline Flack became Prince Harry's 'bit of rough'

The late Caroline Flack wrote in her memoir that she had liked Prince Harry a lot when they went out in 2009. Yet it seems that their short-lived romance took a toll on her identity. Both Flack and Prince Harry had written in their respective books that once word got out that they were together, the press wouldn't leave Flack or her family alone. "I was no longer Caroline Flack, TV presenter, I was Caroline Flack, Prince Harry's 'bit of rough,'" she wrote in "Storm in a C Cup." She added that they had based that offensive label off her once briefly working in a meat-packing factory. On top of that, she wrote, "They made me out to be a sex-crazed monster."

All of the media attention eventually led to the demise of Flack and Prince Harry's relationship because they couldn't be left alone. Unfortunately, Flack continued to be attacked in the press even after she parted ways with the royal. Then, in 2020, after they both had long moved on, Flack died by suicide months after she was arrested for assaulting her boyfriend, Lewis Burton.

Prince Harry later blamed the media for Flack's death in his 2023 book, "Spare." Yet, her former agent/friend Alex Mullen blasted him for including Flack's tragic story in his memoir. He wrote on Instagram, "Harry's decision to remind all of the terrible things said about her to help sell his appalling book is grotesque."

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Cressida Bonas was pigeonholed as Prince Harry's ex

Cressida Bonas was another one of Prince Harry's exes who seems to regret their romance due to what it did to her reputation. Bonas had dated the prince from 2012 to 2014 and later said on BBC's "Woman's Hour" radio show that it has been difficult to shake the "royal girlfriend" label. "Especially in this country, I find people are very quick to put you in a box or put you in a corner and think 'oh well you're that so you must be that.'" she said. What's more, she's found that their former relationship has overshadowed her acting career at times. "It's incredibly frustrating, especially in the industry that I'm in," she added. 

To make matters worse, when they were still together, photos surfaced of Harry playing strip poker with other women in Las Vegas. Friends of Bonas told Express, "He clearly isn't as serious about her as he had claimed to be." You could say that he embarrassed her again after their split too, when he detailed that he was the one who initiated the break up  in his book, "Spare," by writing about how he didn't see everlasting love with her. 

So while having a romantic relationship with a royal may seem to be the very thing storybooks are made of, many of those who did date someone in the monarchy appear to wish they never had.