Drama Surrounding Royal Love Children That We Almost Forgot About

If there's one thing that's going to raise the public's eyebrows without question, it's a story about a member of a royal family welcoming a child outside of their marriage. There are at least 40 monarchies still in existence around the world and many of those have been hit with their own baby-related scandals over the years. And some are far messier than others. 

Some of the children have been openly acknowledged by their regal parents. Others have been shut out by their purported royal relatives entirely. There have been a few who have taken legal action. And, of course, there are a handful of instances where the paternity claims do not add up and the rumors appear to be totally false. Whatever the case, even the faintest rumbling about a possible royal love child is sure to generate headlines and speculation.

From the completely heartbreaking to the fairly questionable, these stories about royal love children (and alleged royal love children) really bring the drama. 

King Albert II of Belgium had a child with his longtime mistress

Sometimes it seems that a member of the royal family having a child or two outside of their marriage is just a tale as old as time, and from that perspective, it's likely not too surprising to learn that Belgium's King Albert II has a daughter born out of wedlock. Delphine Boël has been open about her dynamic with her father and the royal family, and even spoke exclusively to Tatler in August 2022 about what those relationships are like as an adult. 

Until she was 17 years old, Delphine believed her mother's husband, Jonkheer Jacques Boël, was her biological father. What's more, she learned that her mother and the king — a family friend — had an affair that spanned nearly two decades. However, once word got out about Delphine's actual link to the king, Albert reportedly was none too pleased. According to Tatler, he even reportedly called Delphine and yelled, "You are not my daughter!"

Delphine eventually uncovered the truth after a 2020 DNA test proved she is indeed a royal by blood. 

Prince George, Duke of Kent, might have had two illegitimate children

Royal baby drama doesn't begin and end with the royal family in Belgium — the family of the late Queen Elizabeth II also has its own paternity-related scandals. In fact, Prince George, Duke of Kent (Elizabeth's uncle) was rumored to have two children outside of his marriage. While George was thought to be the smartest of his siblings, he also had a secret side. 

George married Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, his second cousin, in November 1934. The two had three children together. Per The Rake, it's believed George had relationships with both men and women before he was married and after Marina died, and at one point author Barbara Cartland believed that George was the father of her daughter. Whether or not she was indeed the child of George, Cartland's daughter, Raine Spencer, would have royal ties regardless: She later married John Spencer, the father of Princess Diana. 

It's also believed that George is the father of Michael Canfield, who was conceived during an affair with American socialite Kiki Preston. Michael was adopted by Cass Canfield, though others have insisted that Preston had a miscarriage and that Michael is the biological child of her husband.

Simon Dorante-Day claims to be the son of King Charles III and Queen Camilla

Many people know the story of King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort: the pair dated before Charles began a relationship with Princess Diana, but then also continued to see one another behind Diana's back. While they admitted to the affair and have now been married for decades, the lid on the rumor jar has not been sealed shut for good.

Per the Daily Mail, Simon Charles Dorante-Day is a British-born Australian man who claims to be the son of Charles and Camilla. In 2023, Dorante-Day came forward with his claims, maintaining that he was adopted when he was still a baby; the king and queen consort would have been teenagers at the time of his birth. He has also said that his grandmother was the person who told him the royals are his biological parents. 

Dorante-Day alleged that the royal family took drastic measures to ensure no one might suspect he was related to Charles, supposedly even subjecting him to cosmetic procedures. His grandmother was said to work for the royal household at the time and ended up adopting him. Of course, Charles and Camilla didn't meet for the first time until half a decade after his birth, but this official timeline did little to dissuade Dorante-Day.

Prince Albert II is dad to Jazmin Grace Grimaldi

Albert II, Prince of Monaco, has at least two children outside of his marriage to Princess Charlene. His oldest, daughter Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, was born in the United States as the result of a relationship that Albert had with her mother, Tamara Rotolo.

Growing up, Jazmin knew Albert was her dad, and Albert knew she existed, but the prince didn't formally recognize her as his biological child until she was well into her teen years. In 2015, she told Harper's Bazaar that it was fairly overwhelming when her relationship to Albert was made public. As she put it, "I was 14, getting ready to go to high school, when it hit the media that my father had a daughter, and it was me. It's a difficult time for any young adult, and it was an adjustment to have that attention. But I knew it was going to come someday."

In the same interview, Jazmin noted that her mom made an effort to make sure that she felt connected to her father's family as a child. Rotolo would show her daughter movies and photos featuring Albert's mother, the iconic actor Grace Kelly, who died a decade before Jazmin was born. 

Prince Albert II is also dad to a son named Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste

Albert II, Prince of Monaco has also fathered a second child out of wedlock, son Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste. Alexandre's mother is former flight attendant Nicole Coste, who previously worked for Air France. 

Per the Daily Mail, Albert waited to acknowledge that he is Alexandre's father until 2005, just before he was officially named Prince of Monaco. Alexandre is not in the line of succession, as his parents were not married when he was born. In an interview with Larry King, Albert admitted to feeling somewhat blindsided when news of his son's existence was released by his son's mother to the public. As he put it, "Well, obviously, Larry, when an event like this that is strictly in the private realm and it concerns your private life when that is made public it's sort of a shock and you do feel betrayed in many ways and ... I felt as though it would come out at some point."

Albert also made it clear that he has been supporting Alexandre since his birth. "I did know about him but that also happened in a very kind of strange way but he will have everything he needs and I will see him as often as possible but, you know, and anything else is just my concern or concerns my private life," he said.

A man named Robert Brown believes he is the son of Princess Margaret

Per BBC News, a Kenyan-born British man named Robert Brown headed to court in 2013 while on a quest to prove that his biological mother is Princess Margaret. Initially, he claimed his father was Captain Peter Townsend, but as the Daily Mail later reported, he eventually changed his theory and suggested his dad was actually musician and aristocrat Robin Douglas-Home. (That second theory doesn't totally work with the timeline: Margaret and Douglas-Home's brief relationship took place about a dozen years after Brown was born.)

Brown began his legal battle as part of his attempt to see the contents of Margaret's will. The wills of members of the royal family have been sealed from the public since the early 1900s, but Brown was allowed to appeal to the High Court for the right to see what, if anything, Margaret could have left him after her death in 2002. 

However, being allowed to see the will wasn't an indication that anyone believed Brown's claim. As the presiding judge in the case described it, Brown's belief that he is the son of Margaret is "scandalous and irrational" (via The Guardian).

Alberto Sola and Ingrid Sartiau claim to be the kids of Juan Carlos I

No stranger to scandal, Juan Carlos I, the former king of Spain, is rumored to have fathered not one but two kids outside of his marriage. Ingrid Sartiau and Alberto Solà Jimenez have both claimed they are children of the former king.

Per Express, Sartiau claimed that her mother met Juan Carlos in 1956 and that the two had an affair a decade later. At the time, Juan Carlos had been married to his wife Queen Sofia for four years and the pair had welcomed three young children in quick succession. Sartiau alleged that her mother was told to have an illegal abortion, which she opted against, and that she moved to Belgium where she could have a child outside of marriage in peace.

In 2012, Sartiau and Jimenez took DNA tests that showed they have a 91% chance of sharing a parent. Jimenez was reportedly conceived when his mother was 18 years old and allegedly had a relationship with Juan Carlos. The king has never confirmed this, but Jimenez has claimed that a royal insider corroborated his story. Per Reuters, Jimenez and Sartiau filed paternity suits against Juan Carlos in 2015, but both were dismissed by the Spanish Supreme Court.

Many people have believed Prince Harry is not the son of King Charles III

Of all the stories about royal children who might not have been born to the parents they believe, Prince Harry has likely endured the most rumors about whether or not King Charles III is his biological father. In fact, even Charles himself has been flippant about the matter, despite the fact that Harry has been open about the pain that he's felt from the stories.

Princess Diana had an affair with James Hewitt, a British man who also happens to have red hair, like Harry. This seems to be the basis for a lot of the rumors, most of which have managed to persist for decades. In his bombshell memoir, "Spare," Harry admitted that his dad regularly poked fun at the rumors. He wrote, "Pa liked telling stories, and this was one of the best in his repertoire." The Duke of Sussex went on to recall some of his dads facetious questions: "'Who knows if I'm really the Prince of Wales? Who knows if I'm even your real father?'" Though the rumors don't hold water — not only has Hewitt denied the claims, but he and Diana didn't meet until after Harry was born — the public's speculation continues to linger. 

Queen Elizabeth's cousin's kid caused a scandal when she got pregnant

In October 1989, Marina Ogilvy caused a major panic when she got pregnant out of wedlock. As Ogilvy's mother, Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy, was a first cousin to Queen Elizabeth II, the situation drew a lot of attention from the media and around the world. According to Ogilvy, her relationship with her parents hit a rough patch when they allegedly asked that she either marry the father of the baby or have an abortion. She turned down both options.

Ogilvy took her story all the way to the BBC, where she and her boyfriend appeared on TV. Per the Associated Press, Ogilvy addressed her mother via the news service and said, "I want you to really stand by me and love me as a mother. We believe we are doing the right thing and it's what we want to do." The pair also revealed that they planned to wed after the baby's birth, but didn't want to be forced to marry early just for the sake of appearances. 

However, her parents were quick to deny allegations that they demanded an abortion and that they had cut off their daughter from the family. They issued a statement that explained, "Marina's parents sadly do not know where she is but Marina has their (telephone) numbers and they would love her to get in touch with them."

Captain Mark Phillips had a daughter named Felicity Tonkin

Many followers of the British royal family know that Princess Anne's husband Captain Mark Phillips fathered a daughter outside of his marriage to Anne. Phillips reportedly had a one-night affair with Heather Tonkin in 1984 despite being married, and that night resulted in the birth of a daughter named Felicity Tonkin.

According to the Daily Mail, Phillips urged Heather to have an abortion but she declined. Felicity was under the impression her father was dead until she was 8 years old. Eventually, Phillips began paying monthly support, but when the support became less reliable, Heather took her story to the media.

In 1991, Heather explained that she was only trying to look out for her child's welfare by going public. Per the Daily Mail, she told reporters, "I hope and pray Mark will do the right thing and make a proper and legally-binding settlement on her. I wish I could wake up one morning in the knowledge that the record had been put straight and I don't have to worry any more." Eventually, Phillips paid a settlement of $350,000.

King Henry I reportedly had over 20 kids outside of marriage

Henry I of England and his first wife, Matilda of Scotland, had two children together, Matilda and William, but that didn't stop him from having dozens of children with women who weren't his wife. While it was pretty common for wealthy men to have mistresses during Henry's reign, he reportedly had many more than most men in his position.

Per Royal Central, Henry was believed to have had at least 24 children outside of wedlock. Of course, that number isn't set in stone, as some children may not have been recorded as being fathered by Henry. One of the children was Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester, who was born before Henry became monarch. Unlike some of the children, Robert lived in the royal household from the age of 10, though he earned his royal titles through his marriage to Mabel FitzHamon.

Royal Central has noted that much more emphasis was placed on the illegitimate sons of Henry and not nearly as much on the daughters. As a result, many of those sons supported their father and fought for the nation in the military service.

Princess Thyra of Denmark had a secret pregnancy

Princess Thyra and Vilhelm Frimann Marcher, a royal aide, developed a relationship as Thyra's family was looking for suitable men for her to marry. Marcher was out of the question, but that did little to prevent the relationship from developing. By 1871, Thyra was pregnant. As recounted by The Royal Forums, the 17-year-old royal's parents decided the best move was to have her shuttled her off to Greece where she could stay out of the public eye until she gave birth. The family maintained that she was being treated for jaundice. After Thyra gave birth, a local family adopted the baby. 

According to various reports, Thyra was devastated by the way things played out, and it would be years before she'd pursue another serious relationship. In 1878, Thyra married Prince Ernest Augustus and the pair had six children together over the course of a single decade.

Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands had two children outside of his marriage

Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands made a surprising confession ahead of his death in 2004: he was the father of two children born outside his marriage to Queen Juliana. The news was made public in 2020 as part of the BBC "Witness History" series. There were also two journalists who knew the truth of the children's parentage, both from the BBC. 

Per Express, journalists Mike Lanchin and Jan Tromp explained in the series that they spoke to Bernhard about the moral implications of his affairs, but he didn't see any issues with his choices. "The Prince's self-belief and arrogance was almost unshakeable," Lynch said, before Tromp added, "He said, 'Don't you know, you silly ones, that I have a second extramarital daughter? He started to talk about an American woman who gave him another daughter."

The trio agreed that the news would not be shared until Bernhard passed away. 

Prince Carlos, Duke of Parma, had a son who later became part of the royal family

In 1997, Prince Carlos, Duke of Parma, fathered a son with his childhood friend Brigitte Klynstra. Per The Telegraph, in 2015, the son in question, Hugo Klynstra, decided to fight the agreement between his parents that he would have no royal title or privileges and made two demands: that he be given the title His Royal Highness Prince Carlos Hugo Roderik Sybren de Bourbon de Parme and that he be officially listed as a Dutch royal.

Per France 24, the decision was up to the Council of State. Ultimately, things were decided in favor of Klynstra, who was officially granted the title he sought after fighting the issue with his father for three years. However, being granted the title did not mean that Klynstra was added to the line of succession for the family. In 2010, Carlos wed Annemarie, Duchess of Parma. The two went on to welcome three children.