Royal Family Members Who Have Dealt With Stalkers

From an outsider's perspective, being a member of a royal family seems like it has unlimited perks. There's usually a historic and sizable family fortune, multiple palaces and grand properties, and endless amounts of jewels safely tucked away in the vaults. On paper, it seems like a really privileged life, but the reality isn't quite as black and white. While all of this may sound alluring to the average Joe, it comes at a very high cost: privacy is virtually non-existent. Every single move royals make is open to scrutiny, which can attract the wrong sorts of people. Thanks to modern media, royals have never been so accessible, but even though some fans are well-meaning, others take their obsession to the next level.

Some of the most prominent royal family members — from Princess Catherine to Queen Victoria — have had to deal with atrocious levels of stalking. These situations can be highly unsettling, disturbing, and above all else, threatening. Security is always tight when it comes to the safety of these famous dynasties, but is that really enough to stop rattling the gilded cage? After all, when a deranged person makes their way onto your property, or even into your bed chamber in the middle of the night, it's difficult to shrug it off. Let's take a look at times royals have dealt with fans that have crossed the line from adoring to plain criminal.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry

Ever since Prince Harry married Meghan, Duchess of Sussex in 2018, rarely a day goes by where they aren't mentioned in the press. Their relationship has come under plenty of scrutiny in recent years, especially since they stepped back as senior royals and moved to the United States. Not only did the couple give up many of their privileges, but they also fortified their right to police protection funded by the palace when visiting the U.K. When they are both at home in the States and back in Blighty, Meghan and Harry have to foot the bill for their own security detail, but whether it's as good as official security remains to be seen.

The former senior royals were left shaken when Kevin Garcia Valdovinos was arrested outside their Montecito home in 2023. Valdovinos was seen outside the couple's property around 2 a.m. Thankfully, police were quick to arrive and swiftly arrested the perpetrator, who they brought in on misdemeanor stalking charges. It's not clear whether the couple was home with their two kids or whether they were staying elsewhere, as they often travel. Regardless, this isn't the first time the Sussexes have dealt with an invasion of privacy, and it likely won't be the last. They have been incredibly vocal about paparazzi intrusion, including speaking out about an incident where photographers chased them through New York with allegedly "near-catastrophic" consequences.

Princess Catherine

Princess Catherine has been one of the British royal family's most popular members ever since she started dating Prince William in their university days. When they tied the knot in 2011, the public infatuation with Catherine grew, as she became the future queen and mother of future monarchs. The mother-of-three has always been gracious, kind, and loving to her adoring fans, but at what cost? In May 2022, it was revealed security forces found evidence of over 170 stalkers targeting Catherine and her family.

Royal expert Duncan Larcombe told OK! (via Express), "Kate's children's protection is a constant worry for her, but she just has to have faith that they have these expert police officers. Over the years, they have altered and upped the security. After the 7/7 bombings in London, the number of protection officers looking after William almost doubled, so they do monitor the threat constantly."

170 certainly seems like a worrying number — and it is — but a lot of what goes on behind the scenes is kept away from Catherine, William, and their children. Despite being firmly in the public eye, the future king and queen likely want to give their kids, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, as much normality and safety as possible. Given their position within the monarchy, the family has the highest level of protection, with plenty of employees focused solely on their well-being and protection.

Princess Diana

When young Lady Diana Spencer was revealed to the public as the one who claimed the Prince of Wales' heart, the public immediately fell in love. The doe-eyed debutante was everything a future queen should be, at least according to tradition. Diana maintained her love affair with the media and the public after her highly-publicized split from the future King Charles III. Although the press had always been relentless in their pursuit of her, the attention certainly ramped up as the divorce took place in the 1990s.

While no single stalker of Diana's has been revealed, the press never left her alone. In the end, they played a huge part in her untimely death, as paparazzi chased Diana and her then-boyfriend, Dodi Al-Fayed, through a tunnel in Paris, causing a fatal collision. 

On the flip side, Diana herself tormented an ex-lover with over 300 phone calls after he broke it off. Millionaire Oliver Hoare had a romance with Diana in the early '90s, but she reportedly expected more from the relationship. Hoare refused to leave his wife to be with her. An anonymous friend of Diana's told The Mirror, "Diana was very naughty. She would drive to his house and park up outside and then call his house phone from her mobile. She'd do it in the middle of the night, so she could watch the lights in the house go on ... She would be there for hours, watching and calling."

Princess Anne

As the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Princess Anne has always been a very prominent figure in the royal family. Until her brother, King Charles III, had children of his own, Anne was second in line to the throne. As a result of her notoriety, Anne has had to put up with a lot in her life, including a kidnap attempt in the early 1970s that resulted in her bodyguard being shot. If it wasn't for the valiance of a passing boxer, it could have turned out very differently. It's easy to assume this is the only brush with a madman the princess has experienced in her lifetime, but it's not. In 2020, James Ballinger was jailed after making multiple threatening calls to 999 regarding the princess and trespassing on her property.

The 35-year-old Ballinger made repeated calls to the emergency services, telling operators he was going to make his way to Anne's Gloucestershire home, Gatcombe Park, and stab the princess, alongside anyone else that may be with her. According to prosecutor Cathy Thornton via The Guardian, Ballinger claimed Anne was "controlling his mind by moving his satellites." Indeed, Ballinger was found and arrested on the property, but was unarmed and didn't hurt anybody. He told police officers that he was mentally ill and was making threats in order to receive treatment. A judge sentenced him to rehabilitation and banned him from going anywhere near Gatcombe Park for six months.

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II spent 70 years on the throne, so it's hardly surprising that she has experienced some unsettling encounters with untoward subjects. Elizabeth came within very close proximity to a strange fellow called Michael Fagan in 1982 when he broke into the palace and managed to enter her bed chamber while she was sleeping. When the queen awoke, she was obviously startled, not least because Fagan had a broken piece of a glass ashtray in his hand. Thankfully, no harm came to her. The incredible situation became headline news. Fagan's reasonings varied and changed over the years, but he once blamed it on being in love with her. That wasn't Elizabeth's only decidedly odd experience.

On a different occasion, another man, a previously convicted murderer called Dennis Hennessy found his way onto palace grounds before asking staff "Is ma'am in?" and getting swiftly arrested. He stood in the gardens for 10 minutes before being apprehended. He later told police that he had wandered around the grounds admiring the view, but insisted he didn't want to harm any royal family member. Hennessy never gave any viable reason for his intrusion, but it was certainly enough to have sent alarm bells ringing at the palace. He was sentenced to four months behind bars for his jaunt, as well as an additional two months for having damaged an alarm system.

Queen Silvia

The British royal family isn't the only monarchy to face stalking. Back in 2011, the Swedish Royal Court accused a photographer of stalking Queen Silvia while she was out shopping with Princess Madeleine in New York. Having your photo taken as a royal may seem like part of the job, but they have just as much right to refuse it as anyone else. Unfortunately, this incident had physical repercussions for Silvia on top of likely being quite a distressing experience.

According to the Royal Court statement, the photographer couldn't take no for an answer (via The Local): "The photographer didn't acknowledge their wish not to be photographed, but instead remained in the entryway of the store. The Queen felt the photographer was being obstinate and chose to go out through the store's side door. The Queen walked briskly to a parked car in order to avoid the photographer who ran after her. Unfortunately, the Queen then fell, injuring both her foot and wrist." The spokesperson went on to say it was "akin to stalking," which the photographer adamantly denied, saying it was Silvia who decided to leave swiftly from a side exit where she tripped and fell over a garbage bag.

No formal charges were brought against the man in question, who apologized on his blog. Whether he ever managed to apologize directly to Silvia herself remains unknown.

Queen Victoria

Discussions of stalkers might invoke a more modern picture in one's mind, of Hollywood celebrities getting tailed in the night or the bright flash of cameras. However, in one of the strangest accounts of royal stalkers in history, Queen Victoria was tormented by a boy that stole her underwear and lived in Buckingham Palace's chimneys. It may have been irritating to the iconic monarch at the time, but it certainly left us with one heck of a story to reflect on. Known as "the Boy Jones", the child was just 14 when he began to harass the queen by infiltrating Buckingham Palace.

Author Jan Bondeson told The Guardian, "They just couldn't keep him out. He sat on the throne, he looked at books in the royal library, and went inside Queen Victoria's private apartments — once he even stole her underwear. The amazing thing is really how close he was able to get to the Queen, and the extraordinary lengths the authorities went to get rid of him." When the miniature invader was caught, he claimed he just wanted to see inside the palace's hallowed halls. Worried about what he may have seen or who he may have spoken to, Jones was eventually prosecuted and shipped off to Australia, where he lived out his days as a drunk and died in his 70s when he fell off a bridge, intoxicated.

Prince William

Although not a case of long-term stalking, it's certainly one for the history books. Throughout his life in the public eye, Prince William has always managed to maintain his trademark cool. As the future king of England, it wouldn't do for him to create a spectacle or cause a scene ... but there is one thing that William is fiercely defensive of above all else: his children. In 2021, the prince was caught on camera shouting at a photographer whom he accused of "stalking around" him and his family while they were on a bike ride near their residence in Sandringham, Norfolk.

In the video, which was uploaded to social media, William says (via Sky News), "You were stalking around, you were looking for us and our children. I'm out for a quiet bike ride with my children on a Saturday and you won't even give me your name. You're outrageous. You're disgusting. You really are. How dare you behave like that ... thanks for ruining our day." Both William and Princess Catherine were disturbed by the encounter, which saw William call his security detail.

Though it's not often William gets angry, this isn't the first time a member of the royal family has lost their temper with a photographer. Everyone from Princess Diana to Prince Harry has had choice words for the press at some point or another, making this a very fractious relationship.

Laura Lopes

In 2004, Camilla, Queen Consort had yet to become King Charles III's wife, but they were steadfast partners in the public's eyes. Though they aren't talked about much, Camilla shares two children with her ex-husband, Andrew Parker-Bowles: Tom Parker-Bowles and Laura Lopes. Just because they aren't directly royals doesn't mean that they haven't been targeted in the past, creating worrying situations. Around the time of Camilla and Charles' wedding in 2005, Laura was placed under police protection after several threats from a stalker were made against her by a man known to be obsessed with members of the royal family.

The man in question, Leo Snoeckx, was 49 years old at the time, while Lopes was 24 and running an art gallery in one of London's most fashionable areas. Snoeckx's infatuation was particularly alarming thanks to his history. A Scotland Yard report detailed his intentions in a security bulletin (via Daily Mail): "[Snoeckx is] a romantically/sexually fixated person who has focused on various 'Royal' females ... he is now focusing his attention on Laura Parker Bowles. Recent correspondence is more aggressive and complains towards The Queen." The threat would have likely been quite unsettling for Lopes, who didn't receive the same level of protection as her royal stepbrothers, Prince Harry and Prince William. Thankfully, Snoeckx's obsession with Camilla's daughter never bore her any harm.

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)

Princess Amalia

Princess Amalia, daughter of Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, was forced to move out of her student accommodation in 2022 when gangsters planned to kidnap her. The young academic was busy trying to enjoy some normality in her studies at the University of Amsterdam when the events unraveled. According to intelligence from authorities, Amalia was found to be at risk after her name was mentioned during phone conversations between criminal organizations. To be on the safe side, Amalia moved back into the palace in The Hague, cutting her authentic student experience quite short.

It wasn't Amalia's first brush with stalkers, either. She was also subjected to harassment from a man known only as Wouter G. in 2020, who sent disturbing messages to her Instagram account, including rape threats. Wouter G., a former soldier, wrote (via AD), "I'm going to King's Day, then I want to take a picture with you, and I squeeze your hand. No escaping it." In other messages, he threatened Amalia's physical safety and that of one of her friends. Wouter G.'s campaign of terror ceased when he was prosecuted, receiving three months in prison for his twisted online games.

As Amalia is the oldest of Queen Maxima and King Willem-Alexander's children, she will one day be queen, making her safety top of the list. Any threats toward her won't be taken lightly, as these two situations display.

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)