King Charles' Most Notorious Royal Feuds

Though the British royals approach life with the stiff-upper-lip tactic, even they can't avoid family fights. However, unlike the rest of us, their brawls tend to play out in the public eye.

King Charles III's ongoing feud with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle takes the cake currently, but the king's storied fights with his family members date back decades. Unlike his parents — who were both known for their stoic approach to public life — Charles has always been more on the emotionally open side, giving his facial expressions and body language the chance to do the talking. Members of the public have gotten many chances to watch relationships between Charles and his family dissolve — sometimes for a brief moment, other times for good. His most notorious feuds have not only spoken to the larger tensions within the royal family but have indicated just how stable the firm really is behind closed doors.

From his years-long battle with Princess Diana that culminated in their historic divorce, to his multiple arguments with his brothers ranging in topic, to his lifelong fight with his mother, Charles' most notorious royal feuds are far more brutal than you might think.

Charles and his brother Edward had a brawl back in the day

Unlike his older brother who was always destined for the throne, Prince Edward — Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip's youngest son — had to forge his own professional path. King Charles III's little brother decided to venture into the film production business, but his efforts resulted in one of the biggest royal feuds. In an attempt to breathe new life back into his production company, Ardent Productions, Edward decided to film Prince William while attending St. Andrews, using the popular prince as bait to trap viewers. Charles — who had established an ironclad "no media" rule during his son's schooling days — was livid when he found out about Edward's plans, and there was no shortage of words exchanged between them.

"When Prince William was at university, and a very strict issue from the palace to the media had gone out, there was going to be a protocol when Prince William arrived after that, the press was to leave the prince alone," royal expert Katie Nicholl said as part of the documentary, "Royals At War" (via Showbiz CheatSheet). "There was one camera crew that stuck around."

Learning about the news, Charles immediately called his brother, according to Nicholl. "[Charles] in no uncertain terms [told] him he was an idiot and perhaps a choice few words other than that," Nicholl explained. "The message was quite clear: 'You have behaved inappropriately. Leave St. Andrews immediately.'"

The royal and his sister feuded in an unexpected way

Though she's far from the throne, Princess Anne is regularly named the hardest-working royal, and her dedication to the crown has even thrown King Charles III into questionable light. Though some would assume their love of country would bond them, an insider told Woman's Day that the siblings have been feuding for decades, namely over their different lifestyles. Charles, on the one hand, has been groomed for his royal position, but in many ways, he deviated. He's always been outwardly sensitive, was bullied in school, and has dedicated much of his life to environmental practices. Anne, meanwhile, is your classic Brit — she thrived in school, expressed her love of red meat, dominated the equestrian world, and became a fashion icon while doing so. Their polar opposite approach has resulted in a 50-year battle, and the insider dished that these two will simply never see eye to eye.

"Charles and Anne are always civil with each other, especially when they're ... in public, but the reality is they're not close. There have been whispers about their ongoing feud for many years now," the source said. "Charles is a total [stickler] for the rules while Anne has always been a bit of a rebel. They're total opposites and they clash because of it," the insider continued, noting that Camilla, Queen Consort, is also a source of ire between the siblings.

Charles and Andrew's ongoing feud leaves little to the imagination

King Charles III's issues with his brother Prince Andrew are never-ending. The black sheep of the family, Andrew has been forced behind closed doors, unable to participate in public life due to the allegations made against him and his involvement with Jeffrey Epstein. Andrew and Charles' feud has not only centered around this but now involves Andrew's living conditions. The longtime resident of Royal Lodge, Andrew is facing Charles' demands that he move. The two are at an impasse, according to biographer Andrew Lownie, who spoke to The Daily Beast about their latest brawl.

"The problem is there is a contract with the Crown Estate. Andrew can stay there on peppercorn rent in return for doing it up," Lownie explained. "Andrew is digging his heels in because he argues he needs a large house — it has 30 rooms — for when his grandchildren come to stay, and it's part of a wider power and status game with Charles. Optics don't look good, but that won't worry Andrew. I don't see him ever leaving."

Lownie further revealed that Andrew's personality is truly his biggest hurdle, and Charles will never let him make a comeback as a result. That won't distress him too much though, Lownie estimates, as long as Charles backs off of his living arrangements.

Charles has reportedly stopped Beatrice and Eugenie from growing their royal statuses

King Charles III's relationships with his nieces, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, have become far more tense over time. Not only is he warring with Prince Andrew, but Charles' attempts to slim down the monarchy also reportedly put his dynamic with the princesses on thin ice, given that he had no intention of including them as working members of the royal family, according to historian Robert Lacey. As Lacey explained in his book, "Battle of Brothers," Andrew was under the impression that once Prince Harry and Meghan Markle moved and settled into their new lives in the United States, his daughters — Eugenie and Beatrice — would take their places within the royal family. Not only did Charles take steps to further ostracize his own son, but he did not make Andrew's daughters prominent royal figures.

"The future King Charles III was, apparently, set on eliminating Harry and Meghan's two children from full HRH prince and princess status for reasons of what — economy and modernization?" Lacey wrote, noting that Charles did not want Beatrice or Eugenie to give up their day jobs and assume that they would be welcomed into the fold.

Charles reportedly cannot stand being in the same room as Sarah Ferguson

On the same train as Prince Andrew, Princess Eugenie, and Princess Beatrice is Sarah "Fergie" Ferguson, another royal with whom King Charles III has a longstanding feud. Andrew and his ex-wife stayed chummy and still live together despite not being a couple. While she is not always invited into the inner royal circle, Fergie has stayed on the periphery. Charles, however, reportedly cannot endure being around her.

"Charles is not OK with Fergie. He can't stand her in reality," a source close to the royal told The Sun. "He thinks she's brought embarrassment to the royal family in the past and his relationship with his brother has been strained as a result. They don't get on personally. There's so much baggage because he feels she sided with Diana over Camilla all those years ago. He looks at a royal like Lady Sarah Chatto (Princess Margaret's daughter), an intellectual and someone who loves the arts, and thinks Fergie is no comparison."

The source continued that Charles remains worried that Fergie will use the royal family for the rest of her public life to make a profit, solidifying his attitude toward her.

The king and Prince Harry have not seen eye to eye in years

When Prince Harry released his tell-all book, "Spare," King Charles III was a key player. The relationship was examined by his youngest son, and by Harry's estimations, any love between them dissolved years ago. Recounting their trip to South Africa taken after Princess Diana's death, Harry recalled Charles' intentions to rehabilitate his image. Taking Harry with him, the cameras were everywhere as the royals made their way through the country. This, to Harry, was incredibly telling, as he wrote in the book.

"Pa's staff hoped a photo of him standing alongside the world's most revered political leader and the world's most popular female act would earn him some positive headlines, which he sorely needed. ... His approval rating around the world was in single digits," Harry wrote, hinting at his dismay over the trip's timing.

As royal fans know, Charles and Harry's relationship has only imploded since then, with expert Richard Palmer estimating that "Spare" was one of the final nails in the coffin, despite the king previously being open to welcoming Harry back into the fold.

Princess Diana and Charles' feud lasted for years

When King Charles III and Princess Diana got married, it seemed as though a fairytale was coming true in real life. That was not the case, however, and by 1986, their marriage was in free fall. Charles had rekindled his affair with Camilla, Queen Consort, and Diana too was having extramarital affairs at the same time. Between the years of 1987 and 1992, Charles and Diana not only feuded with one another but were at war with the media who were covering their turmoil on a daily basis. Characterizing the mood between the then-spouses was reporter Georgina Howell, who wrote for Vanity Fair in 1988. "She was the love object of everyone in the world except her husband," Howell wrote. "She was faced in her mid-twenties with something she found chilling to contemplate: a fairy-tale marriage that had cooled into an arrangement."

By 1994, Charles admitted to biographer Jonathan Dimbleby that he had been unfaithful to Diana, and the following year saw the Princess of Wales sit down for her infamous BBC interview. The following year, the feuding couple finally called it quits. By July 1996, Charles and Diana had finalized their divorce, a first for an heir to the British throne, and it finally seemed as though both would be able to move on with their lives. Tragically, Diana died the following year in a fatal car accident.

Charles' ongoing tension with Meghan and Harry has expanded into a media war

When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sat down with Oprah Winfrey for their bombshell interview, the palace released a statement supporting — and slightly digging — at the couple. The move was a precursor for what was to come. King Charles III vs. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in one of the biggest media wars ever.

Harry and Meghan have both made their thoughts on the royal family, the press, and the institution as a whole clear. Releasing their Netflix documentary "Harry & Meghan," as well as Harry's expository book, "Spare," they've held nothing back, specifically commenting on the lack of support they found within the palace walls. While the royals have regularly had a "grin and bear it" approach, their silence on many issues is resulting in "a reputational crisis," according to Erin Vanderhoof for Vanity Fair

What has resulted is a media war between Charles and the couple — Harry and Meghan have navigated the press environment "with more alacrity ... [shifting] their media approach to appeal to an American audience and a 24/7 news cycle." Charles meanwhile, according to Vanderhoof, is still "relying on a playbook from another century," seldom reacting and almost entirely too late when he does. If "Harry & Meghan" and "Spare" were battles in the media war, by Vanderhoof's estimations, the Sussexes are ahead two to zero.

The king and his father had a long-lasting feud that resulted in very hurt feelings

Throughout his time on the royal stage, Prince Philip made his stoic, unwavering dedication to the monarchy clear. What reportedly suffered as a result, however, was his relationship with King Charles III. The king and his father had a well-documented feud throughout their public lives and the cold distance between them was evident. Analyzing their relationship in the book, "Charles & Camilla: Portrait of a Love Affair," royal expert Gyles Brandreth contrasted Charles and Camilla, Queen Consort, and their respective upbringings, highlighting the lifelong fight Charles and Philip endured due to their lack of affection.

"The Duchess of Cornwall only has fond and grateful memories of her father," Brandreth wrote in his book. "Charles, on the other hand, recalls being pretty heavily dropped on by the Duke of Edinburgh on numerous occasions. At mealtimes, in front of guests, his father's banter regularly reduced the young Duke of Cornwall to silence and incipient tears."

Even Philip admitted on one occasion that his son couldn't have been more different from himself, retorting: "He's a romantic and I'm a pragmatist. That means we do see things differently and because I don't see things as a romantic would, I'm unfeeling" (via The Guardian).

Charles had choice words for Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, back in the day

Before Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, were celebrated and stable members of the royal family, they were cast in a rather negative light by King Charles III. Edward — given his distance from the throne — explored professional avenues and created a film production company, Ardent Productions. Sophie, meanwhile, was a working professional in the public relations world and maintained her position after marrying into the royal family in 1999. By 2001, however, things were dissolving for Edward and Sophie professionally, and Charles had choice words on the matter.

Ardent Productions was faltering in real-time, and Sophie was caught up in a PR nightmare involving Mazher Mahmood, a reporter for News of the World who told her he was a sheik who wanted to hire her PR firm. Sophie was caught up in an embarrassing "got you" scenario, and Edward's film endeavors were failing. Charles wouldn't stand for it and pushed Edward and Sophie into giving up their careers before more PR nightmares ensued.

According to a Daily Mail report at the time, Charles "voiced his strong disapproval of the couple's use of their royal status to further their careers," fighting with both of them in order to maintain the monarchy's appearance and stability. The couple was ultimately paid by the royal family to give up their careers.

Queen Elizabeth II and Charles' feud was long-lasting and slow-burning

Not too dissimilar to his feud with Prince Philip, King Charles III's fight with Queen Elizabeth II lasted a lifetime. The mother and son were cordial in public and mutually dedicated to the crown, but behind closed doors, Charles reportedly craved the attention and affection of a mother – aspects of the queen he never got to experience.

Elizabeth became queen at just 25 years old and had two little kids in tow. What emerged with time was her dedication to the crown, leaving Charles and Princess Anne to be raised largely by nannies. One of the first public examples of their decades-long feud — materializing when Charles was just a little kid — came in 1953. Elizabeth and Philip had been touring the Commonwealth for half a year, and when reunited with their children, the queen kept her son at arm's length.

"[Charles] had not seen her for six months, so he raced on board the Britannia to welcome her home," wrote Kitty Kelley in "The Royals" (via Vanity Fair). "He ran up to join the group of dignitaries waiting to shake her hand. When the queen saw her young son squirming in line, she said, 'No, not you, dear.' She did not hug him or kiss him; she simply patted his shoulder and passed along to the next person."

Princess Catherine is reportedly the latest royal to be feuding with the king

Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's departure from royal life, King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort, are reportedly taking aim at the only other prominent couple left — Prince William and Princess Catherine. Catherine is royal dynamite — everything she is involved with turns to gold — and her command of the press is reportedly making the king very unhappy.

Shortly after the May 2023 coronation, Catherine attended the Chelsea Flower Show. Her visit to the annual event — in the morning, no less — captured the attention of the cameras and fans in attendance. Charles and Camilla showed up hours later, receiving far less press attention than the Princess of Wales. This reportedly left Charles feeling slighted, with an insider dishing more to OK!

"Charles is unlikely to be amused," the source said of Charles and Catherine's media fight. "Gardens are very much his thing, and given that it was always his mother's big pre-Trooping the Colour day out, I think he has a right to be annoyed." Given that the king is still finding his footing in the role as of publication, time will tell how his media dynamic with Catherine — who always commands attention — will play out.