The Messiest British Royal Divorces

Royals! They're just like us! They fall in love — well, most of the time — get married, become miserable, end up loathing each other, and get divorced. Still, it's not as simple as filing and signing on the dotted line when you're a noble. Divorce is a whole lot messier and, on occasion, a whole lot bloodier.

If you watched "The Crown," you would have already gained some insight into messy royal divorces: Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon and Anthony Armstrong-Jones, Earl of Snowdon, Anne, Princess Royal and Captain Mark Phillips, Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Sarah, Duchess of York, and, of course, King Charles III and Princess Diana all featured in the hit Netflix show.

However, bitter breakups and acrimonious endings are nothing new for the monarchy. Sovereigns were casting their scorned spouses aside all the way back to 1533. King Henry VIII sent Europe into decades of bloody turmoil after splitting from the Catholic church and setting up his own religion so he could offload his first wife, Katherine of Aragon. She fought tooth and nail to prevent him from divorcing her. Yet, at the end of the day, she only ended up husbandless, unlike her less fortunate successors, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, who ended up headless. Separations were a perilous affair back in Tudor times. The blood stopped flowing after Henry shuffled off this mortal coil. Still, royal divorces remain tangled and, at times, torturous up until this day. We're looking at some of the messiest.

King Henry VIII and his terrorized wives

King Henry VIII is the OG of messy British royal divorces. He wrote the dissolution rule book in his desperate bid for a legitimate, healthy male heir and to quench his thirst for marrying the next unfortunate woman who caught his eye.

Henry's first wife, Katherine of Aragon, was married to his brother, Arthur, Prince of Wales. When Arthur died, Henry stepped into his spousal shoes. It was all love and Tudor roses until Katherine failed to bear Henry a son. He petitioned the Pope for an annulment, claiming the marriage was invalid due to Katherine's relationship with Arthur. However, the Pope refused. So, Henry started his own church, the Church of England, and granted himself an annulment.

Newly single, Henry could marry his next casualty, Anne Boleyn. She didn't fare so well. Once Henry tired of her, he invented a story that she'd cheated on him with court dignities — including her brother. Then, he chopped her head off. Before the sword fell, Henry had moved on to Jane Seymour. She died two weeks after giving birth to King Edward VI. Anne of Cleves was next. Henry deemed her ugly, but luckily for Anne, she was well-connected, so she escaped execution, and the marriage was annulled. Henry's fifth spouse, Catherine Howard, wasn't so fortunate. The teenager was accused of treason and lost her head. Katherine Parr was Henry's final victim. She escaped fully intact when he dropped dead after five years of marriage.

King George I and Sophia Dorothea of Celle

King George I didn't chop the heads off of his wives like his predecessor, King Henry VIII, but that didn't make him any less of a tyrannical and abusive maniac. George's unfortunate wife was Sophia Dorothea of Celle, a Germanic noble who also happened to be his cousin.

The match, orchestrated by George's mom, Sophia, Electress of Hanover, was doomed. Sophia Dorothea was in love with the dashing Duke of Wolfenbüttel and had less than zero interest in George. In fact, when her future mother-in-law handed her a miniature portrait of him, she tossed it aside and vowed, "I will not marry the pig snout!" When Sophia finally met George, she collapsed on the floor. Still, the couple married in November 1682 and had two kids, George Augustus and Sophia Dorothea of Hanover.

They became no closer, though, and the relationship quickly turned turbulent and toxic. George had mistresses whom he regularly flaunted, and he was physically and emotionally abusive towards Sophia Dorothea. In retaliation, she struck up a romance with the Swedish Count von Königsmarck. When George found out, he went nuts. Some suggest he tried to strangle Sophia Dorothea during a heated altercation. After failing to murder her, George dissolved their marriage and imprisoned his ex-wife until she died thirty years later. Meanwhile, von Königsmarck mysteriously disappeared and was never seen again. It's rumored that he was murdered on the orders of George.

Princess Victoria Melita and Grand Duke Ernest of Hesse

The marriage of Princess Victoria Melita, AKA Ducky, and Grand Duke Ernest of Hesse was ill-matched and shockingly scandalous, even by royal standards. The relationship was unconventional, to say the least, and their 1901 divorce sent shockwaves through European nobility, resulting in Ducky's permanent banishment overseas.

Ducky was the granddaughter of both Queen Victoria and Tsar Alexander II. Ernest was also Victoria's grandchild, making him and his future wife first cousins. Still, that's no biggie for the monarchy. Victoria played matchmaker between Ducky and Ernest, pressuring them into marriage. However, in her book, "Inglorious Royal Marriages," historian Leslie Carroll claimed that there was no sexual attraction between the two. "[Ducky's] feelings for Ernie were fraternal," she wrote. Ducky did have very strong feelings for another first cousin, though — the Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, "whose smoldering looks and temperament made her nervous."

Ernest couldn't have cared less about his wife's passion for the duke. He was way too busy working his way through their male staff. "No boy was safe, from the stable hands to the kitchen help," Carroll shared. Not surprisingly, the marriage was miserable, and over time, they grew to loathe each other, engaging in bitter fights and mud-slinging. But they had to wait until Victoria died to get divorced. Their separation caused outrage among the elite — Ducky added yet further to the scandal by marrying Kirill, and she lived in exile until her death.

Princess Margaret and Anthony Armstrong-Jones

Despite being close to Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, didn't have it easy regarding her love life. She had to fight tooth and nail to marry Anthony Armstrong-Jones, Earl of Snowdon, in May 1960 — she had to fight even harder to divorce him 17 years later.

Initially, the couple was madly in love. However, it quickly turned toxic thanks to their shared love of hard partying, flirting, and fighting. The dueling divas went at it privately and publicly, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. In her book "Snowdon: The Biography" (via The Daily Mail), author Anne De Courcy claims things became so terrible between the royal pair that Armstrong-Jones climbed onto a roof in Rome to escape Margaret. And he once left a list of "things I hate about you" in a book she was reading. "You look like a Jewish manicurist," one read bizarrely.

Armstrong-Jones was unapologetically unfaithful, and Margaret was possessive and needy — an unfotunate combination. Feeling abandoned and ignored, Margaret embarked on affairs herself. "He wasn't nearly as good a lover as you, darling," she assured Armstrong-Jones after splitting from one of her dalliances. The queen was steadfast in refusing to allow Margaret to divorce. However, after full-blown warfare broke out, she was forced to acquiesce. The New York Times noted that the separation was "part of the gravest crisis in the royal family since Margaret's uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated in 1936 to marry [Wallis Simpson]."

Princess Anne and Mark Phillips

Like Anthony Armstrong-Jones, Earl of Snowdon, Anne, Princess Royal's first husband, Captain Mark Phillips was a commoner. Still, an estimated 500 million people worldwide tuned in to watch the couple say "I do" in a lavish royal wedding at Westminster Abbey in November 1973.

Phillips met Anne on the equestrian circuit in 1968, where they bonded over their passion for show jumping. He won gold in the team three-day event at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, while Anne scored gold at the 1971 European Championships. The competitions continued into their marriage, with both representing Great Britain at numerous high-profile events. Sadly, their love of horses wasn't enough to keep them together, though. They split in 1989 and divorced in 1992.

The divorce was messy. As per Tatler, Phillips had fathered a love child in 1985 following an affair with a New Zealand art teacher, Heather Tonkin. And passionate letters between Anne and her lover —Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, who later became her second husband — were stolen and leaked to the tabloids in 1989. Buckingham Palace shocked the public by admitting the letters existed and confirming who they were between. "The stolen letters were addressed to the Princess Royal by Commander Timothy Laurence, the Queen's Equerry. We have nothing to say about the contents of personal letters sent to Her Royal Highness by a friend, which were stolen and are the subject of a police investigation," it announced in a statement (via The Mirror).

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson

Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Sarah, Duchess of York, AKA flame-haired Fergie, are among the world's happiest divorced couples. She has been there for her disgraced ex-husband throughout his ongoing Jeffrey Epstein scandal, and the two still live together in Windsor despite splitting over two decades ago. However, it hasn't always been so rosy.

Andrew and Fergie dated for a year before he got down on one knee in February 1986. Five months later, they tied the knot in a fairytale wedding at Westminster Abbey and welcomed two children, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. Everything was peachy until it wasn't. Andrew and Fergie formally announced their separation in March 1992 amid reports she was cheating with Texan oil tycoon Steve Wyatt. Still, the scandal was just getting started. The tabloids went into a feeding frenzy after Fergie was snapped having her toes sucked in the South of France by Wyatt's friend in August 1992.

"The architect of her final humiliation was John Bryan, an American businessman with an elevated opinion of his sexual and financial prowess," the 1997 documentary "Fergie: Downfall of the Duchess" claimed. It was all too much for Queen Elizabeth II. She ordered the couple to throw in the towel on their ill-feted marriage — much against Fergie's wishes. "I didn't want a divorce but had to because of circumstance," she told Harper's Bazaar in 2007, admitting it was "the most painful time of my life."

King Charles III and Princess Diana

The messiest royal divorce in recent history is King Charles III and Diana, Princess of Wales. The marriage was doomed even before Charles proposed in February 1981. Their cringe-worthy engagement announcement was painful. Both were visibly uncomfortable, and Charles looked like he would rather be anywhere other than by Diana's side. "I remember thinking what a jolly and amusing and attractive 16-year-old she was," Charles said when asked what his first impression of Diana was. "Whatever love means," he replied when asked if they were in love.

It soon transpired that the place Charles really wanted to be was by his ex-girlfriend, Queen Camilla's side. He had never stopped loving her, and they had been in constant contact before embarking on a full-blown affair in 1986. Diana spoke about how Charles and Camila's relationship led to the end of her marriage in her infamous 1995 "Panorama" interview. "There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded," she said.

Diana didn't want to divorce Charles, but their bitter and public war of words became so toxic that even Queen Elizabeth II thought it essential for them to part ways. Diana didn't go easily, though. She refused to fade into the background and made things as embarrassing as possible for her ex. In return, he painted Diana as mentally unstable and manipulative. Their messy divorce was finalized in August 1996, and Diana was killed in a car crash one year later.