Royals Who Have Secret Love Children

Tales of illegitimate children born to British royalty go all the way back to Henry I (who reportedly had 22!) and rumors of secret love children have plagued the royal family ever since. Did Princess Margaret have a secret son? And who is Prince Harry's real father — Prince Charles or James Hewitt? We know for a fact that Harry and William got their looks from their mom.

However, when we think "royal family," we usually picture Queen Elizabeth II waving or the relentless tabloid coverage of Meghan Markle. Sorry. We mean the "Duchess of Sussex." But there are many monarchies around the world, and they all have their share of baby scandals. We're not going to deal in rumor and gossip here, but documented and publicly acknowledged children born to royalty. From Spain to the Netherlands, and of course, to England, here are royals who have secret love children. Bravo should seriously consider giving them their own show.

A paternity suit revealed Mark Phillips' love child

Mark Phillips married Princess Anne in 1973, but after an affair with New Zealand art teacher Heather Tonkin, his daughter Felicity Tonkin was born in 1985. According to The Telegraph, "Phillips was only confirmed as her father in 1991 following a DNA test during a paternity suit," making Felicity the half-sister of Olympic medalist Zara Tindall.

Per the Daily Mail, Phillips allegedly pressured Felicity's mother into having an abortion, but after she refused, Phillips started paying her approximately $7,500 a year "through an associate for what his accounts described as 'equestrian consultancy.'" However, after Phillips reportedly said he didn't want to be named on the birth certificate and started slacking on payments, lawyers got involved. "I am doing what I am doing for my child. I hope and pray Mark will do the right thing and make a proper and legally-binding settlement on her," Tonkin said in 1991. "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."

Now known as Felicity Wade, Phillips' daughter is an equine vet and welcomed a son with her husband in 2017. "There's nothing fancy about them at all," one New Zealand local told the Daily Mail. "They drive modest old cars but like a lot of horse people, they live for their animals. People here are very fussy about vets and yet Felicity has a great reputation." 

Prince Albert II of Monaco has two

The son of Prince Rainier III and Hollywood icon Grace Kelly, Prince Albert II of Monaco has a long history of dating famous women. Given his track record of playing the field, the law of averages dictates that Albert would have a love child. Well, he has two.

The first is Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, who according to Harper's Bazaar, Albert "formally acknowledged" was his daughter in 2006 when Grimaldi was a teen. Raised in California, Grimaldi made the trek to Monaco when she was 11 to meet Albert for the first time. "I wanted that moment to connect with my father, to get to know him, and to have him get to know me," she said. "Not having had that figure around, I missed that. It's wonderful that it happened when it did, and we've been enjoying a great relationship ever since."

The second is Alexandre Coste, born in 2002 to a French-Togolese former flight attendant who Albert met on Air France in 1997. After demanding a DNA test in 2005, Albert acknowledged the child was his. However, the boy's mother, Nicole Coste (now a fashion designer), claims Albert is an absentee father since he married Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock in 2011. "I suppose as a new wife, how would one feel? But she should think about my innocent child. I don't want to attack her but I think it is just jealousy and I don't know why," Nicole told the Daily Mail.

Prince Bernhard of The Netherlands had two, too

Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands already had an adult illegitimate daughter living in France at the time of his death in 2004, but according to The Telegraph, the monarch admitted to having a second illegitimate daughter in an interview released after his death.

"It doesn't matter if people think back on me as a nice guy or a philanderer," he told the national newspaper De Volkskrant. "If the image is that I was a scoundrel now and again, I'll give people that. But it would trouble me if people think: 'he was no good.'"

The prince claimed that the illegitimate daughter, Alicia (a then-50-year-old landscape architect living in America), "was fathered during a major crisis in his marriage with Juliana who had fallen under the influence of a faith healer called Greet Hoffmans." He also requested that Alicia "must be left alone," which is probably exactly what happened when the world found out that she'd secretly been royalty for five decades. Nope, we sure can see anyone having any questions about that at all. 

King Alfonso XIII's love child wasn't recognized for a long time

According to The Telegraph, Spain's King Alfonso XIII had an affair with actress Carmen Ruiz Moragas, and the romance produced a son in 1929 — Leandro Ruiz. However, Ruiz didn't receive recognition until 74 years later after a judge ruled on his true paternity. No DNA test was administered, but the judge based his decision on "400 pages of evidence, including the testimonies of more than 30 historians and the sworn affidavits of old acquaintances of the Bourbon dynasty." Included in that evidence were "numerous letters and telegrams," King Alfonso XIII wrote to Ruiz and money he sent to Ruiz "through a Swiss bank account."

"I am a noble, and therefore my children are Excellencies," Ruiz said of the 2003 verdict. "I am a prince of Spain." "This has given me enormous satisfaction because I have always wanted to have my father's surname. I am not pitching myself against anyone and in no way do I want to do damage to the Crown, but it is my right under the constitution." Ruiz's lawyer added: "It's the first time that an illegitimate son of a king has been recognized with all his rights."

This official recognition makes Ruiz the uncle former King of Spain, Juan Carlos.

Prince Carlos, Duke of Parma's love child is a royal only in name

In 2018, The Telegraph reported that Hugo Klynstra, the illegitimate son of Prince Carlos, was "likely to finally be accepted as a member of the royal family after a lengthy legal battle to overturn an informal deal struck at his birth." According to the publication, Carlos and Kylnstra's mother "struck an agreement" that their son "would receive no royal title or other rights." However, after turning 18, Klynstra challenged that agreement in court — and won.

Per The Guardian, you can now call Klystra "His Royal Highness Prince Carlos Hugo Roderik Sybren de Bourbon de Parme." Congratulations, buddy. However, according to Dutch News, this looks to be a victory on paper only. "Although he can use the title, the ruling does not mean that Klynstra is a member of the house of De Bourbon de Parme, the Council of State said," the publication explained. "The formal name change still requires a royal decree. Prince Carlos has always refused to comment on the case."

Imagine being a prince and people addressing you as "royal highness" while you're potentially behind on your rent. That seems like more of an American thing.

Marina Ogilvy's love child was begrudgingly accepted

Princess Alexandra's daughter and Queen Elizabeth II's first cousin, Marina Ogilvy, shocked the royal family when she announced her pregnancy out of wedlock with photographer Paul Julian Mowat's child in 1989. In an interview with British gossip rag, Today (via The New York Times) that same year, Marina alleged that her family "tried to trick her into an abortion, disowned her and cut off her $160,000 trust fund and $450 monthly allowance." Per the Los Angeles Times, her father, Sir Angus Ogilvy, made his loyalties clear. "Dad said there hadn't been an illegitimate birth in the royal family for 150 years," Marina said. "When I said to him 'Look, I am your daughter, what comes first, queen and country or your daughter?' he said 'queen and country.'"

”I want you to really stand by me and love me as a mother,” Marina said in taped interview with BBC (via The New York Times). ”We believe we are doing the right thing and it's what we want to do.” Mowatt added, ”I don't agree that Marina should be pushed up the aisle into, as such, a shotgun wedding.” The couple eventually married in Feb. 1990, and their daughter Zenouska May Mowatt was born later that summer.

Things seem to have settled down a bit because Zenouska (who is 56th in line to the throne) was on the balcony at Buckingham Palace when Prince Louis made his debut.