The Royal Family's Most Tragic Moments Since King Charles' Coronation

King Charles' coronation ushered in a new era for the Royal Family, following the reign of the late Queen Elizabeth II, which spanned an impressive seven decades. Many looked forward to the family's future under fresh leadership, but unfortunately, rather than a smooth transition, the first year of Charles' rule was marred by a series of tragedies and scandals.

Royal biographer Phil Dampier expressed concerns that the tumultuous start could be an indication of the beginning of the end for the monarchy, which has long enjoyed adoration from the public, not just in Britain but all over the world. He told Business Insider that the royal family "could, with the wrong unforeseen circumstances, collapse quite quickly," and added that "it could lose a lot of power and ability to operate, if god forbid, some other disaster happened."

Indeed, since Charles ascended to the throne, the monarchy has been forced to weather its fair share of storms. From Charles' own cancer diagnosis to the worsening rift between Prince William and Prince Harry, not to mention Kate Middleton's illness, the monarchy's inaugural year under its new sovereign has been fraught with challenges.

King Charles was diagnosed with cancer

Since his coronation, one of the most challenging moments faced by the royal family involves King Charles himself and a serious health issue. Traditionally, the Royal Family has maintained a private stance on health matters, but Charles has shifted towards transparency about his own health with a shocking disclosure of his cancer diagnosis.

In January 2024, Buckingham Palace announced that King Charles had been hospitalized to undergo treatment for an enlarged prostate. "His Majesty's condition is benign, and he will attend hospital next week for a corrective procedure," the announcement read (via The Guardian). The surgery was successful, and King Charles was even seen attending church soon after. However, just a day after that very public outing, the palace disclosed that cancer had been detected during a medical examination. "During The King's recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted. Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer," they said in a statement, adding that Charles had chosen to publicly reveal the diagnosis to practice transparency and preempt any public speculation. Although it was confirmed that the cancer was not related to his prostate, further details about the type or aggressiveness of the cancer were not disclosed.

It wasn't until April 2024 that the palace announced that King Charles was ready to resume his royal duties, as his doctors were "sufficiently pleased" with his recovery. However, details regarding the duration of his treatment remained unclear.

Kate Middleton also revealed that she's being treated for cancer

Coinciding with King Charles' health concerns, Kate Middleton also faced a significant health challenge, which started when Kensington Palace announced that she was to undergo a "planned abdominal surgery." The recovery was expected to last up to two weeks, and the palace made it clear that the Princess of Wales might not return to public engagements until the end of March 2024. Despite reassurances that she was making "good progress," speculation about her true condition spread.

It didn't take long before wild and disturbing theories about Kate's disappearance hit the internet, ranging from something innocuous like a botched haircut to downright ridiculous like undergoing plastic surgery. In an effort to quell speculation, Kate shared a Mother's Day photo with her children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, only for the media to discover that it had been digitally altered, leading Kate to issue an apology.

Then, on March 22, 2024, Kate finally cleared the air and shared why she had been MIA. She announced that she had cancer, and similar to King Charles, it was only discovered following routine tests after her initial surgery. "My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventative chemotherapy and I am now in the early stages of that treatment," she shared in an Instagram post. "I am well and getting stronger every day by focusing on the things that will help me heal; in my mind, body, and spirit."

Prince William and Prince Harry's feud reportedly intensified

At a time when the Royal Family was expected to stick together for their ailing members, reports surfaced that Prince William and Prince Harry had grown apart even further. While it has long been known that their relationship had been strained for quite some time, dating back to when Harry started dating Meghan Markle, their rift only deepened, especially after Harry had established roots across the pond.

In April 2024, a source revealed to Us Weekly that William had developed a jealousy towards his brother as the latter appeared to be living the life he's always longed for. "William is a bit envious of [his brother's] freedoms," they said. This was corroborated by royal historian Ed Owens, who claimed that Harry had been successfully building a reputation William craved. "Harry has done remarkable things [and] now has international presences," he told the outlet. "I think that international stage is something both brothers are clearly vying for. That international limelight really sets Harry's work apart from other members of the royal family."

As of May 2024, the situation's as icy as ever, as the brothers "haven't had a real conversation in months," another insider told Us Weekly. But between them, it's Harry who's starting to show initiative to call a truce. "The brothers haven't spoken [but] there is potential for that. [Harry] would be more than happy [to]," a third source revealed.

Infidelity rumors hit William and Kate

As if Kate Middleton's diagnosis isn't heartbreaking enough, the rumor mill went into overdrive, dredging up age-old speculations of Prince William's alleged infidelity. For the nth time, all eyes were once again trained on William and Rose Hanbury, a former model and noblewoman, who was once neighbors with the couple. These rumors started back in 2019, when The Sun reported that there was a rift between Kate and Hanbury due to William's purported indiscretions. However, palace insiders swiftly squashed these claims, telling the Daily Beast that everything that had been circulating around British tabloids about the issue was "totally wrong and false."

But come the infamous Katespiracy era, the rumors resurfaced, fueled by the relentless digging of fans turned amateur detectives in their desperation to find out the real deal about what's happening with Kate. Even late-night host Stephen Colbert couldn't resist Even late-night host Stephen Colbert couldn't resist dipping his toe into the scandal and discussing the rumors on his show. "I think we all know who the alleged other woman is, say it with me: the Marchioness of Cholmondeley," he said. While both Kate and William had kept mum about the rumors, Hanbury broke her silence and firmly denied the allegations through her legal team. "The rumors are completely false," her lawyers told Business Insider.

Meghan and Harry were involved in a car chase

The media frenzy surrounding Meghan Markle and Prince Harry reached such a fever pitch by May 2023 that they found themselves in a situation eerily reminiscent of the events that led to Princess Diana's tragic death in 1997. After attending an event, the couple revealed that they, along with Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, were chased by photographers in the streets of New York City, leaving them rattled but thankfully unharmed.

"This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD (New York Police Department) officers," the couple's spokesperson said in a statement (via Reuters). Meanwhile, Chris Sanchez, a member of the couple's security team, recounted the incident in an interview with CNN, emphasizing the gravity of the situation and revealing that it could have been way worse. "I have never seen, experienced anything like this. What we were dealing with was very chaotic. There were about a dozen vehicles: cars, scooters and bicycles," he detailed. "The public were in jeopardy at several points. It could have been fatal."

Fast forward to February 2024, and following a thorough investigation by the NYPD, authorities announced that there was "sufficient evidence to arrest two individuals for reckless endangerment," per NBC News. As of this writing, however, arrests have yet to be made.