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  • Writer's pictureJessica Taylor Yates

Thank U, Next: Royals Who Left The Throne

Updated: Mar 9, 2021

It seems The Crown is not as glittering as we once thought.

That's a mic drop on serving, y'all. Source: GIPHY

Dazzling jewels, calling a palace home and a lifetime of comfortable wealth were not enough to keep the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in line for the throne. Instead, they decided to take a step down from being ‘Senior Members’ of the Royal Family, preferring a life away from guards with fancy furry hats and royal waves. It got us thinking of the other scandalous royals who pulled an Ariana Grande and said ‘Thank u, next...’ to the throne…

Prince Oscar, Duke of Gotland; left 1888

Image: PickYourImage

The royals were fleeing from public life way before the paparazzi and their hounding even existed. The former Swedish Prince’s exit from the Royal House began when he became extremely devout and married Ebba Munck, the lady-in-waiting to the Swedish Crown Princess. Not approved by royals or parliament, the Prince was forced to renounce his title, choosing a life of religion and love instead. They both look super chuffed about it...

Prince Lennart, Duke of Småland of Sweden, later Lennart Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg; left 1932


The first Swede to ever abdicate, the former prince was subjected to harsh treatment from his family when he married commoner Karin Nissvandt in 1932. He chose love over the monarchy, and subsequently carved out a career as a respected landscaping expert, turning his island estate into a popular tourist destination, with stints in film and gardening. Nice work on the bouquet hun.

King Edward VIII later Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor of Great Britain; left 1936

Image: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Viewers of The Crown would already be all over this one. The former King of the United Kingdom caused a ‘constitutional crisis’ in 1936 when he married Wallis Simpson, a two-time divorcee from the USA (The horror!) When choosing between his bride or remaining King and Head of the Church of England (who disapproved), he chose love, stating that “I have found it impossible to carry on the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge the duties of King, as I would wish to do, without the help and support of the woman I love”. He subsequently abdicated after less than a year on the throne, and the two stayed together until his death in 1972.

Prince Sigvard Oscar Fredrik Bernadotte of Sweden and Duke of Upplan; left 1943

Image: Topfoto

It seems the Ikea-loving Sweeds have renounced their Royal ties more than once. The Swedish Prince lost all rights to his titles when he married commoner Erica Patzek, controversially meaning he was then referred to as ‘Mr. Bernadotte’. Rough. He lost all privileges associated with royal life, and instead started a successful silver design business, alongside a stint in film. Seems life beginning with a silver spoon wasn’t such a burden after all…

Prince of Sweden, later Carl Johan Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg; left 1946

Image: The New York Times

Swedes hatteee being royal! The former prince was forced to renounce his title when he married journalist and commoner Kerstin Wijkmark in 1946, which was branded ‘unconstitutional’ by the Swedish government. Third in line to the throne, he went on to work as a businessman – although still got a pretty cool title as Count. We hope he swishes about in a cape just for fun.

Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya of Thailand; left 1972

Image: Alchetron

Next in line to the Thai Royal Family, the Princess was forced into abdication when she fell for, and married, American commoner Peter Ladd Jensen aka Sandy Cohen's doppelganger. The Royals were furious, stripping her of her titles after her move to the USA. She returned to Thailand in 1998 after her divorce, with stints in television, film and politics along the way. In other words…we are so ready for the movie.

Prince Frisco of Orange-Nassau, later Sigvard Oscar Fredrik Bernadotte, Prince Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg; left 2003

Image: Getty Images

The King of the Netherlands’ brother had no choice but to leave his line to the throne when he chose to marry commoner Mabel Wisse Smit. Her alleged connections to 'undesirable figures' meant they did not receive ‘parliamentary approval’. They were excluded from the Dutch Royal House from the minute they said, “I Do”. The couple later moved to London where they had two children. After also being referred to as Mr Bernadotte for a period of time (those Bernadottes just don’t seem keen on Royal Life at all), he fought to get his titles back, later becoming known as Prince Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg. You can take the man out of the Royal Family…

Prince Andrew, Duke of York; stepped back 2019

Image: Agência Brasil

Not everyone leaves The Crown for romance. Eighth in line to the British throne, Prince Andrew made the decision to step back from his royal duties for the “foreseeable future” after...well...featuring negatively in the press, shall we say. It is not known when, or if, he will step back into his royal and professional duties, such as philanthropic endeavours, his former naval career, or perhaps with all that free time, he’ll become head nanny for his new grandkids...

Princess Mako of Japan; stepped back 2020

Image: Japan Forward

More recently, Princess Mako of Japan said sayōnara to the Imperial Palace when she married commoner Kei Komuro in 2020. She followed in the footsteps of her aunt, Princess Sayako, who did the same thing 12 years ago, moving into a one-bedroom and heading to get the groceries in jeans like the rest of us. Princess Mako stated that she wishes to “think about marriage more deeply” when leaving her Royal title behind after saying “I Do”. Look how cute they are!

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex; stepped back in 2020

Image: @sussexofficial

On January 9 2020, the couple announced that they “intend to step back as ‘Senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent”. I mean, they've got a few million to start, but hopefully, they will fall on their feet. Personally, I'm happy for them. Go live your quiet rich people lives, save the planet and be happy! #TeamMegxit


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