The Queen Found Her Kids' Divorces "Deeply Upsetting," Royal Author Says

"Three out of four!"

Royal Family At Buckingham Palace
(Image credit: Getty/Fox Photos)

The Queen is the picture of strength, but that doesn't mean she's immune to upsetting events in her life. Apparently, one particular aspect of her children's lives in particular left her a little shaken: the fact that three of them divorced their first spouses.

"Outwardly stoical, as ever, the Queen was finding the divorce talks deeply upsetting," wrote Robert Hardman in upcoming book Queen of Our Times: The Life of Queen Elizabeth II (excerpted by People). "Another former member of the Household recalls that, every now and then, there would be a glimpse of her despair."

Said staffer told Hardman, "It distressed her much more than she let on. I said, 'Ma'am, it seems to be happening everywhere. This is almost common practice.' But she just said, 'Three out of four!' in sheer sadness and exasperation. One shouldn't underestimate the pain she's been through."

As you're probably aware, Prince Charles married Princess Diana in 1981. After two children (William and Harry) and a largely unhappy marriage, the two divorced in 1996—just a year before the princess' untimely death. Prince Charles married his longtime love Camilla Parker-Bowles in 2005.

Princess Anne married Mark Phillips in 1973. They had two children, Zara and Peter, and divorced in 1992. The Princess Royal married Timothy Laurence that same year.

Prince Andrew married Sarah "Fergie" Ferguson in 1986. They had daughters Beatrice and Eugenie together and divorced in 1996. Andrew never remarried.

Thankfully for the Queen, her last child, Prince Edward, is still happily married to Sophie, Countess of Wessex, whom he wed in 1999. They have two children, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.