Inside The Lives Of The Siblings Of The Royal Family
Being a royal comes at a price, even if you marry into the family. The lives of your family can be upturned quicker than you can say “I do”, and before you know it, everything is put under the microscope. Some royal siblings end up just as famous as their newly royal brothers or sisters, while others manage to fly under the radar – even if they were born royal themselves.
Join us as we take a look at some of the most intriguing siblings of the royal family. We’ve even thrown in a famous Hollywood actress – and it’s not the one you think.
Pippa Middleton is largely known to the world as the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister. Kate’s younger sister is no stranger to scandal, thanks to her marriage to James Matthews. His father, David Matthews, is a racecar driver turned businessman, known for owning the upscale Eden Rock Hotel in St. Barths.
Earlier this year, David was accused of sexually assaulting a minor in the late 90s. Although the crime was reported in 2017, French authorities didn’t catch up with the wealthy entrepreneur until April 2018. Since her father-in-law’s legal troubles began, Pippa has been keeping a relatively low profile.
When Meghan and Harry announced their engagement last year, Meghan’s siblings got almost as much media attention as the engagement photos. 53-year-old Samantha Markle has been the Duchess’ harshest critic, branding her a fraud. Meghan’s older sister frequently talks to the press about her sibling – and it’s never to say anything nice.
When reports surfaced that Meghan reportedly asked for air fresheners to be used in the historic wedding chapel, Samantha mocked her on Twitter. "When sis sees the ghost of Ann Boleyn walking the tower with her head in her hands, will she demand Ghostbusters? Lol," she wrote.
Earl Charles Spencer
Charles Spencer is the brother of the late Princess Diana. The siblings had a tempestuous relationship while Diana was alive, with Charles allegedly refusing to let his older sister return home when she was at the height of her emotional turmoil, post-divorce. It was later reported that he called his sister both “deceitful” and “manipulative.”
However, despite their issues, they cared deeply about one another. When Diana tragically died in 1997, it was Charles that delivered her eulogy, in which he rebuked both the press and the royal family for their treatment of her. He would later oversee the building of a garden temple memorial and allow Diana to be buried on the family estate.
Tom Parker Bowles
Son of Prince Charles’ wife, Camilla, Tom Parker Bowles is one of Harry and William’s step-siblings. Parker Bowles has carved out a name for himself as a food writer and critic, writing for several high profile publications.
Although he keeps his distance from royal affairs, his ties to the family often find him the subject of media speculation. He once stated that he can’t cook with his mother as she is "single-minded" and was recently spotted looking cozy with a mystery woman, despite being married to wife Sara for 12 years, with no known plans to divorce. Like stepfather, like son?
Thomas Markle Jr.
Thomas Markle Jr is another of the Duchess of Sussex’s half-siblings. While he has spoken to the media in the past, he’s often kinder about Meg than his sister, Samantha. In an interview with the Daily Mail in April of this year, Thomas remembered his sister as “very caring.”
Instead of blaming the Duchess for her estrangement from their father, Thomas Markle Sr., her brother blamed Prince Harry. “If she wasn’t with Prince Harry right now – even if she was on Suits right now – she would’ve stopped what she was doing to go and visit our father and make sure he’s okay,” he said, referring to their dad’s health issues.
Stephanie Phillips isn’t exactly part of the royal set, and although she’s a stepsister, that still makes her a sibling. Unlike her father’s illegitimate child, Stephanie is the result of a Captain Mark Phillip’s second marriage to Sandy Pflueger. Very little is known about 21-year-old Stephanie.
She can sometimes be spotted out at family engagements with her parents and half-siblings, Zara and Peter. Most recently she was photographed at the funeral of her father’s sister, Sarah, looking downcast alongside her brother and sister, and their mother, Princess Anne. It’s not known what Stephanie does, but it wouldn’t be surprising if she also followed her father in the equine field.
John B. Kelly Jr.
When Hollywood actress Grace Kelly became the Princess of Monaco, she gave up her life on the silver screen to devote herself to royal duties. Her life in the US was largely forgotten too, but her brother John was famous in his own right.
Grace’s older brother was an accomplished rower, four-time Olympian. Perhaps he took after their father, who was a triple Olympic gold medal winner himself. Three years after his sister died in 1982, John suffered a fatal heart attack while out jogging. Like his sister, he died at a relatively young age, passing away age 57 despite his healthy lifestyle.
Once upon a time, Sarah Ferguson was the wife of Prince Charles’ brother, Andrew. Sarah, dubbed "Fergie" by the press, was frequently in the newspapers following her split from Andrew, and the Duchess of York didn’t exactly keep a low profile.
Before she became tabloid fodder, Sarah enjoyed a relatively normal (albeit privileged) upbringing alongside her sister, Jane. Jane recalled her youth in a 2002 essay for The Times. "She was the naughty one and I was the goody-two-shoes," she wrote. "I must have told her off hundreds of times." Jane met her first husband, Alex Makim, when she was just 15 years old. Rather scandalously, he was working on her father’s estate as a stablehand.
Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark
The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, had three older sisters, including Princess Cecilie. It’s believed that Prince Philip was closest to Cecilie out of all of his siblings, and that he was heartbroken when she tragically died at age just 26 in 1937.
While the princess was traveling with her husband, mother-in-law and two young sons to a wedding in England, the aircraft hit a factory chimney. It’s believed that Cecilie, who was eight months pregnant at the time, gave birth mid-flight, causing the pilot to attempt to land in bad weather. All passengers on board the plane were killed.
James Middleton is the lesser-known brother of the Duchess of Cambridge. The 31-year-old businessman has managed to keep a significantly lower profile than his sisters, but has spoken to the press about his life previously.
Although he attended the best schools, he dropped out of the prestigious University of Edinburgh after one year. "I knew that that mouthful of academic prescription was not going to do it for me," he told GQ. Instead, he chose to launch a cake business, but it dissolved in 2015. James dated actress and TV personality Donna Air for some time before splitting earlier this year.
The Queen’s late sister, Princess Margaret, was often in the media before her death in 2002. Often depicted as the young, glamorous princess, Margaret made great sacrifices in her personal life.
At the age of 22, she wanted to marry Group Captain Peter Townsend, but as a divorced man, he wasn’t deemed an appropriate spouse. Margaret went on to marry photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, but would make headlines as the first major royal to divorce in 1978. The public reacted badly and Margaret became a controversial figure thanks to her romantic entanglements. She suffered three strokes toward the end of her life as a product of her heavy smoking.
Laura Lopes is Camilla Parker Bowles only daughter, making her another one of Harry and William’s step-siblings. Lopes married chartered accountant and fellow well-to-do Harry Lopes in 2006, going on to have three children.
Their first daughter, Eliza, was one of the bridesmaids at Kate and Will’s wedding in 2011. Lopes isn’t as well known as her brother Tom, and largely spends her time raising her children. In 2001, she interned at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice and had a brief spell as Tatler‘s motoring correspondent. Through the mid-2000s, she managed The Space Gallery in London and co-founded London’s Eleven Gallery.
Princess Anne is the Queen’s only daughter, and at the time of her birth was second in line to the throne. These days, the princess is thirteenth in line to the throne, behind Charles’ children and grandchildren. The 68-year-old is dedicated to charity work, having been patron to over 200 causes.
Anne also holds the unique distinction of being the only member of the royal family to have competed in the Olympic Games, thanks to her equestrian talents. After her divorce from Captain Mark Phillips, Anne went on to marry Sir Timothy Laurence. The pair wed in 1992 and have been solid ever since.
Lady Jane Fellowes is the older sister of Princess Diana. The 61-year-old forged royal ties long before her little sister married Prince Charles, by tying the knot with her distant relation, Robert Fellowes, who was at the time secretary to the Queen.
Diana’s butler Paul Burrell told the media that the relationship between the two sisters was largely strained, thanks to Lord Fellowes’s job at the royal household. He claimed that by the time of Diana’s death, the sisters hadn’t spoken for several years, despite living in close quarters on the Kensington Palace estate. Although she keeps herself out of the media, Lady Fellowes delivered a reading at Harry and Meghan’s spring wedding.
Compared to his equestrian sister Zara, Peter Phillips manages to live his life relatively quietly. The eldest of Princess Anne’s two children, Peter has managed to work his way up the corporate ladder, landing a position at Jaguar before working for the WilliamsF1 team.
Phillips married Canadian businesswoman Autumn Kelly in 2008 at St. George’s Chapel, the same place that Meghan and Harry said I do earlier this year. Unlike other royals who keep their relationships largely under wraps, Kelly and Phillips sold their story to UK magazine Hello! for a reported £500,000. Her Majesty wasn’t impressed, and neither were other members of the tribe.
Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, was the brother of Queen Victoria’s beloved Albert. Although there was over a year between them, the two were raised and treated like twins.
When Albert died in 1861, Ernest turned on the royal family and began to publish anonymous pamphlets against them, including Queen Victoria. Despite all of the animosity between them, Ernest was left with no choice but to name his nephew, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, as his heir-presumptive. Although he married early in life, he would have no children of his own and therefore no direct heir to his legacy.
He may be a fully-fledged member of the royal family himself, but as he’s not likely to end up on the throne, Prince Andrew often falls into obscurity. The younger brother of Prince Charles has ended up in the tabloids for a number of reasons, from sexual abuse allegations to ill-advised comments.
However, despite his controversies, Prince Andrew managed to have one of the only amicable divorces in royal history. His marriage to Sarah Ferguson was a happy one, and the despite splitting in the early ’90s the two have remained close friends, raising their daughters Eugenie and Beatrice together. Neither one has remarried.
Long before Prince Charles settled on Princess Diana, he had his sights set on her older sister, Sarah. Lady Sarah began secretly dating 28-year-old Charles in 1977, six years prior to his infamous marriage.
However, despite everything progressing nicely, Sarah never had any intention of marrying Charles – but she did love the publicity. On a trip they took together, she sat down with two reporters to dish the royal dirt. Sarah supposedly said, “I would not marry Charles if he were the dustman or the King of England.” Months after the split, she introduced Charles to her 16-year-old sister, Diana.
We all know that the royal family has some skeletons in the closet. Felicity Tonkin is the daughter of Captain Mark Phillips, the ex-husband of Princess Anne, making her the half-sister of Zara Phillips.
Felicity was conceived when Phillips had a one-night stand with New Zealand art teacher Heather Tonkin in 1984, when he was still married to Princess Anne. Felicity shares a love of horses with her sister, but it’s thought that the two aren’t – and have never been – in direct contact. The Captain implored his one-time lover to get an abortion when he was informed of the pregnancy and tasked his aides with paying Heather hush money to keep her story private. When he stopped paying support, she went to the media to set the record straight.
The youngest of Queen Elizabeth II’s children, Prince Edward often gets forgotten about. In recent years, the tenth in line to the throne has assumed responsibilities originally held by his father, the Duke of Edinburgh.
Prince Edward works as a full-time member of the royal family, but isn’t often pictured in the press. He supports the Queen in her duties and succeeded Prince Philip as the president of the Commonwealth Games Federation when he was no longer able to carry on due to his advancing age. He has two children with his wife, Sophie, whom he married in 1999.