Divorce is a difficult and emotionally charged issue that affects couples worldwide. However, when it comes to royal families, the consequences of a marital breakdown can be extremely complex and financially ruinous. These high-profile divorces are often marked by lavish financial settlements, bitter disputes over titles, and a constant stream of sensational news stories that capture the public’s attention. In this article, we will explore the most expensive divorces in royal history, revealing the jaw-dropping amounts of money involved and the dramatic events that led to the end of these marriages.
- Princess Märtha Louise And Ari Behn
Princess Märtha Louise, Norway’s fourth-in-line to the throne, announced in August 2016 that her 14-year marriage to famed writer Ari Behn had ended. Despite their best efforts to save their relationship, fate separated them, making it difficult for them to move forward together. Their pain originated not only from the breakdown of their personal relationship, but also from a deep sense of failure to provide a stable home for their beloved children Maud Angelica, Leah Isadora, and Emma Tallulah.
Princess Märtha Louise acquired shared custody of her adored daughters in 2017, after a traumatic divorce process. According to Norwegian media sites, she received a whopping 25 million Norwegian kroner (about $2.9 million) as part of her settlement with Ari Behn. During those uncertain times, this financial package equaled to half of his fortune. Princess Märtha Louise decided not to use the exalted title bestowed upon her by King Harald on her wedding day in 2002 – Her Royal Highness – for personal benefit through entrepreneurial enterprises. Instead, she embarked on a remarkable path to become a therapist and alternative healer.
- King Juan Carlos And Queen Sofia
Rumors of unfaithfulness, scandal, and estrangement abound in the troubled story of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia’s nearly six-decade marriage. These former monarchs, who took control in 1975 after tyrant Francisco Franco died, led separate lives for years without officially dissolving their marriage ties. Nonetheless, King Juan Carlos made a surprising statement in August 2020, revealing his plans for self-imposed exile after charges of financial malfeasance involving former sweetheart Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein.
As whispers gathered around the extraordinary occurrence, suspicion about the end of their marriage masquerade ran wild. According to unverified rumors, Queen Sofia continues to stick to her marriage due to religious reasons; she is a fervent Orthodox Christian. Some argue that she is waiting for her husband’s death before launching legal action in order to gain greater access to his considerable money. Exact details on what portion of that fortune Queen Sofia may receive following a hypothetical split remain unknown; King Juan Carlos’ net worth is estimated to be $2.3 billion. Other claims said he gave her an extravagant gift worth $72 million in 2012, which he supposedly stole from his secret Swiss bank account.
Both sides promptly disputed such charges, tossing them aside like confetti. Meanwhile, Queen Sofia generates personal income from investments and is a well-known donor of several philanthropic and cultural organizations. Throughout the turbulent royal drama, she earned enormous respect and affection from her Spanish citizens – primarily for her persistent dedication to philanthropy and maintaining a regal poise in the midst of turbulence.
- King Leka And Susan Cullen-Ward
King Leka and Susan Cullen-Ward never divorced, although they had a rocky marriage. After meeting in the late 1960s in Sydney, where Leka was an exiled contender to the Albanian throne and Susan was a sheep farmer’s daughter and art teacher, they married in 1975 in France. Life appeared to be improving for this odd pair, but difficulty soon arose when Leka faced expulsion from Spain due to his alleged involvement in illegal arms deals.
They were forced to evacuate and found refuge in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), only to be faced with grief when their beloved daughter died during childbirth – a heartbreaking blow. The Albanian throne and ruling were never far from their minds, and they embarked on an arduous campaign to recover what they considered was rightly theirs. Faced with communist hostility, King Leka and Susan’s dreams were first at odds with what appeared to be functionally impenetrable obstacles.
Later on, democratic governance presented its own set of difficulties. The Australian government offered Susan a substantial allowance and gave her the title “Queen Susan” on her passport. Nobody knows how much money she received in the divorce (because it was kept private), but she lived handsomely, according to sources. Susan died of lung cancer in 2004, bringing the couple’s marriage to an end.
- Prince Joachim And Alexandra Manley
In 2004, the Danish royal family was shocked to find that Prince Joachim (the vivacious and youngest son of Queen Margrethe) and his Hong Kong-born wife Princess Alexandra were calling it quits. It was a shocking revelation that shook the monarchy to its core.
Their sudden divorce not only devastated their own ambitions, but it also ended a historic drought for Denmark’s royal dynasty. The last time such palace drama played out was in ancient times (1846 to be exact).
While official sources remained tight-lipped about why this once-perfect pair split up, media rumors stated that Prince Joachim’s wild party lifestyle and occasional social gaffes caused irreparable rifts between him and his beloved Alexandra. Despite her heartbreak, this photogenic princess managed to keep her head held high while maintaining her prestigious royal title – no minor task.
Alexandra even earned a generous income from the Danish parliament, equivalent to a cool US $330,000 per year (as long as she got married again in 2007).
- Princess Anne And Mark Phillips
Even individuals close to the British monarchy have been subjected to marital difficulties; Princess Anne and Mark Phillips’ divorce was formalized in 1992 (and contained rumors of a child fathered outside the marriage). According to court documents, the princess received a tidy settlement package worth $2 million as a result of the split.
- Princess Haya And Sheikh Mohammed
In the most recent high-profile royal divorces has been the one of Jordan’s Princess Haya bint Al Hussein and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates. After marrying in 2004, the royal pair had two children together before things went south – allegations of abuse and intimidation within the union surfaced, eventually leading to its dissolution when Haya left to London in 2019 seeking asylum.
This divorce captured global public interest, owing to its very contentious nature, which lasted over two years and was cloaked in secret. Although exact statistics have not been made public, rumors indicate that Haya initially requested astounding sums such as $100 million per year – for her and their two children.
- Sarah Ferguson And Prince Andrew
Sarah Ferguson, well known by her nickname “Fergie,” had no idea that her 1986 marriage to Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, would come to be associated with scandal. Fergie’s notorious toe-sucking episode (including her financial advisor) during their 1996 divorce served as a catalyst for the media frenzy surrounding their breakup.
Fergie received a comparatively small $3 million settlement despite the difficulties surrounding their divorce, in addition to a $20,000 yearly stipend for living expenses. Her Royal Highness The Duchess of York was her title, which she kept; the only thing that changed was that after the split, “Her” was no longer part of her official address.
- Princess Caroline And Prince Ernst August
Princess Caroline of Monaco and Prince Ernst August had a turbulent 10 years together before their marriage broke down, resulting in yet another costly divorce. Despite rumors that they had a prenuptial agreement that would have paid Caroline $85 million in the event of a divorce after five years, details regarding the precise sum remained unknown because of a drawn-out legal dispute that ended only a few years ago, in 2020, more than ten years after they first split up. One thing is true during this process, even while everything else is collapsing around them. Her Royal Highness Princess of Hanover is Caroline’s title that she keeps.
- Princess Diana And Prince Charles
Princess Diana and Prince Charles, whose 1992 separation resulted in an official divorce four years later, are a prime example of expensive royal divorces. Diana left the discussions after three exhausting years with an incredible $22.5 million cash settlement and a lifetime payout of $600,000. She still owned her home at Kensington Palace, her priceless jewelry collection, and her privileges, which included flying in royal planes. However, this financial success came with a cost: she had to give up her title of Her Royal Highness and her privilege to be referred to as Princess of Wales.
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