Controversies over royal weddings, from Princess Mako of Japan to Meghan Markle and Princess Charlene


Today, Princess Mako of Japan will finally marry her longtime boyfriend more than four years after announcing their engagement in May 2017.

A royal wedding is widely regarded as good news, but it has not failed to spark controversy over the bride’s handsome ‘commoner’ Kei Komuro.

In 2018, the wedding was delayed indefinitely amid tabloid reports about the groom’s family, namely his mother’s financial relationships. Some have suggested that Komuro was a wary “gold digger” who sought prestige and money through the princess.

READ MORE: What to know about the controversial wedding of Princess Mako of Japan

Princess Mako and Kei Komuro will tie the knot on October 26, after announcing their engagement in May 2017. (AP)

In fact, the scrutiny has become so intense that the Imperial Household recently confirmed Mako – who will lose her royal title when she gets married – had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It might be a little consolation for the couple that theirs isn’t the first royal wedding to get people talking for not-so-happy reasons. Here are some of the other newlyweds who have faced controversy over their big day.

Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus

When Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands married in 1966, there were large-scale riots in the streets of Amsterdam, with smoke bombs thrown at the newlyweds’ car during her procession.

Indeed, her husband Claus van Amsberg, later Prince Claus, was a German-born diplomat who had served in the Hitler Youth in his early teens and fought for Germany in World War II, when the country had invaded the Netherlands.

Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus of the Netherlands at their wedding, March 10, 1966 (Photo by Keystone-France / Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
Princess Beatrix’s marriage to Germany-born Claus van Amsberg sparked protests, with thousands of people gathering in the streets that day. (Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

Memories of the occupation were clearly fresh in the minds of Dutch citizens, and the news of the royal engagement encountered protests, including graffiti on the Prime Minister’s residence.

“We are not shocked that there is a controversy. It is a democratic country, and everyone has the right to express themselves,” then Princess Beatrix told reporters, when asked about the reaction. Her fiancé said he saw the “Nazi period” as a “disaster for the world” and was apolitical when he joined the Hitler Youth.

The outcry died down after the wedding, and the public finally warmed to Prince Claus, who died in 2002.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima

Beatrix wasn’t the only Dutch queen whose marriage sparked controversy.

READ MORE: The controversy over the meeting between Queen Maxima and King Willem-Alexander

Prince Willem-Alexander and Maxima Zorreguieta, now King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, on their wedding day in February 2002
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands married in 2002. (Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Maxima Zorreguieta, now Queen Maxima, said “yes” to 600 guests in 2002, but her mother and father were not among them.

Parents of the bride were absent from her marriage to Crown Prince Willem-Alexander – and later, their son-in-law’s coronation – because of his father’s controversial past.

Jorge Horacio Zorreguieta was a member of Argentina’s junta in the 1970s. His connection to the brutal military dictatorship of Jorge Videla, who ruled from 1976 to 1983, was worrying before the marriage.

Over 30,000 people are believed to have disappeared under the bloody regime, and thousands have been kidnapped and murdered.

Maxima Zorreguieta as a child with his father Jorge Zorreguieta (right) in 1979. (AP / AAP)

Maxima’s father was not accused of direct complicity with the crimes, and insisted he was a civilian with limited knowledge of government transactions outside of his role as Minister of Agriculture.

However, the Dutch Parliament was not convinced and an investigation carried out before the royal wedding concluded that there was no way that Zorreguieta could have occupied such a high position and had no knowledge of the “dirty war” .

As a result, it was decided that he should not attend the royal wedding in Amsterdam on February 2, 2002. Although this decision did not apply to Maxima’s mother, she chose not to attend.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, now Duke and Duchess of Sussex, on their wedding day in 2018 (AP)

Meghan Markle was another bride whose father did not walk her down the aisle, but for very different reasons.

The family drama emerged in the final days before the American actress married Prince Harry of England in 2018, with the actions of father Thomas Markle dominating the headlines.

READ MORE: Meghan’s father and the royal wedding: a timeline of events

Kensington Palace initially confirmed Thomas will accompany the future Duchess of Sussex down the aisle on May 19, 2018.

60-minute interview with Thomas Markle
Thomas Markle, Sr regularly speaks out against Meghan and Harry in media interviews. (60 minutes)

However, two days before the event, Meghan confirmed via a palace statement that her father would no longer fill the role – or attend the event at all. Ultimately, the Suit the star’s mother, Doria Ragland, was her only relative to attend the event.

The shocking announcement came after the publication of paparazzi photos of Thomas preparing for the wedding, which, it soon emerged, had been staged at the suggestion of Samantha Markle, Meghan’s half-sister.

As the media storm intensified, the retired Hollywood lighting director claimed he decided not to attend the wedding out of embarrassment. Other reports have revealed that he was admitted to hospital for heart surgery, preventing him from traveling to the UK.

Meghan pictured with her mother Doria, the only member of her family to attend the wedding, on the eve of the event. (PA)

Meghan eventually confirmed her father would be absent from the wedding, saying she hoped he would be given “the space he needs to focus on his health.” She walked part of the aisle on her own, before being accompanied to the altar by Prince Charles.

However, the Duchess’s relationship with her father has not recovered, with Thomas still estranged from the royal couple and regularly speaking out against them in interviews.

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene

In 2011, it was Prince Albert of Monaco whose marriage hit the headlines for reasons not so rosy.

READ MORE: The controversy of the marriage of Prince Albert and Princess Charlene

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco tied the knot in 2011. (Getty)

Grace Kelly‘s son married South African Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock on July 1 of that year, their marriage seemingly straight out of a fairy tale.

However, a few days later, a French newspaper claimed that the royal bride tried to flee Monaco three times before the event, including during a dress fitting in France and two days before the wedding.

Although these claims were denied by the couple, the ‘runaway bride’ angle proved compelling to media around the world, especially when paired with images of Charlene crying throughout the wedding. .

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco
The couple pictured during their 2011 civil wedding ceremony (Getty)

The explosive report follows weeks of speculation about a third “child in love” that Albert would have fathered in 2005 while in a relationship with Princess Charlene, allegations that would have upset the bride-to-be.

The Monegasque palace has long denied the rumors, but in 2020 Albert was summoned for a DNA test. He claimed he was being blackmailed by the woman involved in the trial.

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