Royal family

The biggest Royal Family news and scandals of the 1900s

British royalty has never been short on intrigue and scandal. Even in 2021, the royal family delivered a story that had the world riveted, watching as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced they were taking a step back from the family.

Over the years, Americans have watched events unravel from across the pond. Old newspapers in the U.S. have archived the sensational stories from Great Britain with more drama than an English period film.

The timeline of British royalty is star-studded with incidents, including when Prince Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, died in a car crash under mysterious circumstances that have led to many conspiracy theories. The early 1900s had no shortage of royal intrigue with claims of power, fallouts, divorces, and everything in between.

Here are three times headlines from American papers mirrored the awe they still felt toward the British royal family.

1910: The passing of King Edward VII
Even America’s midwest newspaper, The Muscatine Journal, was in awe as “the tolling of the great bell” marked the death of one of England’s great rulers. King George became a historic ruler, presiding over World War I and visiting the front in France several times. 

1917: Anti-German sentiment leads the King to create the House of Windsor
Connecticut’s New Britain Daily Herald tells the story of King George replacing the historic and Germanic Saxe-Coburg-Gotha house name with the “House of Windsor.” The first World War, and its German antagonists, had left a bitter taste with Britain. Even the U.S. felt the tension.

1936: King Edward VIII abdicates to marry Wallis Simpson
Perhaps the greatest scandal of the early century, the news of King Edward VIII abdicating the throne for a divorced American woman reached papers even in the Rhinelander Daily News in Wisconsin. Wallis Simpson had not one but two ex-husbands, which was a scandal in its own right at the time. King Edwards’s desire to marry her was a royal crisis that ended in him choosing love over the throne.

Royal families aren’t the only ones with storied pasts. Old newspapers are filled with accounts of our ancestors’ unique place in history. From outlaws to town heroes, every character in your family played an important role.

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