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Shame on the whole world and the courts: what was 2020 for representatives of royal families



2020 hasn't been the best year, even for royalty. They had to hide in a foreign land, while away months behind bars, listen to insults and hide from shame, says

Collage: Shutterstock, sussexroyal / Instagram

Harry and Megan

Screenshot: Meghan's Fashion / YouTube

2020 was supposed to be the year of Harry and Meghan. In the early days of January, they announced that they no longer want to fulfill the duties entrusted to them by the British royal family. Both had good reasons for this. Meghan is tired of being a whipping girl who is equally hated by the royal entourage and the tabloid press. Harry began to realize that he had no future in England. Only his brother has a chance to become king, and he will inevitably turn into an aging prince, who is remembered only because of scandals (like Andrew, the Queen's middle son) or not remembered at all (as the youngest son of Queen Edward). At least abroad, he will have a chance to achieve something.

It is not known what exactly Harry and Meghan were up to, but things immediately went awry. The negotiations with Elizabeth II ended much worse than Harry expected. He thought he would retain a certain role at court no matter what. It turned out that the Queen was not happy with this option. Harry was unequivocally hinted that there are no part-time princes, and were given a year to think about it. If he does not return, then it is possible that he will be booked a way to Buckingham Palace.

The new life did not work either. After moving to the United States, Harry and Megan probably wanted to make a name for themselves. Instead, for most of the year, they had to hide from the coronavirus and the paparazzi in one or another secluded mansion. Meanwhile, the English tabloids, from whom they hoped to escape, washed their bones with trebled energy.

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Every week, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express reported on the feud between Prince Harry and Prince William. Some experts on royal family affairs believed that the brothers had finally quarreled. Others insisted that they made up. Both those and others referred to informed sources at court, but most likely did not know anything

Megan continued to throw mud at her. She was blamed for the fact that after the move, Harry is bored and therefore does not look fervent enough (the same informed sources reported about his suffering in a foreign land), of the split in the royal family, and even of trying to influence the outcome of the presidential elections in the United States.

In the fall, the media reported that the Duchess of Sussex was secretly pregnant with her second child. It is later revealed that she actually had a miscarriage back in July.

The situation began to improve only towards the end of the year. Harry and Meghan have struck major deals with Netflix and Spotify for the production of films, TV shows and podcasts, which have allowed them to do without handouts from Harry's father, Prince Charles. In addition, Megan provided voiceover for the documentary about elephants, which was released on the Disney Plus video service. As far as we know, she did it for free. Nevertheless, this is her first acting job after her marriage to the prince.

Prince Andrew

Photo: Shutterstock

Unlike the contrived scandals surrounding Harry and Meghan, the scandal that drove Prince Andrew underground is much more serious. He is suspected of raping underage girls, and more and more evidence confirming his guilt.

Following an unsuccessful BBC interview in November 2019, Andrew temporarily resigned from the royal family and stopped appearing in public. All year, the Queen's 60-year-old son remained in the shadows and did not even come to his own daughter's wedding. All in vain: he was never forgotten, and it is almost impossible to imagine his rehabilitation after another round of disclosures in the Daily Mail.

The charges were filed several years ago and are related to the friendship between the prince and the American financier Jeffrey Epstein, who supplied the rich and powerful pedophiles with underage girls.

One of Epstein's victims, American Virginia Roberts, claimed that she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew three times, and this happened in 2001, when she was only 17 years old. Their acquaintance is confirmed by a photograph in which the prince hugs a girl, taken in the London apartment of Epstein's accomplice Gislaine Maxwell.

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According to the memoirs of Roberts, one of the rapes happened on April 11, 2001 in New York during an official visit of Prince Andrew to the United States. Andrew vehemently denied the allegations. The last refutation was given in the same interview on the BBC: he said that he had never lived in the Epstein mansion and spent April 11 at the British Consul General in New York.

In December, the British tabloid Daily Mail published the results of its own investigation of the events of that day. The publication found out that Andrew lied: on April 11, 2001, he spent the night not with the consul, but in Epstein's mansion in Manhattan - ostensibly in order not to waste taxpayers' money. True, neither Epstein, nor Maxwell, nor Roberts, apparently, was there. All three were on a private plane that took off from the airport, located 25 kilometers from the Epstein mansion. Despite this, they could still meet. The time of the alleged crime falls on three hours, marked on the prince's schedule as "personal files." Neither Andrew's guards nor the assistant can confirm his alibi during this period.

Documents and testimony obtained by the Daily Mail showed that the prince had the opportunity to commit the crime. Judging by the public lies, he has something to hide. Now Andrew will find it much more difficult to make excuses.

Juan Carlos I de Bourbon

Photo: Shutterstock

In 2012, the Spanish king Juan Carlos went hunting in Africa and shot an elephant. It is unlikely that he thought that he was starting a chain of events that would end in a secret escape from the country he ruled for nearly 40 years.

The king should have stopped hunting back in 2006, when an international scandal almost happened because of his hobby: during a visit to Russia, Juan Carlos shot the drunk bear Mitrofan. But he did not stop and went to Botswana for the elephant. This time the consequences could not be avoided.

“A hideous staging accompanied the hunt of King Juan Carlos of Spain. The falsifiers “sacrificed” a good-natured and cheerful bear named Mitrofan, who was kept at a recreation center in the village of Novlenskoye. The bear was put in a cage and brought to the hunting ground. After that, he was generously watered with vodka mixed with honey, and pushed out into the field. Naturally, the overweight drunken animal became an easy target. His Majesty Juan Carlos killed Mitrofan with one shot, ”says Sergey Starostin, deputy head of the department for the protection and development of hunting resources in the Vologda region.

On the trip, Juan Carlos broke his hip and urgently returned to his homeland in a private plane. He was urgently operated on, but the injury was severe and it took several years to recover. Meanwhile, the subjects were discussing the monarch's trick. Not only did he kill the elephant - that in itself does not evoke sympathy. Worse, it happened in the midst of the economic crisis, when ordinary Spaniards could barely make ends meet. To indulge in such extravagant and expensive entertainment at such a moment is simply indecent.

The slain elephant has hopelessly ruined the reputation of Juan Carlos. Left without popular love, he thought it good to abdicate the throne in favor of his son Felipe. But even after that, he was not left alone. The former monarch was suspected of receiving huge kickbacks: among other things, there was talk of five suitcases of cash from Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and $ 100 million, which the Saudi King Abdullah transferred to Juan Carlos's offshore account.

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In 2020, law enforcement agencies in Spain and Switzerland took up the investigation of the fraud. Now, not only Juan Carlos had to think about the reputation, but also his son, King Felipe VI. In March, he announced that he would strip his father of regular cash benefits and give up his inheritance so as not to have anything to do with his criminal proceeds. Previously, Juan Carlos received 194 thousand euros (18 million rubles) annually.

Five months later, the former king decided to go into voluntary exile and flew out of the country in an unknown direction. Portuguese media claimed that he was hiding on the Lisbon Riviera. The Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia wrote that Juan Carlos moved from Portugal to the Dominican Republic. There, in turn, they stated that there was no monarch on their territory.

This went on for two weeks, until a fresh photo of Juan Carlos appeared in the press. They show a man very similar to the former king, descending the plane to Abu Dhabi. It was alleged that the exile arrived in the UAE and settled in a hotel room for 11 thousand euros per day. Soon, the palace came out with confirmation of this information.

In December, Juan Carlos voluntarily paid tax arrears, which, taking into account interest and penalties, amounted to 678 thousand euros. Despite this, he continues to hide outside Spain, and it is still unclear how his adventures will end.

Maha Wachiralongkorn Rama X

Photo: Shutterstock

The most colorful monarch of our time, the 67-year-old King of Thailand, Maha Wachiralongkorn Rama X, had the best time. And this is not so easy when you consider that a real revolution is brewing under the windows of his Bangkok palace.

In March, Maha left for Germany to wait out the COVID-19 pandemic. This was not the most rational decision: in Europe, the coronavirus killed hundreds of people a day, while Thailand managed to avoid the uncontrolled spread of the infection. Before Mahi's departure, only one death from COVID-19 was recorded in the country. In Germany, the risk of infection was much higher, in addition, the German authorities introduced quarantine measures and stopped air traffic with Thailand. But the law is not written to the kings - an exception was made for Mach and his retinue.

More than a hundred people flew to Bavaria with the king. During the quarantine, the king rented all the rooms of the four-star Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl. One floor of the hotel was furnished with antiques brought from Bangkok and turned into a kind of exit palace for Mahi and his 20 concubines. A few days later, the king was tired and broke his isolation for a trip to the Bangkok Chakri festival, but then returned. The next outing followed only a month and a half later and was even more ridiculous: Macha and 20 of his concubines went for a bike ride in the Bavarian Alps.

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While the king chilled out, discontent ripened in his homeland. In the summer, first on the Internet, and then in Bangkok, multi-day mass actions began. Dissatisfied citizens demanded the resignation of the prime minister who came to power after the military coup in 2014, new elections and reform of the monarchy.

The yellow rubber duck became the symbol of the protests, and enterprising merchants quickly launched the sale of ducks of all possible calibers: from tiny chest straps to titanic inflatable ones the size of a man

To save the monarchy, Maha threw the disgraced favorite Sininat Wongwajirapakdi, who was stripped of all titles and titles just a year ago - according to rumors, due to the intrigues of the monarch's wife Sutkhida, who took a dislike to her rival. After her resignation, Sininat disappeared without a trace, and the house where her family lived was unexpectedly demolished. There were rumors in Thailand that she was killed or died.

In fact, she was thrown into Lat Yao Central Women's Prison without trial or investigation. By the time the king needed her help, she had spent nearly a year behind bars. In September, Makha canceled last year's decision, returned Sininat's previous titles and sent his plane for her. The favorite was brought to the airport directly from the prison.

Sininat was tasked with increasing the popularity of the king among the youth. To do this, she traveled around the country all autumn, in each province she tried on local traditional costumes, met with fans and posed with everyone for a selfie. Whether it helped Maha or not is not yet clear, but Sutkhida was not at all happy with the return of the favorite. The undercover struggle continues: in response to the release of the favorite from prison, the courtiers who sided with the queen organized the leakage of hundreds of photos of Sininat, including intimate ones.

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