Royals announcing marriage breakdowns: From King Charles' amicable split to Peter Phillips' secret separation

How royals confirmed their splits

Royal divorce is much more common now than it used to be, with Princess Margaret becoming the first royal to split from her husband since King Henry VIII in 1540.

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While many former couples have kept the details of their splits private, they all shared the news of their marriage breakdown with the world in some way or another. From Princess Margaret's husband Antony Armstrong-Jones' post-split statement to the Prime Minister's comments on King Charles' separation from Princess Diana, look back at exactly what was said when royal couples went their separate ways…

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King Charles and Princess Diana

King Charles and the late Princess Diana tied the knot in 1981, but they were leading separate lives by 1992. While rumours circulated about the breakdown of their marriage, British Prime Minister John Major confirmed their separation at the House of Commons in December 1992, simply stating: "This decision has been reached amicably and they will both continue to participate fully in the upbringing of their children."

The late Queen gave them permission to divorce in 1996, and a statement was released that read: "After considering the present situation, the Queen wrote to both the Prince and Princess earlier this week and gave them her view, supported by the Duke of Edinburgh, that an early divorce is desirable.

"The Prince of Wales also takes this view and has made this known to the Princess of Wales since the letter.

"The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will continue to do all they can to help and support the Prince and Princess of Wales, and most particularly their children, in this difficult period."

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Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones

In 1978, Princess Margaret and photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones officially ended their 18-year marriage.

Kensington Palace announced their separation in 1976, and despite claiming "there are no plans for divorce proceedings," it was finalised two years later.

"Her royal highness, the Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, and the Earl of Snowdon have mutually agreed to live apart. The Princess will carry out her public duties and functions unaccompanied by Lord Snowdon. There are no plans for divorce proceedings," the statement read.

According to The New York Times, Antony said of the split: "Firstly to pray for the understanding of our two children, second to wish Princess Margaret every happiness for her future and thirdly to express with all humility the love, admiration, and respect I will always have for her sister, her mother and indeed her entire family."

Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips

Following their 1973 royal wedding, Princess Anne and her first husband Captain Mark Phillips announced their separation in 1989 and finalised their divorce in 1992. Shortly after the birth of their daughter Zara, it was rumoured that they were having marital troubles and they were rarely seen together.

When Buckingham Palace confirmed their separation, the statement read: "Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal, and Capt. Mark Phillips have decided to separate on terms agreed between them. There are no plans for divorce proceedings." Anne went on to marry Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence.

Peter Phillips and Autumn Kelly

In February 2020, Peter Phillips and his ex-wife Autumn announced that they had decided to part ways after 11 years of marriage.

The couple's spokesperson issued a statement confirming their split. "As both Peter and Autumn are not senior members of the Royal Family, it was not felt necessary to formally announce their separation last year," it began.

"However in light of media commentary the following statement is issued; after informing HM The Queen and members of both families last year, Peter and Autumn jointly agreed to separate.

"The decision to divorce and share custody came about after many months of discussions and although sad, is an amicable one," it continued.

Peter and Autumn tied the knot at St George's Chapel in Windsor on 17 May 2008, and they reached a divorce settlement in 2021.

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Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson got married in 1986 and announced their separation in 1992, finalising their divorce four years later. 

Buckingham Palace confirmed their "amicable" split in 1992, following weeks of speculation. It read: "In view of the media speculation which the Queen finds especially undesirable during the general election campaign, Her Majesty is issuing the following statement:

"Last week, lawyers acting for the Duchess of York initiated discussions about a formal separation for the Duke and Duchess. These discussions are not yet completed and nothing will be said until they are. 

"The Queen hopes that the media will spare the Duke and Duchess of York and their children any intrusion." The former partners now live in the same property, Royal Lodge Windsor.

Lady Davina Windsor and Gary Lewis

The Queen's cousin the Duke of Gloucester's daughter Lady Davina Windsor and her husband Gary Lewis wed in 2004, but they confirmed the end of their 14-year marriage in 2019

Buckingham Palace told HELLO!: "Lady Davina and Gary Lewis were divorced last year."

Prince Louis and Princess Tessy of Luxembourg

Prince Louis and Princess Tessy of Luxembourg got married in 2006, with Louis giving up his succession rights and those of all the couple's children, but they split after 10 years of marriage. In a statement released by the royal palace, Louis' parents, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa confirmed the news.

The statement, written in French, read: "Their Royal Highnesses the Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess regret to announce that Prince Louis and Princess Tessy have decided to divorce. In these difficult times, they ask for privacy."

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