Prince Andrew: which other royal figures have faced legal action?

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<span>Photograph: Steve Parsons/AP</span>
Photograph: Steve Parsons/AP

Prince Andrew has demanded a jury trial in Virginia Giuffre’s sexual abuse lawsuit against him, yet it is not the first time a member of royalty has faced court proceedings.

The British monarchy faces the prospect of one of its most senior figures being questioned by legal professionals over his alleged sexual abuse of a minor in a US court, allegations he has denied.

But there have been several other occasions when charges have been brought against royalty. Here is a brief rundown of when royals have run into trouble with the courts.

Princess Anne

The Princess Royal became the first member of the present royal family to be convicted of a criminal offence when she pleaded guilty to a charge under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

One of her dogs, a three-year-old English bull terrier called Dotty, bit two children as they walked in Windsor Great Park on 1 April 2002.

She was fined £500 for the attack and ordered to pay £250 in compensation and £148 in costs at a magistrates court in Slough. The district judge, Penelope Hewitt, spared Dotty’s life.

Princess Anne (again)

Princess Anne was also convicted of speeding in her Bentley after admitting driving at 93mph in a 70mph zone in Gloucestershire. The princess was fined £400, ordered to pay £30 costs and given five penalty points on her driving licence.

In her written evidence to the magistrates court in March 2001, the Princess Royal said she thought the police cars on her tail were providing her with an escort.

She said she had been on her way to an official engagement when she was caught in a line of slow-moving traffic on the A417 dual carriageway near Brockworth.

King Charles I

Going back several hundred years now, Charles I was brought to trial in Westminster Hall on 20 January 1649, following the end of the English civil war.

The king appeared before his judges four times, charged with tyranny and treason. The exchanges generally focused on the king challenging the court’s authority and its right to try him.

In the end though, he was condemned to death on 26 January of the same year and beheaded four days later outside the Banqueting House in Whitehall, London.

Mary, Queen of Scots

In the previous century, Mary, Queen of Scots was implicated in the Babington Plot – a plan in 1586 to assassinate her cousin Queen Elizabeth I and put Mary on the English throne.

She faced trial for treason before a court of 36 noblemen, where she denied all charges, urging her triers to “look to your consciences and remember that the theatre of the whole world is wider than the kingdom of England”.

Although she argued that she had been denied the opportunity to review the evidence, was denied access to legal counsel and that she had never been an English subject in the first place, she was convicted and sentenced to death.

Juan Carlos I

It isn’t just the British monarchy that has had legal troubles over the years either.

Former Spanish king Juan Carlos I is the subject of several criminal investigations, with an inquiry launched in 2020 to establish any involvement in a €6.7bn deal with Saudi Arabia.

It is in connection with the construction of a high-speed rail line between the Saudi Arabian cities of Medina and Mecca by a Spanish consortium.

Juan Carlos is currently living on Zaya Nurai Island, which is a convenient 15 minutes by boat from the United Arab Emirates, but is reportedly seeking a return to his homeland.

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