The existence of royal love children is an interesting subject. Although history is littered with examples, only two children fathered by living royals have been officially acknowledged in recent times: Prince Albert of Monaco has admitted that he is the father of Jazmin Grace Grimaldi and Alexandre Coste.
King Albert II of Belgium is reputed to be the father of artist Delphine Boel, although this has not been confirmed. The late Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands (father of Queen Beatrix) had two illegitimate daughters, Alicia von Bielefeld and Alexia Grinda-Lejeune, recognised after his death, although rumours persist of more children outside marriage. Some also believe the Duchess of Cornwall, formerly Camilla Parker-Bowles, is descended from Edward VII through his mistress, Alice Keppel.
Then there are some disputed claimants. Robert Brown, an accountant from Jersey, came forward to say he was Princess Margaret’s secret son with Group Captain Peter Townsend, but failed to convince a judge. Attempts to prove that Prince Philip fathered two children, Max and Louise Boisot, with his childhood pal, Helene Cordet, have come to nothing.
At one stage, there were several putative offspring of the late Duke of Windsor popping up in the UK press. Fanny Cradock, a wild-eyed television cook, even wrote a novel called The Windsor Secret in which Wallis Simpson gave birth to the Duke’s son. To this day, nobody has produced reliable evidence that he ever had any children.
However, the Duke of Windsor apparently did believe that Michael Canfield, the first husband of Jackie Onassis’s sister, Lee Radziwill, was the secret son of his younger brother, the Duke of Kent, who was killed in 1942. What a film the mysterious Mr. Canfield’s life story would make! The bisexual Duke may also have been the father of Raine Spencer, Princess Diana’s stepmother — at least that’s what Raine’s mother, novelist Barbara Cartland, once told respected writer Michael Thornton.
So what about modern royals? Whispers that Diana’s father might have been the late Sir James Goldsmith have been discounted, but there are two recurring rumours concerning secret paternity that I still wonder about and neither concerns Prince Harry, who is definitely the son of Prince Charles and looks more like him and the Queen every day. Diana believed one of the tales about current royal love children to be true — and she knew the secrets of all the world’s royal families. Diana told a friend, who told someone else, who told someone else who told me.