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Like most families, 2021 brought plenty of highs and lows for the House of Windsor.
In the past year, the royal family mourned the death of Prince Philip, navigated allegations of sexual assault against Prince Andrew, felt the fall-out of an explosive tell-all interview and celebrated the birth of two royal babies. Throughout it all, Queen Elizabeth II continued to lead her family in the midst of heartache and upheld royal engagements throughout the ongoing pandemic.
As the year comes to a close, we’re looking back at some of the most popular royals as searched for by Yahoo Canada users.
Who was the most searched for royal of 2021? Continue reading to find out.
10) Princess Diana
Princess Diana's life continued to pique public interest in 2021. In July, Princes William and Harry, reunited in London to unveil a statue in Kensington Gardens to commemorate what would have been the late-Princess of Wales's 60th birthday. The release of the film "Spencer" starring actress Kristen Stewart in November depicted an unhappy and suppressed Diana during a fictional Christmas with the royal family, prompting many to take to the online archives to seek the truth of the princesses's fraught relationship with Prince Charles and senior members of the royal family.
9) Princess Margaret
Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowden, has remained a popular royal figure thanks in part to her reputation as the Queen's "rebellious" younger sister. However, the popularity of "The Crown" on Netflix has definitely contributed to a resurgence in Margaret fanfare, with viewers eager to learn more about the sharp-tongued, extravagant royal who was once rumoured to have had an affair with Mick Jagger.
8) Prince Andrew
Despite stepping away from public service in 2020, Prince Andrew continued to make headlines for his supposed relationship with Ghislane Maxwell and convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein. In September, a lawsuit was filed against the Duke of York by Virginia Giuffre, alleging the royal sexually assaulted her when she was a minor. While Prince Andrew has denied all claims of misconduct, a trial is expected to take place in late 2022.
7) Prince Charles
Looking back, 2021 might not be a year Prince Charles will remember fondly. Although the Prince of Wales took on more responsibility on behalf of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, media coverage of the 73-year-old royal focused largely on his alleged rift with his youngest son, Prince Harry. Following Harry and Meghan Markle's interview with Oprah Winfrey, the "strained" relationship between father and son dominated headlines with the Duke of Sussex revealing he was "cut-off" from his family financially. In November, representatives for Charles went on the defensive after claims surfaced that the prince was the one who allegedly made racially-offensive marks speculating the colour of his grandson Archie Mountbatten-Windsor's skin colour.
6) Queen Elizabeth II
For Queen Elizabeth, 2021 was marked by heartache and grief. In April, the 95-year-old royal mourned the loss of her husband, Prince Philip, who died "peacefully" at Windsor Castle. The pair were married for more than 70 years, and met for the first time when a then Princess Elizabeth was just 13. The Queen's fierce emotional strength was on display at her husband's funeral, as she sat alone next to Philip's coffin at the pared down funeral service. Although she resumed public duties following a mourning period, the Queen limited her engagements in the fall on the advice of her doctors.
5) Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton proved she's one of the most prominent figures in the royal family in 2021. The Duchess of Cambridge worked tirelessly speaking to educators, essential workers and healthcare workers to highlight important issues like mental health during the pandemic. Middleton celebrated the release of "Hold Still" a book of photography highlighting the impact of COVID-19 around Britain and the launch of her passion project, The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood. Although the rest of the royal family was plagued by rumours and allegations, Middleton rose to the occasion to keep calm and carry on with her royal duties.
4) Prince William
Although 2021 was full of charity work and royal engagements, Prince William became embroiled in a narrative that pit him against his younger brother, Prince Harry. Publicly, the Duke of Cambridge remained committed to raising awareness for mental heath and global warming initiatives, the father-of-three was plagued by rumours of a "feud" with his younger brother since the Duke of Sussex wed Meghan Markle in 2018. Tensions escalated (at least in the headlines) after the Sussexes' interview with Oprah Winfrey, during which Harry called his brother "trapped" in his role as a royal.
3) Prince Philip
Prince Philip's death cast a shadow over the royal family during 2021. The 99-year-old Duke of Edinburgh died of "old age" at his home in Windsor Castle, leaving behind his wife, Queen Elizabeth II, four children, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. As the longest serving consort of a British monarch, Philip was associated with more than 900 charities and organizations with a particular passion for education, sport and the environment. Following his death, the public came to learn more about Prince Philip as a supportive grandfather, "the heart of the family" and an unapologetic servant to the Crown committed to making a difference.
2) Prince Harry
Despite "stepping back" as a senior royal in 2020, Prince Harry remained committed to philanthropy in 2021 and raising mental health awareness through the Archewell Foundation, which he co-founded with his wife, Meghan Markle. The Duke of Sussex's new life in California afforded him privacy with his growing family and the freedom to take on more candid projects, like his documentary series "The Me You Can't See" with Oprah Winfrey for Apple+. Despite the positive works achieved in 2021, Harry received his share of backlash from the public for participating in a candid tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired while his grandfather, Prince Philip, was ill.
1) Meghan Markle
In 2021, the Duchess of Sussex remained a champion for women's rights, pay and vaccine equity and advocated publicly for paid maternal leave in the United States. Despite her commitment to philanthropy, it was her tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey that garnered her the most public interest. In March, Markle spoke candidly about her mental health struggles working as a senior royal and admitted to feeling suicidal while pregnant with her first child, Archie. Markle revealed the racism she experienced in the press and the scrutiny she endured behind closed doors ultimately prompted her husband, the Duke of Sussex, to relocate his family to Canada and then the United States.