Prince Edward's TV show disaster that featured Princess Anne and other senior royals dubbed 'absolutely humiliating'

Prince Edward's TV show starred Princess Anne, Fergie and celebrities like Tom Jones and Meat Loaf - who said he had tense words with a royal

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex (who celebrates his 58th birthday today) visits the Sir Ken Dodd Happiness Hall, which has been transformed into a new space for the community, to mark its official opening on March 10, 2022 in Liverpool, England.
(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Prince Edward's TV show The Grand Knockout, or It's a Royal Knockout as it's more popularly known, goes down in history as one of the Royal Family's most embarrassing  moments. In the years since it was made, in 1987, revelations regarding backstage drama and how in the hell it even got made have come to light.


Long before Sophie Wessex' proposal from Prince Edward, when Countess Sophie's £105K engagement ring took its rightful place on her left hand - the Prince was the center of a truly bizarre production. Seemingly, Prince Edward's TV show was to be his entry into working in the television industry, but what ensued was a production that truly beggars belief.

Entertainment fan Prince Edward rejected this royal title because of his love of Colin Firth's character in a '90s rom-com, so it's no surprise that after his career in the Royal Marines ended- that he might consider heading down the entertainment route.

Devised by the Prince, the show was held at Alton Towers and all in aid of charity. The competition featured four royal team captains - Prince Edward, Sarah Ferguson, Prince Andrew, and Princess Anne. Celebrities including John Cleese, Jon Travolta, Jane Seymour, and Meat Loaf competed in the games wearing truly silly costumes throughout.

Despite raising £1M for charity, it was clear from the get-go that the charity fundraiser wasn't a rip-roaring success from the reviewers.

Per The Mirror (opens in new tab), speaking on Channel 5's Fergie Vs Diana: Royal Wives at War, royal expert Jennie Bond said, "It's a Royal Knockout will go down in royal history as one of the biggest c**k-ups of all time I think."

"It was a disaster from beginning to end, it was absolutely humiliating," she added.

See more

In the years since it aired, more disasters have come to light - including claims from the late star Meat Loaf that he had a bit of a scuffle with Prince Andrew.

Speaking to the Guardian (opens in new tab) in 2003, Meat Loaf claimed, "Fergie [Sarah Ferguson] wasn't exactly flirting with me, but she was paying attention to me, and I think Andrew got a little - I could be wrong, I'm just reading into this - I think he got a little jealous."

Seemingly, this alleged jealousy led to Prince Andrew trying to push Meat Loaf into the water. "He tried to push me in the moat," he said. "So I turned around and I grabbed him and he goes, 'You can't touch me. I'm royal.'"

Disinterested in what his title was, the late singer claimed to have responded, "'well you try to push me in the moat, Jack, I don't give a s**t who you are, you're goin' in the moat.'"

The alleged altercation wasn't captured on camera, which may disappoint drama fans. Luckily, the show provided enough entertainment on its own - even without a royal rumble.

Aoife Hanna
Aoife Hanna

Aoife is Junior News Editor at woman&home.

She's an Irish journalist and writer with a background in creative writing, comedy, and TV production.

Formerly Aoife was a contributing writer at Bustle and her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica, EVOKE and her poetry features in the Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.

Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, hot yoga studio, lifting heavy weights, or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.