'My brother doesn't speak to me anymore' - Luxembourg's Princess Tessy on what life is really like after marrying into royalty
Tessy Antony, the former princess of Luxembourg, has spoken candidly about the devastating effects her royal marriage had on her family.
Tessy was a 19-year-old army corporal from humble beginnings when she met Prince Louis, eventually marrying him in 2006.
She and Louis divorced last year in a controversial court battle that was covered consistently by both the British and Luxembourgish press due to the fact that the proceedings took place in a London court, where the couple both live full-time. They became locked in a battle about the division of their assets after an unknown sum she requested was denied by Louis, who hails from one of the wealthiest royal families in Europe.
After they eventually settled on an undisclosed sum, Tessy has become a staunch defender of Meghan Markle, who has come under consistent criticism since marrying into the British royal family last May. Markle's only relative at her wedding was her mother Doria Ragland as her father claimed to have had a heart attack days before he was due to walk her up the aisle and she is estranged from her half-siblings.
But Tessy said that she can empathise with the Duchess of Sussex's experiences as her own family was also demolished after her royal relationship. At the time, she was also attacked for her supposed qualifications to marry a prince and because she became pregnant before they were engaged, he refuted any succession rights for himself and any of his children to assuage the scandal.
"My family suffered greatly when I married into the family. My little cousin needed to change school twice," she told Sky News. "My twin brother was incredibly bullied a work - still is today - my sister, my parents suffered...my oldest brother doesn't talk to me any more because of that, because it was too much for him to handle.
She was also the subject of tell-alls from former friends and classmates who sold stories and pictures from her pre-royal life to unscrupulous publications, albeit on a smaller scale than the intense global coverage around Meghan, whose own father has published handwritten letters by her with a British newspaper.
"That was when I married him and then when I got divorced 'Oh my god the same'. I've learned you can never please everyone," she added. "People will just like to talk bad about you. A person who went to school with me literally wrote me an email a few years ago and said, 'I'm sorry I wrote that about you, I know it's not true but I need to feed my children'."
"Why I did it and why I stand up for her and a lot of other people as well is because my children read these things. I don't want my children to grow up in such an environment - this is not the society I want my kids to grow up in."
In 2016, she described her divorce as “one of the most difficult situations I have ever faced” and said the focus remains on raising their sons Prince Gabriel (13) and Prince Noah (12).
“We have a very balanced family dynamic. My sons’ father and I make sure that they remain children as long as possible and receive and experience all the love and fun other children receive, too,” she told - of all places - RoyalCentral.co.uk.
“We have helped our sons to grow up to be confident, informed, happy, engaged and kind little gentlemen. We are very proud of them.”