When Prince Charles was born in 1948, he wasn’t born to a head of state—he was born to Princess Elizabeth. The same went for Princess Anne in 1950. Princess Elizabeth would ascend to the throne only two years later, and while she was the heir to the British throne, the bulk of royal duties and public scrutiny remained with her father, King George VI.
After her proclamation as Queen, Elizabeth's time for personal matters shortened. Historian Sally Bedell-Smith writes in the biography Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life that during Elizabeth's first years as Queen, "she depended on the nannies to supervise [Charles and Anne's] daily lives." Bedell-Smith also says the couple only saw their children after breakfast and at teatime.
When Prince Andrew was born to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip a decade after Princess Anne, life was very different for the couple. Eight years into being queen, Elizabeth had already settled into her role. The world wasn’t so wary of her every move anymore, so she and Philip consciously made a decision to take more time out to raise their third child. Four years later, Prince Edward came along and Queen Elizabeth completed what she called her “second family.”
The Queen skipped more engagements to be with her two younger sons. Charles and Anne were away at school, so the younger two had their own time to spend with their parents. This could partly be the reason why they grew up very different from their elder siblings. Below, we explore the unique relationships the royal couple had with their sons.
“It’s a boy!” Prince Philip exclaimed after snatching his newborn son, later to be named Andrew Albert Christian Edward, from the nurse.
When she had her third child, the Queen wanted to keep away from the public eye. She did so quietly for 16 months but after rumors swirled that her infant prince was deformed, the Queen decided to debut her son on the Palace’s balcony during her birthday parade.
Andrew had a special relationship with his parents. It’s been said that he spent the most time with the Queen and she would even ask his nanny to leave the baby with her while she worked, according to an article in the Daily Mail. She gave him baths when he was a child and put him to bed herself. He was allowed to play along palace corridors and never missed a Saturday afternoon of watching sports with his parents or a Sunday show of cricket. “Compassion comes from the Queen and the duty and discipline comes from him [Philip],” Andrew once said.
The Duke of York grew up the cheeky one in his family. As Andrew grew older, he became the subject of a number of scandals, many of them involving the disloyalties of his now ex-wife Sarah Ferguson. But despite the
These days, Andrew works as a full-time royal.
When the Queen went into labor for the first time, Prince Philip kept himself busy on Palace grounds. He played a game of squash and went for a swim to calm his nerves, while the then-princess endured 30 hours of labor to finally bring the couple their firstborn.
When the royal couple’s youngest child arrived, however, Prince Philip was right by the Queen’s side, her hand in his. It might sound like the norm today, but Philip was the first royal father to witness the birth of his own royal baby. In an excerpt of My Husband and I: The Inside Story of 70 Years of the Royal Marriage by Ingrid Seward, it's said that Her Majesty was interested in testing the growing number of theories that the father should be involved in the birthing process.
Philip later said of the birth, “People want their first child very much when they marry. They want the second child almost as much. If a third comes along they accept it as natural, but they haven’t gone out of their way to get it. When the fourth child comes along, in most cases it is unintentional.”
But even after saying this, Philip has always had a soft spot for his youngest son, Edward. He wasn’t as strict with his upbringing as he was with Prince Charles. When Edward, the Earl of Wessex, withdrew from the Royal Marines after four months, it was his father who supported his decision. The Queen was angry with his decision to leave.
Despite this, current rumors say that Edward and his wife, Countess Sophie of Wessex, are the Queen’s favorites. The Queen is reportedly very close to her daughter-in-law. A source tells Express, “Edward has
When Prince Philip retired this year, it was Prince Edward and his wife who took over most of the engagements he left behind. Express also reports that Prince Edward’s portrait is the only one in his father’s study and he is set to inherit the title Duke of Edinburgh when his father passes.