Their mother, the Queen
For Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, sharing a mother with the Commonwealth was simply a reality growing up, leading to some incredible – and incredibly bizarre – situations.
To make matters more complicated, when Queen Elizabeth II had Charles and Anne, she was in her twenties and engaging in intense trial-by-fire training, meaning she had to place Crown and Country above all else. But for Andrew and Edward – born more than ten years later – the Queen had finally relaxed into her role as monarch and was able to actually enjoy being a mother.
From the good to the bad and everything in between, this is what it’s really like having Queen Elizabeth as your mother.
She’d leave for months at a time
Throughout her reign, the Queen has frequently taken long trips to foreign countries, but none more controversial than the punishing overseas tour of the Commonwealth she embarked on in 1953. Over the course of six months, Elizabeth visited 13 countries – including Australia, New Zealand, Bermuda, Jamaica and Uganda – when Charles was three years old and Anne was just a toddler, leaving them at home. Only 27 herself, the Queen had been monarch for just a year and a half. The Queen also left Charles and Anne behind for long stretches while visiting Philip in Malta, a time that has been described as the happiest of her life, but which reportedly saddened the Queen Mum.
Charles and Anne were mostly raised by nannies
Although the young Queen was thrilled to be a mother, Prince Charles is quoted as saying the nursery staff were the ones who helped raise him, teaching him to play, punishing and rewarding him, and even watching his first steps. Still, it’s important not to be too harsh on the Queen. Historian Robert Lacy has said the Queen was simply recreating how she was raised, with her own parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, frequently entrusting her to the care of staff and tutors. Reminiscent of Downton Abbey, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh would see the children after breakfast and teatime.