It is an accepted axiom that every child should be a wanted child (which can discomfort those of us who weren't in that category at the outset). But is it always an advantage to be an 'over-wanted' child? Perhaps the now discredited Prince Andrew falls into that classification.
According to Sarah Bradford, the Queen's most insightful biographer, Andrew was the child his mother was determined to have, even against her husband's wishes. Philip, a veteran environmentalist, always supported the family-planning motto advocated by population control: "Stop at two." Two children would have been quite sufficient for the Duke of Edinburgh but the Queen wanted Andrew. Badly. In the end, she got her way, as any wife worth her salt should, and Andy was born in 1960 - 10 years after his elder sibling, Anne. And he was utterly adored from day one. His mother confessed that he was going to be "spoiled terribly". According to his biographer Nigel Cawthorne, that is precisely the flaw in his character - he has always been spoiled.
As a young child he had tantrums and outbursts of temper that were soothed, but not successfully corrected. At school - even at the usually strict Gordonstoun - he seems to have been able to get away with being "big-headed" and over-confident in himself. He grew tall and good-looking, and went on to be further adulated by teenage girls.
At the Montreal Olympics in 1976, a Canadian newspaper described him as "six foot of sex appeal". Attending Lakeland School in Canada the following year, he was greeted by mobs of girl groupies shrieking "We want Andy!" When he played rugby, writes Cawthorne, T-shirts were worn with the slogan "I'm an Andy Windsor girl".
Such flattery would turn anyone's head, and Andy's head wasn't the brightest: he lost interest in education, and spent his later adolescence reading juvenile comics and gathering a collection of girlfriends known as "Andy's Harem".
During the Falklands War of 1982, Andrew served, apparently bravely, as a Royal Navy rescue helicopter pilot. Mates have said that he was at his best during this time, just like a regular guy.
His missions included acting as a decoy target for Exocet missiles. However, being hailed subsequently as a military hero and promoted to vice-admiral probably wasn't the best for his moral development, as he seems to have been susceptible to flattery and status.
Again - aren't we all pleased by flattery and praise? It's only human. And yet, that is exactly what the British constitutionalist Walter Bagehot warned against: a royal prince must be on his guard against flatterers, who will surround him. Moreover, there should be some working occupation in princely lives, rather than living off easy money and the "habitual temptations" of their circumstances.
"But how few princes have ever felt the anomalous impulse for real work ... how little are the circumstances of princes calculated to foster it." Andrew's life, post-Falklands, was one of mingling with celebrities - Billy Connolly, Elton John and Michael Caine were among the guests at his wedding to Sarah Ferguson in 1986 - and hobnobbing with doubtful political leaders in far-off lands. And then, as it turned out, with paedophiles like Jeffrey Epstein and the sex pest Harvey Weinstein.
And thus he came to a humiliating downfall, whereby he is now sought for questioning by the FBI in America as a witness to Epstein's crimes. He has been besmirched by his ill-judged friendship with Epstein, and all but expunged from the public face of the royal family. From ubiquitous flattery to universal disparagement - it can't be easy.
From what I am told, Andrew, as a divorce, behaved promiscuously, and had streams of girlfriends; but he is not a paedophile. If he had a sexual relationship with Virginia Roberts, aged 17, this is not illegal in the United Kingdom (unless it involved coercion or rape). But the BBC TV interview with Emily Maitlis in November 2019 put on display his woeful lack of judgment and foolish self-justification.
Someone should have advised him to sit there and say: "Look, I've been a damn fool. I was dazzled by what seemed a glamorous lifestyle - Bill Clinton took Epstein's hospitality, too. Yes, I slept around. Not edifying, perhaps, but, so far as I know, not illegal. Did I meet Miss Roberts? As there's a picture of me with my arm around her waist, I must have done. I don't always remember everyone I've met. I certainly apologise if the lady was ill-treated in any way, and I would deplore the notion that she was trafficked."
Instead of which, he insisted that he was "honourable", and went into an implausible narrative about breaking off his friendship with Epstein, eating a pizza at the time of the alleged seduction, and never sweating when he dances.
He's said not to be popular within the family - neither Charles nor young William are entirely displeased at Andy's chastening. His mother has accepted his disgrace and withdrawn some of his privileges. But he still remains her favourite child, which is, quite possibly where the seeds of his downfall began.