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Mary Kenny

Prince Andrew was always his mother's favourite child, but did that contribute to his downfall?

Mary Kenny



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Problem child: the Queen with the Duke of York at Royal Ascot in 2017

Problem child: the Queen with the Duke of York at Royal Ascot in 2017

UK Press via Getty Images

Prince Andrew with 17-year-old Virginia Roberts in 2001

Prince Andrew with 17-year-old Virginia Roberts in 2001

Problem child: the Queen with the Duke of York at Royal Ascot in 2017

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.