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Why Prince Andrew Wasn't Actually Queen Elizabeth's Favorite Child, Expert Says

Many believed that the disgraced royal was favored by the late monarch.

Most royal watchers know that it has long been believed that Queen Elizabeth II's favorite child was Prince Andrew. During her life, the long-reigning monarch welcomed four children with husband Prince Philip: King Charles III, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward. And while there have been plenty of rumors and supposed evidence from experts about Andrew being the preferred sibling, one expert disagrees and says that Elizabeth favored one of her other children instead.

RELATED: How Camilla "Proved Herself" to Queen Elizabeth, According to an Insider.

As reported by the New York Post, the biography The Queen by Matthew Dennison claims that Edward was actually Elizabeth's favorite child—and Philip's, too.

"Prince Edward, seemingly a bit wet and a tad irritating to the rest of us, was always his parents' favorite," Dennison writes. As evidence, he points to the reaction to Edward leaving the Royal Marines before completing his training. Dennison writes that the favoritism "became apparent in 1987 when Edward, aged 22, opted out of the Royal Marines when he was just a third of the way through his 12-month basic training course. To the surprise of some, Prince Philip (Edward's father and Captain-General of the Royal Marines) did not come down on his son like a ton of bricks." Dennison adds that Philip "accepted that the Marine's wasn't right for Edward—and to this day Edward is grateful for that."

Prince Edward in Bulgaria in 2013
VILevi / Shutterstock

Similarly, royal expert Ingrid Seward told Express, "Given his action-man image and his well-earned reputation for irascibility, many people assumed [Philip] was outraged. Stories soon spread that harsh words had been exchanged between father and son, even that Edward had been reduced to tears by his father's anger." Seward added, "The truth was quite the opposite: of all the Royal Family, Philip was in fact the most sympathetic. He understood his son's decision, which he considered a brave one, and supported him fully."

In 2017, when Philip retired from royal duties, Express reported that Edward and his wife, Sophie, would be stepping up their work. A source claimed that the queen had become particularly close to Sophie. It was also reported that Edward would take Philip's title when he died, and that ended up being the case. Edward is now known as the Duke of Edinburgh.

And, Edward's portrait was reportedly the only one in Philip's study. "Edward has moulded into a quiet and efficient figure who does not seek attention or acquire headlines. He and Sophie are liked for being dutiful and uncomplaining," a source said.

As for the queen's relationship with Andrew, many believe that he was her most beloved child. Royal expert Camilla Tominey told Express, "Andrew was straightforward and the more glass-half-full of the pair." The "pair" refers to Andrew and Edward, who have a large age gap from older children Charles and Anne. "Although he could be a bit of a handful, the Queen enjoyed the company of the easy-going son who could make her laugh and raise the family's spirits," Tominey added.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Andrew at Trooping the Colour 2019
Lorna Roberts / Shutterstock

Historian Robert Lacey told Town & Country that the queen had a softer spot for both of her younger sons, who were born well after her older two. (Anne and Andrew have a 10-year age difference.) "Evidence suggests she became warmer and more flexible as time went by," Lacey said. "Early in the 1960s, Her Majesty decided that she had done her duty by her country, and took the best part of 18 months off work to produce and enjoy her 'second family,' the young princes Andrew and Edward, born in 1960 and 1964 respectively."

The idea that Andrew was Elizabeth's favorite, of course, brings to mind the scandal resulting from his ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. In 2019, Andrew stepped back from royal duties.

"It has become clear to me over the past few days that my association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family's work and the valuable work going on in the many organizations and charities that I am proud to support," he said in a statement, as reported by The New York Times. "Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I can step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission."

An insider told Best Life, "The Queen loves Andrew very much, but she is still very much focused on the future of the monarchy and will always put what is best for the Crown first."

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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