Prince Andrew vs Prince Charles: The inside story of their decades-long rivalry

With reports of a feud that dates back to childhood, Michelle Davies investigates the four reasons why the royal princes are seemingly not brothers in arms

With reports of a feud that dates back to childhood, Michelle Davies investigates the four reasons why the royal princes are seemingly not brothers in arms

When the news broke that the Queen had effectively sacked Prince Andrew from public life following his diabolical Newsnight interview, the shock amongst ardent Royal watchers was palpable. He is reportedly her ‘favourite’ child, the darling son who previously could do no wrong in her eyes. To unceremoniously remove him from Royal duties and cut off his £249,000 allowance seemed very out of character for Her Majesty – until it emerged it was done at the urging of Prince Charles.

Suddenly, it all made sense…

Mummy’s dearest

The seeds of their feud were planted in childhood. Charles was only five when the Queen ascended the throne in 1953 but from that moment her priority was to raise him as a future monarch, not as a son. Andrew, born eleven years later, was given freedoms Charles could only dream of and Andrew and his mother had a natural closeness. The Queen also made allowances for Andrew because she knew how frustrating life could be as ‘the spare’ – as we’ve seen in the new season of The Crown, she went through it with her own sibling, Princess Margaret. Speaking to Jeremy Paxman for his Channel 5 documentary, Paxman on the Queen’s Children, Daily Mail Royal correspondent Richard Kay claimed Charles once said, ‘The trouble with my brother Andrew is that he wants to be me.’

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Airmiles Andy

Even though Charles endured his fair share of scandal over the break-up of his marriage to Diana and his affair with Camilla, over the years he is said to have become exasperated by Andrew’s poor judgement when it comes to his overseas activities and his associates. Andrew was roundly criticised for his friendship with the family of Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi and he earned himself the new nickname ‘Airmiles Andy’ (his previous one was ‘Randy Andy’) when the Daily Telegraph revealed in 2010 he’d racked up a £260,000 in travel expenses in his role as a trade ambassador. ‘I think Charles is very aware that the monarchy is a precarious institution that needs to be very mindful of how it looks to the public and how they use the privilege that they have,’ Royal author Penny Junor told The Daily Beast. ‘Andrew seems to feel a sense of entitlement that some would argue he does not deserve.’

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Out of the picture

The feud deepened in 2012 when Andrew was reportedly incensed that Charles had ‘banned’ him and his daughters, Princess Beatrice and Eugenie, from the Buckingham Palace balcony to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. In an effort to streamline the monarchy to reflect the austere times, Charles pared down the invitations to ‘immediate family’ – meaning only Charles, Camilla, William, Kate and Harry stood alongside his mother. A year previously Eugenie and Beatrice were also stripped of their royal protection, much to Andrew’s chagrin. According to multiple reports, he hates the fact his daughters are not seen as full-time royals when they are blood princesses and haven’t just married into the family like Kate and Meghan.

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Refusing to toe the party line

In March this year the extent of his animosity was apparent when he did not attend a party held to mark the 50thanniversary of Charles’s investiture as the Prince of Wales. One senior royal source described Andrew’s no-show – he gave no official reason for his absence – as a ‘naked display of hostility’ between the two brothers.

A showdown between the pair is expected this week when Charles arrives home from his and Camilla’s tour to India, New Zealand and the Solomon Islands, with Andrew expected to go to Clarence House, Charles’ London HQ, to explain himself. It will be a rare face to face meeting, as according to one recent report they only communicate through their households and private secretaries, rather than speaking to each other directly.

Meanwhile, the Queen has cancelled a birthday party she was due to host for Andrew to celebrate him turning 60 in February and is instead planning to host a small family dinner. What are the odds Charles’ is one name that won’t make the guest list.

Maria Coole

Maria Coole is a contributing editor on Marie Claire.

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