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Their mother, the Queen

Their mother, the Queen
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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

She’d leave for months at a time
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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.

Find out what Queen Elizabeth never travels without.

Charles and Anne were mostly raised by nannies

Charles and Anne were mostly raised by nannies
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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.

She knows that her oldest child can’t fulfil his destiny until she dies

She knows that her oldest child can’t fulfil his destiny until she dies
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Charles has been groomed for the throne his entire life – as the longest-serving Prince of Wales in history, he’s been in waiting for more than 50 years – and yet Charles won’t become King until the sad day when the Queen dies. However, as emotionally complicated as that fact might be for the Queen herself, it doesn’t mean she can’t imagine what the reign of the likely King Charles III might look like. In fact, the protocol around the process of ascension has been highly planned in advance.

Meanwhile, here’s everything else you need to know about Charles becoming King.

She plays favourites

She plays favourites
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One of the reasons Prince Andrew has gotten such a pass following the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, people speculate, is because he’s the Queen’s favourite child. Why? A full ten years younger than Charles, Andrew was born when Elizabeth had already been Queen for eight years, allowing her to relax and take time off. She took a full 18 months off after Andrew’s birth and enjoyed taking care of him herself, a luxury she didn’t have with Charles and Anne. It’s also been said that Andrew’s birth marked a new era for Elizabeth and Philip’s marriage, with Andrew as their so-called love child.

Don’t miss these things that Queen Elizabeth would prefer we not know about Prince Charles.

She won’t let them eat garlic

She won’t let them eat garlic
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No, really. According to one of the Queen’s former chefs, Darren McGrady, garlic is a no-go-zone for all members of the royal family and is reportedly outlawed because of the sheer number of public conversations and duties they undertake. Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, confirmed the rumour during an appearance on MasterChef Australia, saying, “I hate to say this, but garlic. Garlic is a no-no.”

 

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She often left Prince Charles alone at boarding school

She often left Prince Charles alone at boarding school
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Trying to toughen him up, Philip sent Charles to his own alma mater, the famously difficult boarding school Gordonstoun in a remote part of Scotland. (Every morning began with an ice-cold shower.) However, when Charles fell sick there with the flu in 1957, the Queen chose to write him a letter before embarking on a royal tour of Canada, rather than visiting. Sadly for Charles, history repeated itself four years later, when she stayed on tour in India rather than visiting him during another bout with illness.

Read about the shocking conspiracy that kept Charles and Camilla apart.

The Queen chose to breastfeed

The Queen chose to breastfeed
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Despite what people might expect because of the Queen’s stereotypically upper-class British reserve – not to mention the aristocratic and royal tendency to leave the bulk of childcare duties to staff or hire wet nurses – Elizabeth happily chose to breastfeed all four of her children, like her mother, the Queen Mum, before her.

Here are 19 rarely seen photos of royal siblings.

She was embarrassed by Prince Edward’s reality TV moment

She was embarrassed by Prince Edward’s reality TV moment
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In 1987, the Queen’s youngest child Prince Edward produced a charity reality-variety show and competition starring the royal family called It’s a Royal Knockout. It featured Prince Edward, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and the Duchess of York competing alongside celebs like John Travolta and Christopher Reeve in a series of silly challenges and events. The program might have been a ratings success (more than 18 million viewers tuned in) but it was widely considered one of the biggest royal disasters of all time and hugely embarrassed the Queen, especially when a petulant Edward stormed out of a post-show press conference.

Charles thinks she was detached

Charles thinks she was detached
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In season 3 of popular Netflix show The Crown, the relationship between Prince Charles and the Queen is often hopelessly strained, with the Queen frequently displaying coldness and disappointment at Charles’s choices. In real life, their relationship was more complex, with clear love but a lack of tangible affection. Charles himself has pointed to their complicated relationship by describing his mother as “not indifferent so much as detached.”

Here’s what else The Crown gets wrong about the royal family.

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