As Queen Elizabeth II’s historic 70-year reign comes to an end, speculation abounds over who her alleged ‘favorite’ child and grandchild are. The Queen was known to share close bonds with each of her four children – Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward – as well as her eight grandchildren. But did she play favorites? Let’s examine the evidence.
The Queen’s Relationship with Each Child
Queen Elizabeth’s firstborn child was Charles, now King Charles III. As the heir apparent for most of the Queen’s reign, she relied on Charles heavily and they shared a deep bond through their weekly meetings and discussions of state affairs. However, the Queen was also said to be exasperated by Charles’s sensitive nature and desire to find self-fulfillment outside the confines of royal duty.
Anne, the Queen’s only daughter, was widely considered to be her closest confidante amongst her children. They shared a passion for horses and the equestrian world. Anne was admired by her mother for her no-nonsense attitude and unwavering commitment to service. Some say the Queen saw much of herself in Anne.
The Queen’s third child Prince Andrew served actively in the Royal Navy, which the Queen was said to be immensely proud of. However, their once close relationship was likely strained in recent years by the scandal surrounding Andrew’s connections to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Prince Edward, the youngest of the Queen’s children, pursued a career in theater and television production before taking on full-time royal duties. Edward was considered sensitive and mild-mannered, perhaps the most like his mother in temperament. The Queen seemed to have a soft spot for Edward, who made her laugh and brought lightness to her life.
The Queen’s Relationship with Each Grandchild
The Queen’s grandchild roster includes Prince William and Prince Harry, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, Lady Louise Windsor, James, Viscount Severn, Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips.
As second in line to the throne, Prince William took on increasing responsibilities as a senior working royal. He regularly met with the Queen for guidance and counsel. Many say William was her preferred successor as he prioritized duty and embodied the Windsor dedication to service.
Prince Harry shared a warm and affectionate bond with the Queen. She adored his cheekiness, sense of humor and military service. However, their relationship was said to be strained after Harry stepped back as a senior royal. The Queen was likely dismayed over his public criticism of royal life.
The Queen was also close to her granddaughters Beatrice and Eugenie, taking great interest in their education and careers. However, they’ve remained non-working royals. Louise and James maintained the lowest profiles growing up. Still, the Queen was impressed by Louise’s maturity and equestrian talents.
The Queen’s only daughter Princess Anne chose not to give royal titles to her children Peter and Zara. As such, they’ve lived relatively normal lives. Zara grew incredibly close to the Queen through their shared love of horses. The Queen even attended Zara’s wedding to rugby player Mike Tindall.
Who Was the Queen’s Favorite Child?
Based on accounts from royal insiders, many believe the Queen’s favorite child was her daughter, Princess Anne. Their shared interests and Anne’s unfaltering commitment to service allowed an incredibly close bond to form. The Queen knew Anne would always put duty first, no matter what. Biographer Matthew Dennison said, “The Queen saw in Anne the sort of dedication to duty and work that she had.”
Additionally, woman to woman, the Queen may have simply found it easier to confide in a daughter versus a son. Anne has been described as the child most similar to the Queen in temperament – direct, stubborn, resilient and professional. The Queen recognized these shared traits and knew she could fully rely on Anne’s support and discretion when it came to discussing personal matters or seeking counsel.
While the Queen was said to have a deep affection for all her children, her relationship with Anne appeared to stand apart. Anne brought not just loyalty but true companionship. For the Queen, Anne was the ideal confidante.
Who Was the Queen’s Favorite Grandchild?
Pinpointing the Queen’s favorite grandchild is more challenging. She shared loving bonds with each for various reasons. However, many accounts suggest that honor goes to Prince William.
William has long been prepared for the duties of kingship. He embodies the Windsor ethic of devotion to crown and country. William began accompanying the Queen on engagements from a young age, establishing an early closeness.
As William grew older, the Queen ensured he was groomed to one day fill her shoes. They held regular private meetings where the Queen offered guidance, advice and support. She had the utmost confidence that William would serve successfully as King thanks to his preparation.
William also prioritized family – both his immediate family with Kate and their children, and the wider royal family. He understood the Queen’s deep commitment to both family and institution. And he shared her stalwart dedication to duty above all else.
For the Queen, William was the embodiment of a worthy heir – committed, responsible, and understanding of what it takes to be monarch. She saw the virtues in him that would make him a future King she could be confident would guide the monarchy forward.
While Queen Elizabeth II loved all her children and grandchildren, Princess Anne and Prince William seemingly held special places in her heart. The Queen found true kinship with her daughter Anne, who mirrored her own dedication to service and discretion. And she took comfort knowing the responsible, duty-bound William was prepared to take the throne when destiny called. He represented the next chapter for the House of Windsor.