PRINCE Andrew jumped down the gangplank to be presented with a red rose by the Queen upon his return from the Falklands War.
She welcomed him back as a serving Navy hero—and to her he always would be.
For the rest of her life, the contents of her handbag consisted of a handkerchief, sweeteners in a small gold box, and a photograph of Andrew taken that day in Portsmouth, arriving home safely.
The Prince’s service on HMS Invincible during the 1982 conflict was the pinnacle of his life as an action man in the form of his father Prince Philip, naval commander.
He was the son who most resembled the man Elizabeth loved, and that made him special.
In fact, Philip and Andrew were so alike that the family dubbed them “identical twins who split in time.”
He was her favorite child for decades and that made his shame after being accused of sexual assault all the harder for her to bear.
Friends and royal experts describe his downfall as the great tragedy of their lives.
Andrew was born on February 19, 1960, when the Queen’s other children, Charles and Anne, were eleven and nine, respectively.
Her Majesty, who was 33, wrote to a cousin: “The baby is lovely.
“The two older kids are absolutely captivated by him and all in all he’s going to be spoiled terribly by all of us I’m sure.”
The Queen was determined to spend more time with him than with Charles and Anne, and the courtiers noticed that this time around she seemed much more relaxed and loving as a mother.
Soon she would be welcoming official visitors into her study while the little prince played at her feet.
She also gave new nanny June Waller permission to take the youngster on incognito adventures
June wrote to a friend in March 1963: “One day I took Andrew on a bus!! to Paddington Station to see the trains. He was completely smitten and couldn’t see everything fast enough.”
A year later the little boy had a new brother, with Edward’s arrival on March 10, 1964.
Philip was in the delivery room for the first time after the Queen asked him to be there.
Afterwards, she said to a friend, “Gosh, what fun to have a baby in the house again!”
Windsor Castle’s Great Corridor soon became a racetrack for the boys’ pedal cars and bicycles, and the Queen’s doctor, Sir Cecil Hogg, recalled the constant sound of ‘raging’ on his visits.
They gained another playmate from 1967 when the Queen invited Philip’s mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, to move into Buckingham Palace.
The chain-smoking 83-year-old threw balls down the hallway and the boys hit them back using a stove brush as a bat.
Andrew was the leader in these exploits and ordered his younger brother to go around.
He had an arrogant streak that reminded people of his father, and even the Queen admitted, “He’s not always a little sunshine.”
Edward was far less bold, and Her Majesty described him as “the quietest of my children.”
She taught him to read and write herself and set up a blackboard in her study.
Both boys were sent to Gordonstoun secondary school in Scotland – the place Charles described as “Colditz with kilts”.
Girls had been admitted as students a year before Andrew’s arrival, and Charles remarked, “He’s having great fun.”
Meanwhile, fellow students remembered Edward for “not ramming who he was in the throat” — unlike Andrew.
The Queen was delighted when Andrew joined the Royal Navy in 1979 to train as a helicopter pilot, as his father had done before him.
When war broke out with Argentina over the invasion of the Falkland Islands in April 1982, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher set about pushing Andrew into a clerical job to protect him.
“Some Twins Separated in Time”
After all, he was second in line to the throne. But Andrew hit the roof and the Queen entered.
He once said, “She didn’t have a question, and it only took her two days to solve the problem.”
He soon sailed away aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible, which became a prime target for Argentine bombing.
Andrew later admitted he was traumatized when he flew his helicopter as a decoy to decoy Exocet missiles off the ship and was ordered to “hit the deck because the ship is under attack”.
But when the 22-year-old sailed back to Portsmouth harbor in September of that year with the war won, he looked every inch a carefree hero.
Edward appeared ready to follow in his brother’s footsteps and joined the Royal Marines in 1986 after graduating from Cambridge.
Earlier in the year, the Prince had asked West End supremos Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice to write a musical to celebrate the Queen’s 60th birthday.
The resulting show, called Cricket, made its one-off appearance at Windsor Castle with a cast that included glam rockers Alvin Stardust and Chariots Of Fire star Ian Charleson, and Edward as the ‘gallant last batsman’.
The theater enthusiast Edward felt dizzy.
In January 1987, four months after beginning his Marine training, he announced that he was leaving the military.
The Queen was “angry” but Edward had fallen in love with showbiz and wanted to be a producer.
In mid-1987, the Queen was so supportive of his new career that she sided with one of the worst ideas ever hatched: a television extravaganza known as It’s A Royal Knockout.
He’s not always a little sunshine.
Queen Elizabeth the second
One of the Queen’s friends later admitted: “It was a terrible mistake. She was against it. But she couldn’t say no to Edward.”
Filmed at Alton Towers, the BBC show featured Edward, Andrew, Anne and Andrew’s new wife Sarah Ferguson in Tudor costumes cheering on their teams of celebrities in slapstick games.
Tom Jones threw fake ham at Toyah Willcox; Pamela Stephenson tackled Cliff Richard while disguised as a giant leek; and Chris de Burgh climbed a maiden’s tower in soaking wet satin tights.
It was a PR disaster, and even on that day, only the Duchess of York seemed to be having fun.
She had married Andrew the year before and her cheerfulness pleased the Queen best about her, especially after dealing with the overwrought Diana.
A friend said years later, “She liked the way she sat with her legs apart and cracked jokes.”
The relationship ended in divorce in 1996. Five years later, Andrew left the Navy and became a British trade ambassador.
But he left the role in 2011 after it was revealed he had maintained his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein after the US financier was convicted of child sex abuse.
Over the next few years, Andrew was himself accused of having sex with a 17-year-old girl allegedly trafficked by Epstein, and in November 2019 he resigned from royal duties.
The move followed a Newsnight interview involving a car accident, and courtiers blamed the Queen for failing to override his decision to go on TV.
Once again she hadn’t been able to say no to one of her sons.
In 2022, as the civil suit over Andrew’s alleged sexual misconduct continued, his military titles and royal patronage were returned to the Queen and it was announced that he would no longer be known as HRH.
His disgrace was particularly painful, as the son who most resembled him had become consort when the Duke of Edinburgh’s health began to accompany the Queen on betrothals.
Friends described the Queen as “heartbroken” at losing him publicly from her side.
But privately he remained a favourite.
A staffer recalled: “Whenever she heard that Andrew was alone at Buckingham Palace, she would send him a handwritten note and he would put on a suit to go upstairs and see her.
“He greeted her with a bow, kissed her hand and both cheeks. It’s a little ritual that she loves.”
She also loved the happy family atmosphere that his daughters Beatrice and Eugenie brought to the Royal Lodge in Windsor, where she had spent much of her childhood.
She even had Beatrice redecorate her beloved childhood home Wendy.
But it was the youngest son, Edward, who gave the Queen the most important gift of her last years: the friendship of Sophie, Countess of Wessex. He married the head of PR in 1999.
Kind, warm and easy-going, Sophie became one of Her Majesty’s closest confidants.
The Queen described her as: “The perfect queen.”
Sophie even convinced Her Majesty to sit down with herself, Edward and children Louise and James to watch TV series The Crown, though the Queen kept interrupting to complain about what went wrong on the show.
After the Duke’s death, they became even closer when the Countess remarked, “I think it must be a pretty lonely place to be the Queen.”
As for Edward, Prince Philip, with the Queen’s blessing, asked if he would accept the title of Duke of Edinburgh after he and the Queen died.
It was a title Andrew should have embraced long ago.
And for the Queen, it was the greatest honor she could ever bestow.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6241852/the-queen-heartbroken-losing-favourite-prince-andrew/ How the Queen was “heartbroken” to lose favorite Prince Andrew from her side in public