According to “Secrets of Prince Andrew,” Queen Elizabeth II’s second son was especially doted upon throughout his childhood, enjoying freedoms that his elder siblings, Charles and Anne, weren’t afforded. Some royal watchers put this down to the fact that the elder two were born before Elizabeth’s sudden ascension to the throne following the unexpected death of her father in 1952. As such, the queen was often a hands-off mother to them as she learned to adapt to the demands of wearing the British crown.
In contrast, Andrew, who was born 10 years after Anne in 1960, reportedly received a far greater share of his mother’s attention and affection than his elder siblings as she grew used to the role. “Secrets of Prince Andrew” shows that the prince was somewhat spoiled and received luxury gifts, including a child-size James Bond car that was specially made for him. He was also loud and boisterous and had a penchant for playing pranks on the royal staff, which would have been unthinkable for Charles and Anne. But while not being the direct heir seemingly gives royals greater license to be themselves and enjoy greater freedom in their personal lives, the experience of being a “spare” — whose connection to the crown gradually diminishes — has been described as being potentially mentally damaging.