Queen Elizabeth II: Troubles, Conflicts and Family Life
As queen, Elizabeth II’s family life was far from traditional – she was often away for long periods of time, was often busy with work, and sometimes had a complicated relationship with her four children.
She was 22 and still a princess when her eldest son and heir apparent, Charles, was born, and 24 when Princess Anne arrived.
But she sometimes left them for months to join her husband Prince Philip, a naval officer stationed in Malta, or to go on tour with him abroad.
Young children stayed home with their nannies and governesses, as she had done as a child in the late 1920s and 1930s.
Charles’ nanny was “very bossy”, said the new king’s biographer, royal author Penny Junor.
“Elizabeth was a young, new mother and this very experienced nanny took over… she waited for the nanny to bring Charles to her for half an hour at tea time or whatever,” she said. she declared.
“I’m sure she loved her family. But I don’t think she was demonstrative in her affection.”
Old family photos and videos show Elizabeth smiling, posing with Charles in his pram, or with family waving a rattle to Prince Andrew, who was born when Charles was 11.
But there’s little to hide what appears to be a rigid formality.
Detached’ not ‘indifferent’
When five-year-old Charles saw his parents for the first time in months after returning from a months-long tour of the Commonwealth, she reached out to him.
In a later authorized biography, Charles would say that his mother was “not so much indifferent as detached”.
“If he had been a horse or a dog, they would have been much closer,” Junor added of Charles, who was described as a sensitive and clumsy child.
In contrast, Elizabeth, known for her love of horses and corgis, was closer to her daughter, Anne, who became a skilled rider, allowing the couple to share their passion.
Strict royal protocol also did nothing to tighten ties: the Queen’s children and grandchildren had to bow or curtsy to her, even behind closed doors.
To complicate matters further, Charles’ lifelong role as heir made his future entirely dependent on the death of his mother.
“Charles always adored his mother and put her on a pedestal a bit. It’s not a mother-son relationship. It’s more of a monarch thing,” Junor said.
With Andrew and Edward, who were born when she was 33 and 37, the Queen had a more relaxed relationship.
All four children were sent to boarding school at an early age.
Splits and remarriage
Family life provided the biggest shocks during his record reign.
In 1992 Anne divorced her husband Mark Phillips, Charles separated from Diana and Andrew separated from Sarah Ferguson.
Compounded by a major fire at her favorite home in Windsor Castle in west London, the Queen has called the year her “annus horribilis”.
After Diana’s death in 1997, the Queen initially dismissed the idea that Charles would marry his longtime mistress Camilla Parker Bowles.
She did not attend their civil wedding in Windsor in 2005 but hosted a reception at the castle.
Asked about Charles’ criticism of their mother, Anne said: “I don’t think any of us thought for a second that she didn’t care about us in exactly the same way. than any other mother.
“I just think it’s extraordinary that anyone could interpret that might not be true,” she told the BBC.
Separations and divorces were not the end of family conflict.
In 2019, Andrew – apparently his favorite – was forced to step back from frontline royal duties due to his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The following year, grandson Harry and his wife Meghan quit royal life and moved to the United States, from where they criticized the family, including accusing some members of racism.
Elizabeth has only met the couple’s daughter, Lilibet, once. She was born in June 2021 and is named after her childhood nickname.
Eight times a grandmother and with 12 great-grandchildren, the Queen enjoyed family dinners and held annual Christmas gatherings at her Sandringham estate.
Although she slowed down after a health scare in October 2021, she attended the baptism of two of her great-grandchildren in Windsor.
Her grandson William, whom she grew closer to after Diana’s death, paid her a heartfelt tribute in a recent biography.
“The Queen’s kindness and sense of humor, her innate sense of calm and perspective, and her love of family and home are all attributes I experience first hand,” he said. -he writes.
“I am privileged to have the Queen as a role model for a life of service to the public.” -AFP