Prince Charles & Prince Andrew Reportedly Have Very Different Parenting Styles
Keeping up an air of mystery has long been a tactic used by the royal family. Until the Queen's grandchildren decided to open up about their relatives, that is. In recent years, Harry, William, Eugenie, and Beatrice have all spoken openly about their parents, meaning the public no longer have to wonder what kind of dads Prince Charles and Prince Andrew are.
When talking about Princes William and Harry, it's hard to forget the influence of Princess Diana. Harry has previously praised his mother for showing him what an "ordinary life" looked like. "Thank goodness I'm not completely cut off from reality," he told Newsweek in 2017.
This admission has led people to believe that Charles was more of a hands-off dad, having less of an impact on his sons overall. Although there isn't any hard evidence to back this up, the fact that Harry revealed he was unhappy at having to walk behind his mum's coffin in 1997 seems to suggest there has previously been some tension in the father-son relationship. "I don't think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances," Harry told Newsweek in the same interview.
William and Harry have also recently spoken about suffering from grief after Princess Diana was tragically killed in a car crash more than 20 years ago. In a BBC documentary, Harry said Charles "was there for us — he was the one out of two left, and he tried to do his best and to make sure that we were protected and looked after. But he was going through the same grieving process as well."
Some royal fans took this as a dig at Charles with people suggesting that the future king should have arranged for his sons to see a therapist. A source claimed to the Daily Beast that this lack of action "might seem odd today. But Charles is undoubtedly self-pitying and self-centred and thought of his own troubles first."
Royal biographer Penny Junor described William and Harry's relationship with their dad as "slightly tricky." Speaking to the Daily Beast, she added: "Charles has always been quite a remote figure, he has always been consumed by work. He made sure they were well looked after, but they are not as close as they might have been." However, Clarence House took the rare step of issuing a statement in response to a Daily Beast report that the relationship between father and sons was strained, calling it "complete fiction."
As the siblings have gotten older, they have become more effusive in their words about their father. In a BBC Radio 4 interview, Charles said he was "very proud" of Harry, affectionately calling him things like "darling boy" and "my dear boy." In addition, the reported closeness of Prince Charles and Meghan Markle will surely have had an impact on that relationship too, with Prince Harry paying tribute to his father at the latter's 70th birthday event at Buckingham Palace. Citing his father's "selfless drive to affect change," Harry said it was something "William and I draw inspiration from every day." Strangely, little is reported about the relationship between Charles and William — although according to the Daily Mail, Charles "adores" his grandchildren.
When it comes to Prince Andrew and his daughters, even less is known. As that side of the family are further down the succession, they seem to be able to live life more privately. If Eugenie's Instagrams wishing her dad a happy Father's Day and celebrating his military appointment are anything to go by, the sisters are close to their dad.
Eugenie described Andrew as "the rock" of the family in an interview with Harper's Bazaar, saying that she couldn't live without her family. Even though Andrew and Sarah Ferguson — the sisters' mother — have divorced, the entire family still makes a point of meeting every two weeks.
"A table can't stand on three legs, really, so you have the Duke and I, and the two girls," Ferguson told Hello! "We're a family unit and we lead by example. We support each other emotionally, and we support each other health wise. At least every two weeks we sit down together and communicate, the four of us."
And there perhaps lies a big difference between Charles and Andrew. While the latter seems more close in a day to day relationship with his children, Charles is perhaps more of a closed book. Maybe his busy schedule (which often involves taking on some of the Queen's duties) has something to do with it, and the pressure of ascending to the throne. Either way, it seems there's no such thing as a stereotypical royal.