“There’s a 10-year age gap between Charles and Anne and the younger two brothers. It didn’t take long for Charles to loathe Andrew and Edward, but for different reasons,” begins a palace insider.
Indeed, a feud between Charles and younger brother Andrew, has been simmering along for years.
“Andrew loved reminding Charles he would make a better king, and Charles has spent every second of his life trying to stamp on his ego – more recently cutting Andrew and his daughter [princesses Beatrice and Eugenie] from senior royal status,” says a source, though the wounds run a lot deeper than that, according to palace insiders with the feud said to have begun in childhood.
When Prince Andrew was born in 1960, he was the first child born to a reigning sovereign since 1857, and Charles was already 11 years old, while Anne was nine, and their childhoods could not have been more different. Charles and Anne were raised by nannies, but when Andrew came along the Queen put motherhood before duty. She would spend hours with her son and cutting engagements short to be with him. The jealousy this created would set them up for a life of tension.
In 1996, according to biographer Tom Bower, the Prince of Wales, became suspicious that his younger brothers were “plotting his downfall” because of his terrible public popularity in the wake of the end of his marriage.
Diana, Princess of Wales, also told her biographer Andrew Morton: “The big brother (Charles) was very jealous of (Andrew going to the Falklands War) because he wanted to go out and do something.”
WATCH: Prince Charles refuses to answer questions about Prince Andrew (Article continues after video)
Another indication of the rift between the two men came in 2012 when Charles debuted his “slimmed down” version of the monarchy, leaving Andrew and his family out in the cold when it came to official events – with room only for those in the direct line of succession.
It was a move said to have left the younger sibling fuming. The decision made to strip Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie of their 24-hour royal protection also left the Duke “furious,” according to reports.
Charles is said to have played a large part in getting Andrew ousted from his duties for the recent scandal over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, and it has been reported in recent times that the two communicate via their private secretaries.
Then there is Charles’ beef with Edward -- also a constant.
“Edward did what Charles never could – wrap his parents around his finger. Edward got all the affection in the world from the Queen and Philip – something Charles always yearned for but never got,” says our source.
Indeed Charles is reportedly considering whether to break Philip’s promise to his youngest as he rethinks his own future, a source told The Sunday Times.
According to royal tradition, the title of the Duke of Edinburgh passed directly to Charles as eldest son following Philip's death in April.
But it's long been expected that the title would pass to Edward. Buckingham Palace announced in 1999 that Edward would take up the dukedom "in due course", with a blessing from the Queen and Philip himself.
“Now he’s seeing Edward becoming popular, and soon he is meant to inherit the Duke of Edinburgh as Prince Philip intended it, and Charles is trying to stop that,” says our source.
"The prince is the Duke of Edinburgh as it stands, and it is up to him what happens to the title. It will not go to Edward."
Not everyone is at war, of course. As the elder royals, Charles and Anne are very supportive of each other, and indeed always have been.
“Anne and Charles are much closer than you think – they were thick as thieves while they were trying to plot the downfall of the Parker-Bowleses so they could each have their desired spouse [Camilla for him, Andrew for her], and they’ve retained a bond from that,” says our source.
Both royals were dating a Parker-Bowles before that couple went on to wed each other – Anne went out with Andrew in 1970 and Charles and Camilla dated in 1972, finally marrying in 2005.
“It helps that Anne has never tried to usurp Charles – despite knowing that he was plagued with self-doubt about his role as future king when he was young,” adds our source.
“Anne always sides with Charles because she knows how damaged he is deep down. It’s all rather childish, but it all stems from their childhood rivalries.”
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