Prince Charles and his younger brother Prince Andrew have never got on very well.
As children, the two were distant primarily due to their age differences (Andrew is 11 years Charles’s junior, and Charles was at boarding school from the age of 8) but as the years have gone on, that separation has been replaced by a jealousy on Andrew’s part.
He is covetous of both Charles’s destiny and the wealth he derives from the Duchy of Cornwall.
Charles, meanwhile, experiences impotent despair as every new embarrassing antic of Andrew’s is gleefully revealed by the press.
There, is needless to say, a good deal of anger and resentment on both sides.
They have never been the kinds of brothers who pick up the phone for a gossip, but the two have barely spoken since Charles decreed that Andrew and his family would not be present on the Buckingham Palace balcony after the Queen’s diamond jubilee.
Andrew took to criticizing his brother quite openly among friends, courtiers and family after the balcony incident, but over the past year Andrew appeared to have at least, however reluctantly, accepted his family’s fate as either private citizens or second-rank ribbon cutters.
Now, however, the sibling rivalry over Prince Charles’s ruthless ‘slimming down’ of the monarchy has flared up again, after Andrew apparently wrote an unprecedented letter to the Queen demanding that his children, Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, whom he pointedly refers to as ‘blood princesses’, should no longer be excluded from royal duties and funding.
According to a report by the reliable royal reporter Camilla Tominey, Andrew, 56, “wrote to his mother demanding that Beatrice and Eugenie carry out full-time royal duties supported by the Sovereign Grant—the public purse which funds the Royals’ work.”
According to Tominey’s report in the Sunday Express, Andrew tore up a temperate draft note written by his private secretary Amanda Thirsk, in favor of his own letter which volubly “complained that the princesses were in danger of being overshadowed by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry” and that Beatrice and Eugenie “deserve proper royal roles like their cousins, along with the same standard of accommodation at Kensington Palace.”
Andrew’s increasing anxiety over the issue is understood to be being fueled by the Monarch’s advancing years. He knows full well that the moment we enter the Caroline age, the Yorks (and the Wessexes, come to that) will be cut off entirely from public royal life by Charles, who considers both a liability.
Andrew does accept that his many errors of judgment and dodgy business deals over the years mean he will never play a significant role in public life again, but he is unwilling to see his daughters forced to atone for his sins.
And the issue of what to do with Eugenie and Bea has never been more pressing; Beatrice is unemployed and, allegedly, “pursuing her entrepreneurial ambitions.”
She broke up with her long-term, boyfriend Dave Clark, who works for Uber, over the summer.
Eugenie has been given the lease on a cottage at Kensington Palace, which is currently undergoing renovation, and it is this arrangement that may have inspired Andrew to feel the wind in his sails, and push for some formal arrangement from his mother before she dies.
Friends of the royals say Andrew has always been the queen’s favorite child. “No matter what Andrew did, he would always be forgiven,” one source previously told the Daily Beast.
But in going over Charles’s head on this matter, he has played a dismal hand.
The queen had little choice but to share the letter with Charles, who promptly organized, according to Tominey, for a member of the Government “to break it to his younger brother that while he will continue to play a formal role in the Royal Family in the future, his daughters will not.”