- Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip married in 1947, and have four children together.
- Prince Charles, the queen’s firstborn, is 16 years older than Prince Edward, the youngest. Charles is 72, and Edward is 55.
- Does Queen Elizabeth II really play favorites, as season 4 of The Crown purports? Here’s what we know.
Queen Elizabeth II is no longer the star of The Crown. Or rather—she’s not the only star. In season 4 of The Crown, her eldest son, Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor), shares the spotlight as he marries Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin), who would become a beloved global icon.
Though Charles is a focal point of the series, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s other three children make appearances, too. Princess Anne (Erin Doherty) furthers her equestrian career, and struggles in her marriage to Mark Philips. Prince Andrew, who stepped back from his royal duties in 2019 following a scandal, marries Sarah Ferguson. Prince Edward (Angus Imrie) is bullied at boarding school. Seeing her children’s issues, Elizabeth concludes they are all “lost…each in their own deserts.”
In one episode, Philip and Elizabeth discuss their favorite child candidly. Philip admits his is Anne. Elizabeth, eventually, concedes that she has a particular affection for Andrew, now 60. According to the BBC’s History Extra, royal experts have long believed that Andrew was, indeed, Elizabeth’s favorite. Articles about Andrew’s association with Jeffrey Epstein often mention his favorite status. However, Elizabeth has never addressed these rumors.
How much do you know about all four of Her Majesty’s kids, aside from what’s mentioned in The Crown? Here’s a brief primer on Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II’s children, Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward.
Charles, Prince of Wales, was born Charles Philip Arthur George on November 14, 1948. While his own children and three of his grandchildren were all born in the same hospital—the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital in London—Charles was born in Buckingham Palace.
According to biographer Sally Bedell Smith, while Elizabeth was “delighted” by her first baby, she was often absent when Charles was an infant, instead traveling to be with Prince Philip in Malta where he’d been posted for Royal Navy duty. Smith wrote, “Prince Philip scarcely knew his son for the first two years of the boy’s life, though on his return from overseas duty he did take the time to teach Charles to shoot and fish, and to swim in the Buckingham Palace pool.”
Prince Charles was four years old at the time of his mother’s 1953 coronation, and her royal commitments, including a six month Commonwealth tour, took her and Philip around the globe while Charles and his sister stayed at home with their caretakers. Historian Robert Lacy, who has served as an advisor for The Crown, told Town & Country that the Queen “had been brought up in that style herself, after all, with her parents leaving her at home and entrusting her entire schooling to a governess and home tutors.”
Most royal biographers paint the picture of a lonely childhood for the allegedly introverted Charles, followed by years abroad at Gordonstoun boarding school in Scotland. Charles would eventually become an avid polo player—he met his future second wife, Camilla Parker-Bowles, at a polo match. Charles’s departure for the Royal Navy reportedly ended their relationship, and they went on to marry other people: Charles’s relationship with his first wife, Lady Diana Spencer was (and still is), a subject of wide public fascination.