Queen Elizabeth and the late Prince Philip share four children: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.
The Queen rarely speaks publicly about her family, though in her 1972 wedding anniversary speech, she said, “If I am asked what I think about family life after 25 years of marriage, I can answer with equal simplicity and conviction, I am for it.” From duty-focused heir apparent Charles to hard-working Princess Anne, “sensitive” Edward and scandal-ridden Andrew, get to know all four of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s adult children.
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Born in Buckingham Palace on Nov. 14, 1948, Prince Charles is the Queen and Prince Philip’s eldest son and the heir to the British throne. When he was 9 years old, Prince Charles was named Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester. Prince Charles studied archaeology, anthropology and history at Trinity College, University of Cambridge, becoming the first royal heir to earn a university degree. He then served in the British Royal Navy in his 20s, like his father before him, and later became a helicopter pilot. He retired from military service in 1976 as commander of the H.M.S. Bronington and later founded the charity The Prince’s Trust.
He began his relationship with Diana Spencer in the summer of 1980, and in February 1981, the pair became engaged. They wed on July 29, 1981, and welcomed their first son, Prince William, the following year. In 1984, Prince Charles and Princess Diana welcomed their second son, Prince Harry. Tim Graham Photo Library Both Charles and Diana admitted to infidelity in their marriage and the couple announced their separation in 1992 and finalized their divorce in August 1996. Diana tragically died in a car crash just one year later.
The royal then quietly dated Camilla Parker Bowles, whom he dated prior to marrying Diana, and they eventually wed on April 9, 2005. Prince Charles is a dedicated philanthropist with a keen focus on environmentalism and the fight against global climate change, with his wife Camilla calling him a “workaholic.” In his free time, he enjoys painting. Charles also has five grandchildren: Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, by William and Kate Middleton, and Archie and Lilibet, by Harry and Meghan Markle.
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On May 10, 2022, Prince Charles delivered the speech at the State Opening of Parliament for the first time on behalf of his mother, who could not attend. He has acknowledged his position as future king in jest, telling an audience that when he visited a T.K. Maxx, “I remember there were an enormous number of people who were trying to get in, as they were waiting for me to get out! Story of my life.” Chris Jackson – WPA Pool/Getty Princess Anne was born on Aug. 15, 1950, in London. Prince Philip once famously said of his only daughter, an avid equestrian, “If it doesn’t fart or eat hay, she isn’t interested.” That lack of frivolity also extends to her fashion sense: Princess Anne is also known for recycling her wardrobe, sometimes wearing the same outfits more than 30 years apart.
As a display of just how small the royal circles are, Princess Anne dated Andrew Parker Bowles in 1970 before he married his first wife, Camilla. In 1973, Princess Anne married Olympic gold medalist Captain Mark Phillips — just four months after her split from Parker Bowles, with whom she remains friends today. On March 20, 1974, Princess Anne was the target of a kidnapping plot. Would-be kidnapper Ian Ball swerved in front of Princess Anne’s chauffeured Rolls Royce and fired six shots, injuring four people. Ball tried to get the princess to get out of the car, to which witnesses said she replied, “Not bloody likely!”
In 1978, Princess Anne recalled the events in a televised interview and downplayed her own bravery with wry humor. “He opened the door, and we had a sort of ‘discussion’ about where or where not we were going to go,” she said of Ball. “I said I didn’t think I wanted to go. I was scrupulously polite because I thought it was silly to be too rude at that stage.” Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Princess Anne became the first British royal to ever become an Olympian, competing in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games as an equestrian. She placed 24th overall, while Britain came in 9th place in the Games.
Anne and her first husband welcomed son Peter in 1977 — making her the first royal to give birth in a hospital — and daughter Zara in 1981 and opted not to give her children royal titles. The princess and Phillips separated in 1989 and divorced in April 1992 following infidelity on both sides. In December of that year, Princess Anne married Sir Timothy Laurence, with whom she’d had an affair during her first marriage. The Queen’s daughter remains one of the busiest royals, having attended over 500 events in 2018 alone. Anne has joked that she is the “boring old fuddy-duddy at the back saying, ‘Don’t forget the basics,’ ” to the next generation of royals.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s third child and second son, Prince Andrew, was born on Feb. 19, 1960. Like his brother Charles, Prince Andrew served in the British Royal Navy after completing his education and was eventually awarded Royal Air Force Wings by his father, Prince Philip. In 1986, Prince Andrew married Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson and the Queen named him Duke of York. They welcomed daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie before separating in 1992 and divorcing in 1996, though they remain close friends and still live together.