PRINCE EDWARD did not follow the generations-long tradition of military service that Prince Charles and Prince Andrew did – and Princess Anne and the Queen Mother were less than happy with the Earl of Wessex’s decision.
Queen Elizabeth II has three sons – Prince Charles, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. Whereas Charles and Andrew have followed the generations-long royal tradition of serving in the Royal Navy, and Prince William and Prince Harry have had military careers of their own too, Prince Edward stands out as not following in the footsteps of that royal tradition. Indeed, Edward’s decision left Princess Anne and the Queen Mother shocked and “disappointed” in the Queen’s youngest son.
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Prince Edward joined the Royal Marines after leaving Cambridge University but decided to leave after three months of training.
The decision came as a shock to the Royal Family, as biographer Ingrid Seward explains.
Speaking on Channel 5 documentary “Royal Scandals”, Ms Seward said: ”Prince Edward was home for the weekend and he told his family that he was going to quit the Marines.
“They said, ‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ and they talked him round.”
Prince Edward and Queen Elizabeth II She continued: “He said ‘Oh ok, I’ll stay’ and he drove back to his base camp the next morning and handed in his resignation.”
Ms Seward added: “Princess Anne was driving back to Gloucestershire and nearly put her car in a ditch when she heard on the radio that Edward had resigned.”
The Daily Mail’s Richard Kay said: “Some members of the Royal Family felt that he’d let the side down.
“The Queen Mother was one. [She] felt disappointed in her grandson’s behaviour.”
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Edward’s lack of a military career is something that often causes confusion at the annual Trooping the Colour parade, as Edward appears alongside his brothers in full military uniform.
However, he does in fact hold eight military appointments, including Royal Honorary Colonel of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry and The London Regiment.
For Trooping the Colour, Edward wears the uniform of The London Scottish, a company of the London Regiment, and eight medals, many of which are commemorative.
Meanwhile his brothers, Princess Anne and Prince William all ride in the parade as they are colonels of the Household Troops.
Prince Edward, Sophie Countess of Wessex and family at Trooping the Colour
Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, Princess Anne, Prince William
The Prince of Wales is Colonel of the Welsh Guards, the Princess Royal is Colonel of the Blues and Royals, the Duke of Cambridge is Colonel of the Irish Guards and Duke of York is Colonel of the Grenadier Guards.
After leaving the Royal Marines, Edward then embarked upon a TV production career, however he continued to get into some scrapes.
The infamous “It’s a Royal Knockout” debacle of 1987 is still remembered, and was said to have “incensed” the Queen Mother.
Edward also landed himself in hot water with an “apoplectic” Prince Charles when his TV company broke an embargo on filming Prince William at the University of St Andrews.
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Katie Nicholl, in her 2010 book “William and Harry”, writes: “While the Palace would only say that it was ‘disappointed’ by the unfortunate episode, Prince Charles was said to be apoplectic.”
She adds: “His angry call to his youngest brother at Bagshot Park could apparently be heard in the room adjacent to his study at St James’s Palace.”
Edward stepped down from the company in 2002 and it eventually folded in 2009.
Meanwhile, Prince Andrew spent 30 years in the Royal Navy, although his active military service in the Falklands conflict in 1982 is said to have proved a sore point with his brother Prince Charles.
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Charles himself served in the Royal Navy from 1971 to 1976, and although he did not see active duty he was remembered with “great affection” by his fellow servicemen.
Charles and Andrew’s sibling rivalry was exacerbated as they faced constant comparisons with each other in their younger days.
Andrew particularly disliked being called “Action Man 2”, in comparison with his brother, biographer Andrew Morton writes.
The Prince of Wales and Duke of York were at the centre of royal popularity when they married Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson respectively in their spectacular royal weddings.
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However, by the same token they also faced massive upheavals in popularity when both of their marriages started to unravel, with both couples separating in 1992 and divorcing in 1996.
Meanwhile, Edward and the Queen consciously learned from the mistakes of the past and slowly and carefully introduced his partner, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, into royal life.
In more recent years, many have been wondering how the royal brothers’ relationship will fare when Charles comes to reign.
When Andrew, Edward and their families were excluded from the world-famous Buckingham Palace balcony appearances for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations of 2012, many royal watchers felt that this was an expression of Charles’ vision for the future of the monarchy.
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Katie Nicholl, in her 2017 book “Harry: Life, Loss and Love”, explains: “It is no secret that Charles wants a more streamlined Royal Family when he comes to reign.”
“One family member told me that such a thing would never have been allowed to happen had the Duke of Edinburgh been there.”
Ms Nicholl continues: “It did cause some ill-feeling among some members of the extended family, including Prince Andrew, who was particularly upset not to have been included.”
Source: EXPRESS CO UK