How Charles felt the Queen was a ‘cold and distant’ mother – but she didn’t want to ‘burden’ him with duties as a boy

THE third season of The Crown shows the Queen’s bond with Prince Philip as strengthening over time.

However, the same can’t be said of her relationship with eldest son Charles. 

In episode six, a young Charles even moans to Anne that their mum is “vile and cold” after she sends him from Cambridge Uni to spend nine weeks at Aberystwyth Uni to learn Welsh for a speech.

The Netflix hit series hints that the real life bond between the monarch and her son has fractures – and a royal source claims this portrayal may not be entirely fictional. 

Speaking to Fabulous Digital, the source said: “The relationship between the Queen and Prince Charles has always been complicated, even as a bond between a mother and her eldest son, let alone as a complex entanglement of expectations and shared history between a monarch and her heir.

“In private Charles has often accused his mother of being cold, distant, or unavailable (the Queen spent a large amount of his early childhood travelling abroad).”


Charles inflamed this stinging criticism of his mother being a remote figure in a 1994 authorised biography of the prince by Jonathan Dimbleby.

He bitterly recalled a childhood during which the nursery staff, not his “emotionally reserved” parents, were the people who “taught him to play, witnessed his first steps, punished and rewarded him, helped him put his first thoughts into words”.

These thoughts were echoed by a lady-in-waiting in a 2002 biography marking the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. 

The anonymous staff member remarked of the monarch: “It has always been dogs and horses first, even before the children.”



The Queen is said to have been “wounded” by the critical observations, and any suggestion of Her Majesty being emotionally distant has been labelled as “unfair” by her close friend and cousin, Margaret Rhodes. 

Margaret, who has since passed away, previously spoke about how the Queen was frequently forced to be away as monarch. 

Margaret explained: “People simply don't understand — it's much better for small children to be left at home in a familiar environment rather than drag them halfway round the world.

“Why burden the children with such discomfort? Isn't it better to leave them with a nice nanny in a comfortable home rather than traipse them all over the world?”


She added that it was impossible to overstate just how important family is to the Queen.

Margaret said: “She always talks quite a lot about her children and worries about them like any other mother.”

Despite Margaret labelling the Queen leaving Charles at home during tours as “common sense”, the act has been unfavourably compared to Princess Diana taking a nine-month-old William to Australia and New Zealand during a tour with Charles.

Margaret said that the reason the Queen was away so much in the early years of her reign was down to a deep-seated need to overlook nothing in fulfilling her duty. 

She said: “I think she did it with such dedication because she wanted to make her father proud of her.”


The Queen’s cousin added of the royal family: “They are not arms out and cuddly people, really.

"They are not lovey-dovey. 

“But they mind a lot about each other, even if they don't show it. The thing is, they've been brought up not to show publicly what they're feeling.

“The Queen deeply loves Charles. It's just that they have a different outlook and sometimes they don't agree. 

“He is a glass half-empty person, while she is a half-full one.”


Margaret claimed that the Queen and Charles haven’t seen much of each other over the years, although this seems to have increased in his preparation to take the throne. 

She added: “The thing is, they don't see enough of each other. They really only meet at Christmas and at Easter, and up in Scotland in the summer.”

A former member of the royal household added: “The Queen is a good mother, but the life she has had to lead has meant she couldn't be quite the mother she wanted to be. 

"I remember when Charles and Anne were quite small and the Queen would take them away to Balmoral and she would get them to make their own beds and help with the washing up. 

“She cooked the supper — they loved bangers and hot spuds.

“These were magical times, full of fun and love. She was much closer to the children than Charles gives her credit for. 

“True, she didn't run to the children and sweep them up as Diana did, but they were different times.”

Buckingham Palace has been contacted but said they don't comment on The Crown and its portrayals.

The Queen's communications secretary, Donal McCabe, told the Guardian: "We appreciate that readers may enjoy this fictionalised interpretation of historical events but they should do so knowing that the royal household is not complicit in interpretations made by the programme.

"The royal household has never agreed to vet or approve content, has not asked to know what topics will be included, and would never express a view as to the programme’s accuracy."

We shared how Prince Charles ‘plans to boot several royals out the Royal Family when he becomes King’ in wake of Prince Andrew scandal.

And Charles has been slammed for ‘plans to turn Buckingham Palace into Madame Tussauds-style tourist attraction’.

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