Why new baby needs to beware the curse of Prince Andrew to avoid going off the rails
Andrew, the first child to be born to a reigning British monarch in 103 years, overtook his elder sister Princess Anne to be second in line to the throne after Prince Charles.
He should have been a promising little boy and indeed he was. But after a distinguished career in the Royal Navy, serving with distinction in the Falklands War, his life went off track and he appeared to have little purpose.
Sandwiched between a bright and articulate sister and a brother who was heir to the throne, he searched for a role.
A failed marriage and a failed career as a special envoy for overseas trade did little to help him and the question on the lips of his parents and the royal household was — what are we to do with Andrew?
It is hoped that the latest arrival for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will not fall into the third child trap.
By the time couples have had their third child, they are far more attuned to parenthood.
They worry less, pay less attention to minor ailments and generally allow the child to grow at its own pace without pressure, rather than fussing about every milestone.
But there is a danger of allowing too much leeway.
Third children are generally more attention seeking, as was the case with Andrew, naughtier because they can get away with it, as was the case with Andrew, and just a little spoilt, as was the case with Andrew.
He would kick the corgis, tease the guardsmen outside Buckingham Palace and make chaos in the nursery — just because he could.
Palace staff regarded him as an unholy nuisance. He had an arrogant disregard for them and no effort by his nanny Mabel could modify his attitude.
He used to thump the footmen from behind with a clenched fist and run along the corridor shouting, “Get me!” He took a little more notice of his mother, who would slap him around the back of his legs, reducing him to tears and yells of hurt pride.
Andrew was also charming and could make everyone laugh and, despite his difficult temperament, was able to lord it as second in line until the birth of Prince William in 1982.
He had enjoyed his status for many years and just after his 21st birthday he was pushed down to third in line.
Two years later with the birth of Prince Harry, he was fourth in line.
It would be unfair to judge the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s new-born boy by the life of Prince Andrew, but the dangers of the third child syndrome are all too obvious to see.
Of course, Catherine does not have the responsibility of being Queen but she does have a busy life and has to a certain extent to rely on other people to help bring up her three children.
Soon the new baby Cambridge will be surrounded by reminders of who he is.
Crowds will cheer him, he will have his photograph on the front of every paper and he will always be privileged.
A protection officer will accompany him everywhere and it will take all the Duchess’s mothering skills to keep his little feet on the ground.
He will also be the first male child born to an heir to the throne not to push his sister out of second place, since the rules of inheritance have been changed.
The world is different to when Prince Andrew was growing up and hopefully the new royal will have a more defined path to follow and will therefore be able to overcome any difficulties his privileged birth might bring him.
If he is strong like his mother and determined like his father, he will be able to judge the world for what it is and realise to get on he has to just fit in, which I am certain he will.
- INGRID Seward is Editor in Chief of Majesty magazine and author of My Husband and I, the story of the Queen and Prince Philip’s 70-year marriage.
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