Was The Queen Really Involved In Her Children's Lives?

For 70 years, her main role was as queen of England and the Commonwealth, but Queen Elizabeth II's 73 year-old role as a mother is not often talked about. Following her death at the age of 96 on September 8, the queen's son Charles became king of England, with his wife Camilla took on the title of queen consort (via BBC).

The queen married her distant cousin Prince Philip in 1947 (via Insider), and their marriage was by all accounts a happy one until Prince Philip's death in 2021. She had four children with him over the span of 12 years, a reasonably large gap of time. Her first child Charles was born in 1948 when she was 22 years old, a year after she married Philip (via Independent). Her second child Anne was born in 1952, meaning that both Charles and Anne were toddlers when their mother was crowned queen in 1952 at the age of 25. However, Queen Elizabeth's royal duties did not stop her from wanting more children. In 1960, the queen gave birth to her third child Andrew, followed by her fourth and final child Edward in 1964. 

There has been speculation that Queen Elizabeth was cold towards her four children

Queen Elizabeth was a typical mother for the time period her children were born in, Page Six notes. Royal expert Robert Hardman gave his opinion on the queen's parenting style, calling her a "devoted" mother, but acknowledged that she did have an "old-fashioned" approach to raising her children. Though she was often away for weeks at a time, Hardman stresses that this would have been the case for many children and their parents in post-wartime Britain. 

Her daughter, Anne, Princess Royal, spoke about her relationship with her mother in a 2002 BBC interview, stating, "I simply don't believe that there is any evidence whatsoever to suggest that she wasn't caring." She went on to discuss her overall relationship with her family, saying, "I think we all enjoy each other's company." Moreover, The Independent recounts a touching story in which the queen interacted with Kate Winslet at Buckingham Palace. When asked about her career by the queen, Winslet replied that she enjoyed her work but her favorite job was being a mother, to which the queen replied, "Yes, it is the best job."

However, the newly-titled King Charles III may feel differently. As reported by Express, Jonathan Dimbleby, author of a 1994 authorized biography about Charles, called Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip "emotionally distant," referring to Philip specifically as having no time for his son's softer personality.