Inside Prince Andrew's Obsession With His 72 Teddy Bears

Over the years, Prince Andrew, Duke of York has been known for living an eccentric and lavish lifestyle. With access to plenty of funds and storage space, Queen Elizabeth II's third child has demonstrated a passion for collecting. According to The U.S. Sun, the Duke of York has collected a number of luxury cars and SUVs over the years, including a Range Rover hybrid and a Bentley Flying Spur. While King Charles III's Aston Martin runs on wine and cheese (via The Guardian), Andrew's fleet is decidedly less eco-conscious. On a 2021 vacation to Balmoral, the duke traveled with three SUVs, per Daily Mail.

Besides cars, Andrew is also an enthusiastic collector of stuffed toys. In 2010, the prince told the Daily Beast, "I've always collected teddy bears. Everywhere I went in the Navy I used to buy a little teddy bear, so I've got a collection from all over the world of one sort or another." According to Woman & Home, Andrew also has a hippo and panther as non-bear additions in his collection.

While Charles has come under scrutiny for his enduring connection to a cherished childhood teddy, Prince Andrew has upped the ante with stories surrounding his collection of 72 bears and the specific rules surrounding them.

Prince Andrew's bears have precise locations

Former royal protection officer Paul Page took the opportunity to lift the lid on Prince Andrew's behavior, including his rigid requirements for the bear collection. Page worked for the royals for six years, from 1998 to 2004, per Express. Speaking to UNILAD's LADbible TV, Page recalled seeing Prince Andrew's 72 teddy bears displayed on his bed. "My inspector showed me a laminated card which is in the side drawer of one of the bedroom cabinets of a picture of these teddy bears all in situ," Page said. "'The maids have to put them back exactly like it's in that picture,' [his inspector] said. If they don't, [Andrew] shouts and screams."

Charlotte Briggs, Andrew's former maid, confirmed Page's story. Briggs described arranging the collection according to size on the bed during the day and then moving it to precise locations around the bedroom at night. "They each had a set place," she told The Sun. "We had to stack the smaller ones in an unused fireplace, again in size order, to make them look pretty." The Duke of York's two favorite bears had their own bedside thrones. The laminated sheet Page mentioned detailed the exact placement of five toys the duke slept with at night, along with three pillows and two throw blankets. Briggs also confirmed Page's reports of ill-treatment. "Andrew was extremely demanding. Everything had to be immaculate and he threw his weight around. I often tried to hide," she told The Sun.

Andrew's collection has also been a source of mirth

In 1990, royal author Ingrid Seward got a glimpse of Prince Andrew, Duke of York's extensive teddy collection while visiting Sarah Ferguson at Buckingham Palace. "[Fergie] showed me to their bedroom and there were around a dozen teddy bears on the marital bed," Seward told The U.S. Sun. "I said to her, 'Oh Fergie, you haven't still got your old teddies have you?' And she said, 'No they are all Andrew's.' We found it very funny and fell about laughing." According to the Daily Beast, on Andrew and Fergie's wedding day, Prince Edward gave the couple an oversized teddy to ride in their carriage.

Seward wasn't the only one who got a laugh from the prince's bears. "It's hilarious a Prince of England would want his teddies on his bed," said a palace insider, per "You can imagine him crying, 'Mummy, they haven't put the hippos on my bed!' to the Queen if anyone got it wrong."

Precise arrangements aside, one former staffer recalled a game Andrew played that involved placing a teddy in unusual places. According to former royal housekeeper, Janette McGowan, the duke would have a maid hide one of his bears for him to find later. "She would hide one of the teddy bears somewhere unexpected, like the bathroom cabinet," McGowan told The U.S.Sun. "It was a bit odd but it was very tongue in cheek. He used to find it very funny."

Journalists have reacted with joy and dismay at Andrew's teddy collection

Journalist Elizabeth Day had a personal experience with Prince Andrew's collection. As reported by the Daily Mail in 2019, Day recalled interviewing the Duke of York 10 years earlier. While waiting for Andrew to arrive, Day noticed a large bear sitting in the hallway, which Andrew confirmed was a gift from his ex-wife. "It was weird," Day wrote, although she mused, "I suppose the English upper classes have a long history with teddy bears used as transitional objects to express emotions they might feel uncomfortable with. I wondered if this was someone who had never really grown up because he had never had to."

In contrast, writing in The Telegraph, Helen Kirwan-Taylor referred to the teddies as "good news about Prince Andrew." A fellow stuffed toy enthusiast (although she has one — not 72), Kirwan-Taylor cited psychiatrist Stuart Brown's comments on the importance of play for people of all ages. "Playing with teddies as an adult is neotenous, meaning 'extending youth,'" Brown wrote in his book "Play." However, Kirwan-Taylor did have a few words of advice for Andrew. "I can completely understand how one would have strict ideas of how and where teddy sleeps, but I'm afraid shouting at maids when they're not lined up is not neotenous," she wrote. "Prince Andrew would do better to play with his teddies than shout at staff: It might offer the mental relief he clearly needs."