The Truth About Queen Elizabeth's Relationship With Prince Edward

Sixteen years younger than Prince Charles, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, is Queen Elizabeth's youngest son. As Oprah Daily reported, it's widely known that he'd always had a very close relationship with her. In fact, as his wife Sophie Rhys-Jones, Countess of Wessex, told Sky News, in 2016, the couple and their family saw the Queen almost every single weekend. "We do see quite a lot of her," said Sophie. "We're over there most weekend riding," she continued, adding "She's sees quite a lot of us." But have the Prince and his mother always been this close?

According to Ingrid Seward's book, "My Husband and I: The Inside Story Of 70 Years Of Royal Marriage," the birth of Prince Edward saw Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip break royal tradition by allowing the Duke of Edinburgh at the birth (via "The Duke of Edinburgh was actually holding his wife's hand as their youngest was born on March 10, 1964. The Queen, by then aged 37, had asked him to be there; she'd been keenly reading women's magazines that stressed the importance of involving fathers in childbirth and had become fascinated by the idea," wrote Seward.

Queen Elizabeth broke royal tradition during the birth of Prince Edward

This set the precedent for the type of relationship Prince Edward would have with both his parents. Unlike her relationship with Prince Charles and Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth seemingly integrated Edward into her role rather than leaving him with nannies. That made her much more involved with his life. "'Leave him with me, Mabel,' the Queen would say some mornings to the nanny," revealed Seward (via "He'd be left with his mother, playing on the floor of her study while she worked at her desk on her State papers." 

Even after Edward became an adult, his mother remained involved in his life. As a result, both Edward and his wife Sophie were believed to be two of the queen's most trusted members of the royal family. As a royal insider told Express, "Edward has moulded into a quiet and efficient figure who does not seek attention or acquire headlines. He and Sophie are liked for being dutiful and uncomplaining."

Queen Elizabeth was very close with Prince Edward's wife

Prince Edward married his wife Sophie Wessex in June 1999 after several years of dating. Sophie and Queen Elizabeth enjoyed a long and exceptionally close relationship, especially by royal standards. In 2016, the Daily Mail spoke to an unnamed royal aide who told the outlet that Sophie has managed to fill a void that was left when both Queen Elizabeth's sister and her mother died in 2002. The aide explained, "She talks to Sophie in the way she used to talk to Princess Margaret."

It seems that Queen Elizabeth in turn offered Sophie similar comfort. After Sophie's mother died in 2005, the queen made sure to invite Sophie's father to nearly every royal event, a move that isn't always afforded to the extended family of those who marry into the royal family. The Daily Mail also wrote that Sophie shared an interest in military history with Queen Elizabeth, and that the two could be found locked in conversation on the topic.

Body language experts described Prince Edward as Queen Elizabeth's precious boy

In 2018, Good Housekeeping spoke to Susan Constantine, body language expert and author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Reading Body Language," who analyzed the relationships between Queen Elizabeth and her children through the way they physically interacted with one another. Constantine was quick to point out that despite the monarch's royal demeanor, she loved being a mom. She said, "While Queen Elizabeth is groomed and trained in posture, you can still tell how much she adores her children."

When it came to Prince Edward, Constantine believed that Queen Elizabeth enjoyed her son tremendously. As she put it after she looked at a photo of the two, "Her body language is screaming, 'that's my baby!'" Constantine also compared how Queen Elizabeth appeared toward Prince Andrew to her relationship with Prince Edward, and noted that it seemed Edward and Queen Elizabeth had a lot in common. She explained, "You can also sense the difference between Edward and Andrew: Edward is reserved like his mother and Andrew is intense and powerful" (via Good Housekeeping).

Queen Elizabeth gave Prince Edward more responsibility in later years

Of all Queen Elizabeth's children, Prince Edward has arguably seemed least interested in pursuing life as a royal, and is the one who has most developed his own interests outside the family. For example, unlike his siblings and both his parents, he shunned the military, leaving the Navy after being enlisted for four months. Prince Edward was also more interested in the arts than in outdoor pursuits such as riding horses, which was a favorite pastime of Queen Elizabeth. As Sky News pointed out, for this and other reasons, some believed Edward might have been the "weak link" in the family.

That perception certainly shifted as Queen Elizabeth neared the end of her life. In her later years, she began to give both Edward and his wife Sophie Wessex more responsibilities within the royal sphere. This was ramped up after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped back as senior royals, and further as Prince Andrew's myriad scandals reduced his capacity to serve the monarchy. As royal author Sarah Gristwood told Sky News, "With fewer working members of the Royal Family after Andrew, Harry, and Meghan stepped down, Edward and his family have become more respected and more prominent."

She wanted to give Prince Edward his father's title

Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth's husband, served the monarchy as the Duke of Edinburgh from the point of their marriage until his death in 2021. Ahead of his death, Prince Philip made it clear that he hoped Prince Edward would inherit the title once it was time. This desire was clarified by Buckingham Palace after the institute released a statement explaining that Edward would indeed inherit the title after both his father and his mother passed on.

As Hello! Magazine reported, the statement read, "The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Prince of Wales have also agreed that Prince Edward should be given the dukedom of Edinburgh in due course when the present title now held by Prince Philip eventually reverts to the Crown."

In 1947, King George VI issued the letters patent that stated the eldest son of the Duke of Edinburgh would inherit the title. However, once Prince Charles became King Charles III, the title reverted back to the Crown, and King Charles gained the ability to give the title to his brother (via Hello! Magazine).

Many believe Prince Edward was the queen's favorite child

Back in 2016, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie Wessex sat down for an interview with Sky News, when they spoke at length about their relationship with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. In part, the pair revealed that they spent just about every weekend with Edward's parents, which gave Queen Elizabeth the opportunity to enjoy her grandchildren by Edward, Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn.

Body language expert Judi James told Express that in her opinion, it was clear from stories such as this and from Queen Elizabeth's own interactions with Edward that he was her favorite child, or at the least the one she could most love out loud. As James said, "As her youngest child and with a large age gap between himself and Charles and Anne, Edward seems to have been the baby that the queen allowed herself to dote on openly, rather than adopting a rather more formal approach with in public."