The Truth About Prince Andrew's Relationship With Prince William

Prince Andrew is the third of Queen Elizabeth's children and was born into a system that meant he was second in line to the throne upon his birth (despite having a sister who is older than he is). Of course, once his oldest brother, Prince Charles, began having children, that all changed. In fact, Andrew was swiftly demoted by his newborn nephew Prince William in the summer of 1982, and his standing in both the line of succession and in the royal family itself has continued to fall since.

The royal family is unusual in that they live much of their lives out in the public on an enormous, and truly unique, world stage. Still, one could expect that members of the family are able to have something of a typical relationship with one another. Unfortunately for William and his uncle Andrew, that doesn't seem to be the case. 

In 2022, royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliam told the Express, "Prince Charles and Prince William are aware of the enormous damage that links with Prince Andrew do to the monarchy." With that grim tidbit in mind, here's a look at Prince Andrew's relationship with Prince William throughout the years.

Prince Andrew was second in line to the throne until Prince William was born

Much has been made about the royal line of succession — the order in which members of the royal family can become king or queen. As Queen Elizabeth's oldest child, Prince Charles takes the first spot in the line of succession (per BBC News). The queen's next oldest child, Princess Anne, was initially second in line, but that status was wiped out once the queen's third child, Prince Andrew, arrived. As older succession laws stated that sons of a reigning monarch had precedent over daughters (this was later changed), Anne is currently 17th in line for the throne.

Up until the moment Prince William was born in June 1982, Andrew was second in line to the throne. It's a little impossible to imagine Andrew ever ascending to the crown at this point, considering he is now outranked by William and William's children in order of birth, as well as Prince Harry and his children in order of birth. Still, there was likely once a time in which Andrew imagined that he could one day be king. These days, there's little chance of Andrew ever coming close to the lofty heights he might have once dared to imagine.

Andrew reportedly wanted to become William's regent after Princess Diana's death

Apart from the legal trial he's currently embroiled in, Prince Andrew has always been involved in a lot of headline-making stories. In 1997, Andrew reportedly proposed an unpredictable role for himself as Prince William's regent should the young boy need one. While the story has never been completely confirmed, The Mercury News explained that in the weeks after Princess Diana's death, the royal family was concerned about the massive negative blowback they would receive. This concern was especially centered around Prince Charles, whom the public had begun to distrust following revelations of his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.

In the event that Charles opted to not become king upon his mother's death, instead choosing to pass the crown directly to his then-teen son William, many wondered who would rule should the young boy still be underage at the time of his grandmother's passing. As royal author Nigel Cawthorne, who authored a biography about Andrew, told the Daily Beast, Queen Elizabeth's third child might have spied an opening for himself.

Cawthorne alleged, "Andrew tried to push Charles out of the way during the Diana scandal. As Charles' popularity plummeted, Andrew lobbied the palace to install him as a regent for William. That has created friction between them which persists to this day."

Many believe Prince William has never liked Prince Andrew

Many royal watchers believe Prince William has never been particularly fond of his uncle Andrew.  As a source told The Sunday Times in November 2019 (via the Daily Mail), William has reportedly spoken out against Prince Andrew within the royal family in the years since his uncle has been hit with allegations of sexual assault and abuse by Virginia Giuffre; the publication insists that William played a crucial role in the decision to remove Andrew from senior royal life.

While speaking to the paper, the unnamed source was blunt. They explained, "William is becoming more and more involved in decisions about the institution [monarchy] and he's not a huge fan of his uncle Andrew."

In January 2022, Us Weekly revealed that the queen is said to be relying on William's decision-making skills once more. Royal watcher Kristin Contino told the publication that William was once again central to conversations about removing Andrew's royal titles and patronages, saying, "William, in fact, was very involved in this decision, and it's been said that he met with the queen in person ahead of their announcement that came out last week." Contino added that William's involvement signals in the biggest way possible just how crucial his voice is considered to be to the future of the monarchy.

Prince William reportedly believes Prince Andrew is 'dangerous' to the royals

Prince William's reported ill will toward his disgraced uncle doesn't stop there. As a trial looms ahead in Prince Andrew's future, William is allegedly telling anyone who will hear him out that he believes Andrew is a danger to the monarchy as a whole. An alleged friend of the future king reportedly told The Times of London that William is "triggered" by any family member he believes doesn't have the best interests of the monarchy as a whole at heart. The friend explained, "Any suggestion that there isn't gratitude for the institution, anything that could lead anyone in the public to think that senior members of the royal family aren't grateful for their position, [William thinks] is really dangerous."

People has also reported extensively on how William feels about Andrew these days, noting that he is united with his father, Prince Charles, in the belief that there is absolutely no room for Andrew in the royal family. 

Prince William might end up taking over many of Prince Andrew's royal duties

As many royal fans and watchers learned when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shocked the world by stepping down as senior members of the royal family, any time someone in the family exits (willfully or not), their duties and patronages must be doled out to those who remain. As one of the queen's children, Prince Andrew was responsible for quite a lot.

In December 2019, many began speculating that in light of Andrew's own decision to step back from senior royal status, some of his duties would fall on the shoulders of William himself. For example, William was ushered off on a trip to Oman only a week after Andrew's announcement, where they met with representatives and youth from aid organization Outward Bound. As Russell Myers shared in his podcast that week (via Express), "Outward Bound is originally a U.K. charity that educates young people through adventure and gives them life skills. And quite interestingly, Prince Andrew was the patron up until last week when his resignation was accepted."

Prince William appeared to avoid answering a question about Andrew

It is believed that things are so dismal between Prince Andrew and Prince William that the latter now refuses to even pretend that he supports his uncle, at least while in the public eye. In January 2022, William avoided a question about Andrew's ongoing legal situation. Per the Daily Mail, William was leaving a museum when he was greeted by a reporter who asked, "Your Royal Highness, could I just ask, do you support Prince Andrew?" 

After initially claiming he couldn't hear the question, William was quick to completely rebuff the reporter as he tried asking again. The question came on the heels of the palace's decision to remove Andrew's titles completely, which has been described by a palace source as "a ruthless and swift decision which will have been recommended by the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge and sanctioned by the Queen."

While the passage of time will be the only true tell if the Prince Andrew's relationship with Prince William will ever improve, it's abundantly clear that — ahead of Andrew's sexual abuse trial in late 2022 — the two aren't likely to spend any quality time together anytime soon.