Duty Above Motherhood: Queen Elizabeth's Affection for Prince Charles 'Went on the Back Burner' When She Became the Monarch

prince charles
Source: MEGA

Queen Elizabeth II reportedly didn't give Prince Charles enough affection when he was younger.

Feb. 20 2024, Published 1:46 p.m. ET

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A then-Prince Charles was reportedly "longing to be hugged" as a toddler, but one problem got in the way — his mother just happened to be the Queen of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth. Despite showering affection on her firstborn child and heir before her father died in early 1952, Queen Elizabeth II put those motherly instincts on the "back burner" upon her accession. This insight and much more are revealed in royal author Ingrid Seward's new book, My Mother and I, which explores Charles and Elizabeth's decades-long son-mother dynamic.

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prince charles
Source: MEGA

Queen Elizabeth II formally presents Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales in July 1969.

Elizabeth II came to the British Crown at the age of 25 when King George VI died in his sleep on February 6, 1952. The new heir to the throne, Prince Charles, was only three years of age and was unaware that his mother had just become the head of state of not only Britain but multiple countries across the world. The young royal was about to be predominantly raised by nannies as the new Queen, and his father, Prince Philip, traveled the nation and world for years on end.

The monarch and consort reportedly even missed Charles' first steps, of which Seward observed: "I think that Charles was longing to be hugged by his mother, but he was only ever given that kind of affection by his nannies."

After becoming Queen, "her children were taken away from her," she added. "Not literally, but mentally, they were because she was so busy being the Queen. Taking care of the children went on the back burner. But that was fairly normal for those aristocratic families in those days. They saw their children in the morning, and then they saw them again in the evening."

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prince charles
Source: MEGA

Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, with a toddler Prince William in 1983.

The scribe went on to share how the Prince of Wales would never truly grow close to his mother until he reached his fifties in the late 1990s and beyond. "In later life, she was his mum. It was really through his work with his Princes' trust, [that]she thought he had done such a marvelous job with underprivileged children and the inner cities. He cares about the youth of this country in a way that makes her very proud. But it took him a while for her to show this to him."

Furthermore, the future monarch reportedly, along with Diana, Princess of Wales, ensured that his children, Princes William and Harry, felt loved and valued in their formative years.

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prince charles
Source: MEGA

A legally-separated Prince Charles and Princess Diana with Princes William and Harry in 1995.

"Charles was very close to his children, especially Harry," Seward observed. "William wanted to be with Mum, but Harry loved doing things with Charles."

This observation was not entirely shared by the fiery-haired prince when he spilled information about his life in his 2023 memoir, Spare. "Pa didn't hug me," he wrote when recounting his father's breaking of the news to him in 1997 that his mother had died in a car crash.

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prince charles
Source: MEGA

Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth II (pictured in 2022) reportedly 'became close' during the latter years of the former's reign.

Source: TRO

GBN reported on excerpts from Seward's book.

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