The heartbreaking reason it was like Queen Elizabeth ‘had two families’ throughout her reign

A former royal lady-in-waiting has reflected on Queen Elizabeth's approach to motherhood and how it changed during her reign

Why it was "rather like" Queen Elizabeth "had two families" during her reign. Seen here is Queen Elizabeth attending the Queen's Body Guard for Scotland
(Image credit: Photo by Jane Barlow/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

There’s a heartbreaking reason it was apparently “rather like” Queen Elizabeth “had two families” throughout her reign, according to a former royal lady-in-waiting. 

Queen Elizabeth’s passing last year was met with sadness and tributes from around the world. As Britain's longest-reigning monarch she left an extraordinary legacy, though to the Royal Family she was also a beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. As the first anniversary of her death approaches, it’s been confirmed that King Charles will be honouring it “quietly and privately” and will possibly be doing so at Balmoral Castle. Two royals will be working on the anniversary and Prince William and the Princess of Wales will pay homage in Wales.

The personal bonds within the Royal Family are often revealed in intriguing anecdotes and insights. And when it comes to the late monarch, it’s recently been suggested it was “rather like” Queen Elizabeth “had two families” for this heartbreaking reason…

Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Edward and Prince Charles

(Image credit: Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Getting candid with OK! ahead of this poignant anniversary, Princess Margaret’s former lady-in-waiting and a childhood friend of Queen Elizabeth, Lady Anne Glenconner, has claimed that the demands on Her Majesty’s time meant her approach to motherhood varied quite a lot.

“Prince Charles and Princess Anne were so small when she became Queen and she just had so much to do,” Lady Glenconner claimed. “In those days, it took ages to get to countries so she didn’t have a great deal of time to be with her older two.”

Reflecting on what Queen Elizabeth was like with King Charles and Princess Anne, the former lady-in-waiting called her “absolutely marvellous”. However, she also alleged that the Queen Mother “looked after them a great deal”. King Charles in particular is understood to have had a close relationship with his grandmother and lives at her former home, Clarence House, to this day. 

Princess Elizabeth with her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and their children Prince Charles and Princess Anne, August 1951

(Image credit: Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Being so busy during her elder children’s younger years reportedly made Queen Elizabeth appreciate how she was able to “really be” with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. Her Majesty’s change in approach was described by the lady-in-waiting as almost like her having “two families”.

“It was rather like she had two families, because when she had Andrew and Edward she was able to spend much more time with them,” Lady Glenconner alleged. “I remember she wrote once or twice saying that it was so lovely to have the chance to really be with her young boys, because with the other two she had to be away so much.”

The youngest of Queen Elizabeth’s children, Prince Edward, is 4 years younger than Prince Andrew, 14 years younger than Princess Anne and 16 years younger than King Charles. By the time her younger sons were born, Queen Elizabeth was fully established in her reign and had plenty of overseas tours under her belt. 

Queen Elizabeth II and The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh with their children (right to left); Charles Prince of Wales, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and Princess Anne celebrating the Queen's 39th birthday

(Image credit: Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Whilst it’s heartbreaking that it was supposedly “rather like” Queen Elizabeth “had two families” given how busy she was during King Charles and Princess Anne’s childhoods, she’s understood to have had close bonds with all four of her children. They might well reflect on their precious personal memories of her on the first anniversary of her passing on 8th September. 

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!