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Queen Elizabeth has always had a soft spot for her son Prince Andrew, the disgraced Duke of York.
The claim was made by former Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown, who has written a new book about the British royal family titled “The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor – the Truth and the Turmoil.”
The bombshell book explores “the scandals, love affairs, power plays and betrayals” that have rocked the royals during the last 20 years. It features new revelations based on Brown’s access to palace insiders.
The bestselling author previously wrote a biography on the Princess of Wales titled “The Diana Chronicles,” which was published in 2007.
Brown described how growing up, Andrew “always received much more” of Elizabeth’s attention than any of his siblings.
“Born in the Queen’s second batch, 10 years after Princess Anne and four years before Prince Edward, Andrew had a mother who was well settled by then into her sovereign duties,” wrote Brown in an excerpt obtained by Fox News Digital. “She sometimes allowed herself the time to pick him up from his prep school, Heatherdown, and drive him home herself, or let him play quietly in her study while she received official visitors. He was the first to be christened with the surname Prince Philip fought for, Mountbatten-Windsor.”
According to Brown, an ex-girlfriend of Prince Charles described how, while staying at Windsor Castle one weekend, she overheard the queen on the phone with one of Andrew’s teachers at Gordonstoun, a Scottish boarding school.
“[She was] talking worriedly about his academic performance like any mother,” wrote Brown.
Andrew’s father also had a soft spot for his son that was well-known within the palace.
“Philip liked to say that his second son was a ‘natural boss,'” Brown wrote. “Andrew’s temperament — hearty, robust, disruptive (at Heatherdown he loved mixing up everyone’s shoes in the dorm) — was more compatible with Philip than Charles. He was less vulnerable to his father’s casual Teutonic insensitivities, and undaunted by the rigors of Gordonstoun.”
But Andrew wasn’t popular with his classmates. Brown wrote that they “didn’t like him much.”
“They found him big-headed, arrogant, and deluded about his own intelligence,” Brown shared, adding that he often made “off-color jokes, at which he laughed inordinately.”
“One senses that there was always a hollowness in Andrew’s personality,” Brown wrote. “That’s why he laughed louder and boasted so much and tried to seem important. By the time he went to Gordonstoun, he knew that for all the palaces he lived in and the servants who Sir’d him, he was the second son whose childhood parity with Charles was a mirage. Only the monarch’s firstborn wakes up every morning knowing that to advance to the ultimate prize, all he has to do is stay alive.”
“Only the first-born son is invested as Prince of Wales,” Brown continued. “Only the firstborn son becomes the Duke of Cornwall, which includes being handed a vast private estate that generates around $30 million in annual income — all of which went to Charles. The winner-takes-all calculus has been baked into every generation of the British monarchy. While there are ships, schools, peninsulas, and even a nursery rhyme named for the Duke of York, the title throws off neither an income nor even a stately home. The only certainty for the second son is that, as the years go by, his importance will decline as he slides inexorably down in the line of succession.”
The queen, 96, has been making surprise appearances to coincide with the Platinum Jubilee, which marks her 70 years on the throne. She is expected to appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony during the Trooping the Colour Parade on June 2 and greet the public.
The palace confirmed that only working senior members will appear on the balcony, which means Andrew, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, won’t be present.
Andrew has largely been kept out of the spotlight since he stepped down in late 2019 following his disastrous interview concerning his ties with late American financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. In January, the queen stripped the 62-year-old of his military titles and patronages. He is still in the line of succession to the throne, but Andrew may not use “His Royal Highness” in any capacity.
On March 29, Andrew accompanied the queen for a Service of Thanksgiving honoring his late father. The reigning monarch’s choice of escort was seen as support for her son after he settled a lawsuit that was linked to his relationship with Epstein.
Andrew’s role underscored that he is still a member of the royal family, even after the scandal rocked the palace.
Andrew strenuously denied Virginia Giuffre’s allegations after she sued him. She accused the British royal of sexually abusing her while she traveled with Epstein in 2001 when she was 17.
Giuffre, 38, reached a settlement with Andrew after a judge rejected the prince’s bid to win early dismissal of the lawsuit earlier this year.
In a letter to the judge from Giuffre’s attorney David Boies, a statement was included that said, in part, “Prince Andrew intends to make a substantial donation to Ms. Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights. Prince Andrew has never intended to malign Ms. Giuffre’s character, and he accepts that she has suffered both as an established victim of abuse and as a result of unfair public attacks.”
According to the statement, Andrew acknowledged that Epstein trafficked “countless young girls” over many years and said the prince “regrets his association with Epstein and commends the bravery of Ms. Giuffre and other survivors in standing up for themselves and others.”
He also pledged to support the victims of sex trafficking as part of demonstrating his regret.
Giuffre asserted that she met Andrew while she traveled frequently with Epstein between 2000 and 2002 when, her lawyers maintain, she was “on call for Epstein for sexual purposes” and was “lent out to other powerful men,” including Andrew.
Her lawsuit said she suffered significant emotional and psychological distress and harm. She alleged she had sex with Andrew three times: in London during a 2001 trip, at Epstein’s New York mansion when she was 17 and in the Virgin Islands when she was 18.
Andrew repeatedly denied Giuffre’s allegations and has said he can’t recall ever meeting her, although a photograph of Giuffre and Andrew together in a London townhouse, his arm around her bare midriff, was included in Giuffre’s lawsuit against him.
Inconsistencies in her statements over the years that would have been highlighted by Andrew’s attorneys at trial may have motivated her, in part, to settle, though she has explained them as innocent mistakes that occurred when recalling traumatic events years later.
Andrew spent years combating concerns about his links to Epstein, who took his life at age 66 in 2019 in a Manhattan federal lockup while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. Epstein’s longtime companion Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted of related charges.
A settlement of Andrew’s lawsuit followed deals reached by Giuffre years ago to resolve separate lawsuits against Maxwell and Epstein. It was recently revealed that Epstein settled for $500,000.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.