The Queen only saw her children for 20 minutes a day, says royal biographer

Lifestyle Team

The Queen spent very little time with her four children when they were young, reveals a royal biographer.

“They [Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward] used to see their mother, the Queen for about 20 minutes at tea time,” Angela Levin told Yahoo UK’s The Royal Box.

“A nanny would bring them in, as it was in Victorian days.”

She explained the Queen would have had a night nurse and a day nurse to assist with her four children.

Elizabeth was just 25 when she became Queen in 1952 and her first major tour of the Commonwealth at the end of 1953 spanned six months.

She left her two eldest children Charles and Anne at home, while she carried out her royal duties, often leaving them in the care of nannies or their grandmother, the Queen Mother.

“Nowadays [the royals] are very hands-on and when William took George to see Charlotte and George and Charlotte to see Louis, they were very happy holding his hand or being carried by him and unless he’d put in that work and that time, they wouldn’t, children don’t automatically go to someone if they feel a bit insecure about them,” Levin added.

The royal family are pictured at Buckingham Palace
The Queen and Prince Philip are pictured with Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and Prince Charles in 1972. Photo: Getty Images

In comparison, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are much more hands-on with their children than previous generations of the royal family, says one royal commentator.

Kate and William attended Trooping the Colour on Saturday to mark the Queen’s official birthday.

Their three children Prince George, five, Princess Charlotte, four, and one-year-old Louis joined them on the balcony at Buckingham Palace.

Prince William, Kate Middleton and Prince Louis on the Buckingham Palace balcony for the Trooping of the Colour 2019
Kate, William and Louis at Trooping the Colour. [Photo: Getty]

The duchess carried a wriggling Louis, who waved at the RAF fly-past. He soon reached out for his father, whom Kate passed him to and then William continued to point the planes out to his youngest son.

“When you look at the behaviour of baby Louis and the affection between him and William— You go back a couple of generations and it was literally like waxworks coming out, it was very stiff and there wasn’t much hands-on parenting at all.” former royal editor Duncan Larcombe said

The Duke of Cambridge with Prince George and Princess Charlotte outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London.
William takes George and Charlotte to meet their new brother Louis at the Lindo Wing in 2018. Photo: Getty Images

The Cambridges have also taken their children on tour with them, including Canada in 2016 and Germany and Poland in 2017.

Larcombe suggests that Princess Diana has had a lot of influence on her sons, as she “hated going on tours without her boys,” and “was a very hands-on, touchy-feely mum.”

Levin adds that Diana would hug and kiss William and Harry in public, whereas the Queen very rarely displays the same level of affection.

Words by Danielle Stacey

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