Birth and Childhood
Prince Andrew Albert Christian Edward was born on 19 February 1960, the second son and third child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. He was the first child born to a reigning monarch since Princess Beatrice, the youngest child of Queen Victoria, was born over a century earlier.
Prince Andrew was born in the Belgian Suite at Buckingham Palace and was raised there with his older siblings, Prince Charles and Princess Anne. A fourth child, Prince Edward, was born in 1964.
Prince Andrew was educated by a governess at Buckingham Palace and then went to Heatherdown School in Berkshire. He continued the family tradition of attending Gordonstoun (both his father and older brother attended the school as well). He graduated in 1979 with A-levels in English, history, economics and political science, but he did not attend university. Prince Andrew decided to take the more “royal” route and took up a life of military service.
The Military Prince
Prince Andrew attended the Royal Naval College Flight in 1979 and trained as a pilot. He was appointed a midshipman that year as well and attended the Britannia Royal Naval College. After he had graduated, he did flight training with the Royal Air Force and earned his wings, learning to fly more advanced helicopters.
Prince Andrew fought in the Falkland War in 1982, although the government was worried about him joining the fight. The aircraft carrier he was stationed on, Invincible, was one of two operational carriers at the time. The government wished to remove him from the ship – at the time he was still second in line to the throne – but Queen Elizabeth insisted that he stay on the ship.
According to his official website, Prince Andrew “flew missions including Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW), inter-ship Helicopter Delivery (HDS), Search and Rescue (SAR) and casualty evacuation.”
The Falkland War ended in September 1982, and he returned home to Portsmouth where Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were waiting for him at port.
Prince Andrew’s military career continued until 2001 when he retired with the rank of commander. He has received military appointments since his retirement, and as of 2015 is an Honorary Vice Admiral.
The Duke of York
Prince Andrew had known his future wife Sarah Ferguson since childhood, but the relationship only turned romantic in 1985 after they met again. Sarah Ferguson became close friends with Prince Andrew’s sister-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales.
Prince Andrew proposed on 19 February 1986, and they married on 23 July that year. He proposed with a ruby ring, and Sarah entered Westminster Abbey wearing a floral crown. After the marriage register had been signed, she reappeared in a new tiara, a wedding present.
Upon his marriage, The Queen created Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Earl of Inverness and Baron Killyleagh, and Sarah became the Duchess of York. The title Duke of York has historically been reserved for the second son of the monarch (Henry VIII and George VI are both past Dukes of York).
The Duke and Duchess of York have two daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, born 8 August 1988 and 23 March 1990 respectively. They are currently eighth and ninth in line to the throne.
Unfortunately, the Yorks separated in 1992, amidst long periods of separation caused by his military career and media attention towards the Duchess, and divorced in 1996. The couple committed to raising their daughters together and have maintained a healthy relationship post-divorce.
Trade Career and Pitch @ Palace
The Duke of York helped the government with business and trade development upon his retirement from military service. In a job formerly held by his cousin the Duke of Kent, Prince Andrew worked as the United Kingdom’s Special Representative for International Trade and Development. The Duke of York travelled around the world promoting the UK at trade fairs and conventions, hoping to increase investments.
Prince Andrew held this post until 2011, but still, continues to promote trade and business through his patronages and charities. He also launched the Pitch @ Palace initiative, where small tech startups pitch their ideas to judges from various industries. According to its official website, over 247 businesses have benefitted from Pitch @ Palace.
The Duke of York continues to represent The Queen at various functions both in the United Kingdom and around the world.