Prince Andrew, Duke of York, (Andrew Albert Christian Edward, born 19 February 1960), is the second son and third child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. At the time of his birth, he was second in the line of succession to succeed his mother; he is currently sixth in line.
He also holds the actual rank of commander and the honorary rank of vice admiral (as of February 2015) in the Royal Navy, in which he served as an active duty helicopter pilot and later instructor in helicopter flight. He saw active service during the Falklands War, flying on multiple missions including anti-surface warfare, Exocet missile decoy and casualty evacuation.
In 1986, Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson; the couple’s marriage, subsequent separation and eventual divorce in 1996 attracted a high level of media coverage. As well as carrying out various royal duties, he served as Britain’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment until July 2011.
Prince Andrew was born in the Belgian Suite of Buckingham Palace on 19 February 1960, the third child and second son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Baptised in the Palace’s Music Room on 8 April 1960, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, the Prince’s godparents were: the Duke of Gloucester (his maternal great-uncle); Princess Alexandra of Kent (his first cousin once removed); Hugh Fitzroy, Earl of Euston; the Lord Elphinstone (his first cousin once removed); and Mrs Harold Phillips. He is the namesake of his paternal grandfather, Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, who died 16 years before he was born.
Prince Andrew was the first child born to a reigning monarch since the birth of Queen Victoria’s youngest child, Princess Beatrice, in 1857. (Incidentally, Andrew also named his elder daughter Beatrice.) As the child of the sovereign, Prince Andrew was styled from birth as His Royal Highness and held the title The Prince Andrew.
As with his older siblings, he was looked after by a governess, who was responsible for his early education at Buckingham Palace. He was then sent to Heatherdown School near Ascot in Berkshire, before attending, in September 1973, Gordonstoun, in northern Scotland, as his father and elder brother had done before him. While there, he spent six months – from January to June 1977 – participating in an exchange programme to Lakefield College School in Canada and left Gordonstoun in July two years later with A-Levels in English, history, economics, and political science. He did not go to university but instead entered the Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth.
It was announced in November 1978 that Prince Andrew would join the Royal Navy the following year, and in December he underwent various sporting tests and examinations at the Aircrew Selection Centre, at RAF Biggin Hill, along with further tests and interviews at HMS Daedalus, and interviews at the Admiralty Interview Board, HMS Sultan. During March and April 1979, the Prince was enrolled at the Royal Naval College Flight, undergoing pilot training, until he was accepted as a trainee helicopter pilot and signed on for 12 years from 11 May 1979. On 1 September of the same year, Prince Andrew was appointed as a midshipman, and entered Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. During 1980 he also took the Royal Marines All Arms Commando Course.
After passing out from Dartmouth, the Prince went on to elementary flying training with the Royal Air Force at RAF Leeming, and later, basic flying training with the navy at HMS Seahawk, where he learned to fly the Gazelle helicopter. After being awarded his “wings”, he moved onto more advanced training on the Sea King helicopter, and conducted operational flying training until 1982, when he joined carrier based squadron, 820 Naval Air Squadron, serving aboard the aircraft carrier, HMS Invincible.
The Falkland Islands, which are a British overseas territory claimed by Argentina, were invaded by Argentina on 2 April 1982, an event that instigated the Falklands War. Invincible was one of the two operational aircraft carriers available at the time, and, as such, was to play a major role in the Royal Navy task force assembled to sail south to retake the islands. However, Prince Andrew’s place on board and the possibility of the Queen’s son being killed in action made the British Government apprehensive, and the Cabinet desired that Prince Andrew be moved to a desk job for the duration of the conflict. The Queen, though, insisted that her son be allowed to remain with his ship, meaning Prince Andrew remained on board Invincible to serve as a Sea King helicopter co-pilot, flying on missions that included anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare, Exocet missile decoy, casualty evacuation, transport, and search and air rescue. He witnessed the Argentinian attack on the SS Atlantic Conveyor.
At the cessation of the war, Invincible returned to Portsmouth, where the Queen and Prince Philip joined other families of the crew in welcoming the vessel home, after which Prince Andrew laid a wreath at the Cenotaph each year on Remembrance Sunday to commemorate the South Atlantic campaign. The Argentinean military government reportedly planned, but did not attempt, to assassinate the Prince on Mustique in July 1982. Though he had brief assignments to HMS Illustrious, RNAS Culdrose, and the Joint Services School of Intelligence, Prince Andrew remained with Invincible until 1983. In Commander Nigel Ward’s book, Sea Harrier Over the Falklands, Prince Andrew was described as “an excellent pilot and a very promising officer”
In late 1983, Prince Andrew transferred to RNAS Portland, was trained to fly the Lynx helicopter, and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 1 February 1984, whereupon the Queen appointed him as her personal aide-de-Camp. Prince Andrew then went on to serve aboard HMS Brazen as a flight pilot until 1986, including deployment to the Mediterranean Sea as part of Standing NRF Maritime Group 2, and undertook the Lieutenants’ Greenwich Staff course. On 23 October 1986, the Duke of York (as he was by then) transferred to the General List, enrolled in a four-month helicopter warfare instructor’s course at RNAS Yeovilton, and, upon graduation, served from February 1987 to April 1988 as a helicopter warfare officer in 702 Naval Air Squadron, RNAS Portland, as well as on HMS Edinburgh as an Officer of the Watch and Assistant Navigating Officer until 1989, including a six-month deployment as part of exercise Outback 88 to the Far East.
The Duke of York served as flight commander and pilot of the Lynx HAS3 on HMS Campbeltown from 1989 to 1991, during which he also acted as Force Aviation Officer to Standing NRF Maritime Group 1 while the Campbeltown was flagship of the NATO force in the North Atlantic from 1990 to 1991. He then passed the squadron command examination on 16 July 1991, attended the Staff College, Camberley, the following year, and completed the Army Staff course, becoming a Lieutenant-Commander on 1 February and passing the ship command examination on 12 March 1992. From 1993 to 1994, Prince Andrew commanded the Hunt-class minehunter HMS Cottesmore.
From 1995 to 1996, the Duke was posted as Senior Pilot of 815 Naval Air Squadron – then the largest flying unit in the Fleet Air Arm – his main role in that position being to supervise flying standards and to guarantee an effective operational capability. He was then made a Commander on 27 April 1999, and went on to finish his active naval career at the British Ministry of Defence until 2001, as an officer of the Diplomatic Directorate of the Naval Staff. In July of that year, the Duke of York was retired from the Active List of the Navy, and, three years later, was made an Honorary Captain, rather than the substantive rank of Captain, as would be customary. On 19 February 2010, his 50th birthday, he was promoted to Honorary Rear Admiral. Five years later, he was promoted to Vice Admiral.
From 2001 until July 2011, the Duke of York worked with UK Trade & Investment, part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, as the United Kingdom’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment. The post, previously held by Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, involved representing and promoting the UK at various trade fairs and conferences around the world. His suitability for the role was challenged in the House of Commons by Shadow Justice Minister Chris Bryant in February 2011, at the time of the 2011 Libyan civil war, on the grounds that he was “not only a very close friend of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, but also … a close friend of the convicted Libyan gun smuggler Tarek Kaituni”. The Duke is Patron of the Middle East Association (MEA), the UK’s premier organisation for promoting trade and good relations with the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Iran. Since that ended the Duke continued to support UK enterprise without a special role. Robert Jobson claims he does this work well and wrote, “He is particularly passionate when dealing with young start-up entrepreneurs and bringing them together with successful businesses at networking and showcasing events. Andrew is direct and to the point, and his methods seem to work.”
The Duke is also Patron of Fight for Sight, a charity dedicated to research into the prevention and treatment of blindness and eye disease, and was a member of the Scout Association. He tours Canada frequently to undertake duties related to his Canadian military role. Rick Peters, the former Commanding Officer of the Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada stated that Prince Andrew is “very well informed on Canadian military methods.
On 3 September 2012, the Duke of York was among a team of 40 people who abseiled down The Shard (tallest building in Europe) to raise money for educational charities the Outward Bound Trust and the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund.
In 2013, it was announced that the Duke was becoming the Patron of London Metropolitan University and the University of Huddersfield. In July 2015 he was installed as Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield. He became the Patron of the charity Attend in 2003, and is a member of the International Advisory Board of the Royal United Services Institute.
The Duke is a capable golfer, playing off a low single-figure handicap. He was Captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews between 2003 and 2004—during the club’s 250th anniversary season—is patron of a number of royal golf clubs, and has been elected as an honorary member of many others. The Duke is also a keen skier and has bought an exclusive skiing chalet in Verbier, Switzerland for between £8m and £13m jointly with Sarah Ferguson.
The Duke is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights, the senior maritime City livery company. In recent years, he has developed strong links with Kazakhstan and is a regular goose hunting companion of the country’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev. He is a supporter of Norwich City Football Club