'He was afraid of his father.'
WHEN THE QUEEN laid the foundation stone of the new Balmoral Castle on 28 September 1853, her heir was eleven years old. The placid equanimity he had displayed in the earliest years of his infancy had not survived his fifth birthday. Lady Lyttelton, now known as 'Laddle', had had cause to complain of his being 'uncommonly averse to learning' and requiring 'much patience from wilful inattention and constant interruptions, getting under the table, upsetting the books and sundry other anti-studious practices'. 1
His father, neither then nor later, did not try to conceal the fact that Victoria, the Princess Royal, was his favourite child. When he came into the nursery, as he often did -- once, to the Princess Royal's indignation, sitting in Taddle's' chair -- his eye alighted upon her with pleasure; but in the contemplation of her brother his countenance became troubled and apprehensive. Edward's mother also seemed to prefer her sharp and quick-witted daughter to her difficult son and spent far more time with her. It was already rumoured in society that the Queen did not much care for her eldest son, that, as Charles Greville put it, the hereditary and unfailing antipathy of our Sovereigns to their Heirs Apparent [was] already taking root'. 2 Lady Beauvale was quoted as saying that the Queen had observed that the Prince was 'a stupid boy. He began to stammer; and his sister teased him for it, imitating him, driving him to fury. One afternoon the two children had 'a tremendous fight' when brought down to their parents' room; so the next day they were brought down separately