The Middle Child
Common traits of middle children: empathetic, open-minded, innovative, good negotiators, independent, impulsive, rebellious.
Royal middle children: Princess Diana, Prince Andrew, and Princess Charlotte.
What we can learn from them: Middle children often enjoy freedom to find their own path away from constrictive parental expectations. "The fact that middles get less attention from parents fosters independence," says Salmon. "Because they've had to persevere to get what they want within their family dynamic and are empathetic, they have the skills to negotiate for the change they want to see," she explains. Salmon's research suggests that middle children are more rebellious, but also open-minded and concerned about justice. "There have been studies suggesting a greater willingness to new and radical ideas, including innovations in science. Other studies have suggested they are the true rebels, less religious, more impulsive, and open to fantasy."
"The fact that middles get less attention from parents fosters independence."
Empathetic, impulsive, and open to change sure sounds like Princess Diana, who shook up the royal family during her life, which was cut tragically short. She was a modern princess with a rebellious streak. She was not afraid to speak out about Prince Charles affair and didn't balk at sharing private details about her tumultuous relationships with the royal family. Diana's ability to engage on an emotional level with both her children and the public demonstrated her capacity for empathy.
Prince Andrew is another royal middle child — and one who enjoys more freedom and shows qualities of impulsiveness. The Duke of York's morally-lax lifestyle has presented the palace with many headaches. Andrew, the reported favorite child of Queen Elizabeth, still shared a home with his eccentric ex-wife Sarah Ferguson more than a decade after their divorce, while simultaneously being linked to various women. He even got wrapped up in an unsavory scandal involving underage girls. The palace came to Andrew's defense and denied any wrongdoing, and the prince has been able to continue on in his duties. As one close friend told Vanity Fair in 2012: "His mother, the Queen, dotes on him, favors him above all her other children, and excuses his every foible." Prince Andrew demonstrates that the mistakes of middle children may be easily forgiven, perhaps because their parents feel guilty about having less time for them.