Common traits of second children: risk takers, open to experiences, feel a need to differentiate themselves from older sibling.
Royal second children: Prince Harry and Princess Margaret.
What we can learn from them: If there are only two children, the second-born may act more like a middle child than a baby of the family. These laterborns "are greater risk takers and open to experiences because they need to find their roles in life," explains Salmon. When there are only two siblings, Salmon says, the personality differences between the firstborn and lastborn may be more pronounced, because the youngest child is trying to differentiate themselves from the first. Like middle children, they're not quite clear where they fit in. However, when there is a middle child, "the bigger contrasts will be between the middle child and firstborn and the middle child and the lastborn," she explains.
If there are only two children, the second-born may act more like a middle child than a baby of the family.
The need for the second child to carve out a distinct role is amplified for second-born royals, who grow up in the shadow of their older siblings who will become king or queen. As an adolescent, Prince Harry differentiated himself from his even-keeled older brother William, taking on the role of the royal family wild child. Harry admitted to smoking marijuana as a teenager, got in dust-ups with the paparazzi, was caught at a party in a Nazi costume, and nearly had the family jewels revealed while playing a game of strip billiards in Las Vegas. William married at 28 and already has a third child on the way, doing his duty to secure the future of the monarchy. Conversely, Harry, 33, has taken more time to settle down than his older brother.
Harry attributes some of the chaos in his life to the death of his mother, Princess Diana. But he's not the only royal "spare" to live a more untethered life in contrast to the older sibling directly in line to become monarch. If you watched The Crown on Netflix, you recall Princess Margaret, the younger sister and only sibling of Queen Elizabeth. As the less serious sister of the future queen, Princess Margaret had a glamorous and controversial reputation. Around the time of her sister's coronation, Margaret fell in love with a divorced man, Peter Townsend, who was 16 years her senior. The Church of England, the royal family, and the government made it clear she would have to give up her royal life if she chose to marry him; she ultimately decided not to.
She did marry photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones in 1960, but quickly the marriage collapsed. There were rumors of affairs, drug use, and heavy drinking as well as questions about his sexuality. When the princess was photographed with a young lover, her husband took it as a chance to divorce, playing the victim. It later came out that Lord Snowdon may have fathered a child months before their marriage. While Queen Elizabeth and her sister were close, just like Princes William and Harry, having two children in a family can make for sharper personality differences.