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Happy birthday Prince Andrew: nine facts about the royal

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Prince Andrew celebrated his 54th birthday on Wednesday 19 February.While the Duke of York is expected to mark the occasion privately with family and close friends, the prince thanked his near 40,000 Twitter followers for their well wishes."Thank you for all of the very kind birthday messages," wrote the father-of-two.

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The Duke of York

In honour of Andrew's birthday, HELLO! Online has compiled a list of nine facts you may not have known about the prince.

1. Andrew was born in the Belgian Suite in Buckingham Palace on 19 February 1960, as the second son and third child of The Queen and Prince Philip. At the time of his birth, he was second-in-line to the throne, however he is now currently fifth-in-line.

2. The prince was the first child born to a reigning monarch at Buckingham Palace for over a hundred years, the last being Queen Victoria's youngest child, Princess Beatrice, in 1857.

3. After finishing his A-Levels in English, History, Economics and Political Science, the prince decided to enter the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth instead of going to university. In November 1978, it was announced that Andrew would join the Royal Navy the following year.

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Andrew returning after the Falklands War, 1982

4. In April 1982, the British territory of the Falkland Islands was invaded by Argentina. During this time, Invincible was one of the two aircraft carriers that was to play a major role in the Royal Navy's mission to take back the islands. Andrew was on board at the time, and despite the government's fear he would become a target, the Queen insisted that he be allowed to remain on the ship to help.

5. On 23 July 1986, the Prince married Sarah Ferguson, who he had known since childhood, at Westminster Abbey. Royalty from around the world and famous guests including Elton John attended the 45-minute ceremony. Upon marriage, Andrew was created The Duke of York and Sarah became Her Royal Highness The Duchess of York. Thousands took to the streets of London to celebrate the wedding and 500million people around the world watched on their television screens.

6. On 8 August 1988, the couple welcomed their first child Princess Beatrice at the Portland Hospital in London. Two years later, on 23 March 1990, the Duchess gave birth to their second daughter, Princess Eugenie.

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Sarah Ferguson and Princess Beatrice

7. In March 1992, it was announced the Duke and Duchess of York would be separating and in May 1996 the couple divorced. Despite this, they remained close friends and devoted parents to Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

8. Prince Andrew joined Twitter in July 2003, and has currently gained nearly 40,000 followers.

9. He shares his birthday with British model David Gandy, singer Seal and actress Haylie Duff.

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