Princess Kate’s Upbringing Outside of the Royal Fold Helps Heir to the Throne Prince George Balance Childhood and Royal Duties

“It’s a massive balancing act.”

Kate Middleton and Prince George at the Christmas Carol Concert
(Image credit: Getty)

Princess Kate is a different kind of royal parent, and it’s paying off in the lives of her three children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. George, who will be 10 this month and is heir to the throne, has a much different upbringing than his grandfather, King Charles, and even his father, Prince William. It’s a delicate balance of as normal a childhood as possible and beginning to tap into his royal duty, People reports, and Kate is spearheading the charge.

“It’s a massive balancing act,” a Palace insider tells the outlet. “William and Kate are doing the right thing, protecting him so he can have as normal a childhood as possible, but he’s also dipping into duties as a future monarch.”

Kate Middleton watching Prince George shoot a bow and arrow

(Image credit: Getty)

The source adds “He’s getting firsthand experience of what it’s like to be a royal and a monarch and firsthand experience of being a normal boy.”

One way he is embracing his future role in the royal family is through serving as a Page of Honor at the King’s Coronation in May. While his younger siblings Charlotte and Louis were in attendance at the ceremony, George made history as the youngest future king to play an official role in a Coronation.

“He was terrific,” a close family friend tells People. Both William and Kate knew the pressure George would face in the role, but also knew he was up for the task: “The service was emotional and family-oriented and very inclusive—and George played his part,” a guest tells the outlet. 

Prince George as a Page of Honor at the Coronation

(Image credit: Getty)

Though in the public eye, at home inside Adelaide Cottage, George’s life is very different than the heirs that came before him. People reports that is in large part thanks to Kate, who grew up outside the royal fold.

“Coming from a different background, she appreciates the importance of having family time,” a source close to the royal household tells People. “She wasn’t brought up in that aristocratic setting where you see the children for a short time each day.” 

Prince George on his first day of school at Lambrook

(Image credit: Getty)

Kate regularly drives her kids to school and makes sure either she or William is home in the evening when they arrive. People reports that the Wales family often gathers in the kitchen to make kid-friendly dinners and decorate cakes. “The princess asked if we make our own dough and said that they love making pizzas with their children,” says Pete Morris, whose Little Dragon Pizza Van was visited by Kate in April.

On her 2020 appearance on the “Happy Mum, Happy Baby” podcast, Kate said she was happiest when “I’m with my family outside in the countryside, and we’re all filthy dirty.” It’s all a part of William and Kate’s concerted effort at normalcy: The couple “consciously set out to achieve a sense of normality,” a source says. The two were expressly permitted by both Queen Elizabeth and the then Prince Charles to focus on their family above royal duties, and it has paid off. 

Kate Middleton, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis at Christmas at Sandringham

(Image credit: Getty)

“Royal families over the generations haven’t had the chance to get those foundations right, but they have,” a friend says.

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.