The Prince and Princess of Wales break so-called “royal protocol” on a daily basis when it comes to their three kids—so much so that this is likely the new world order when it comes to royal parenting, and that the old way of raising royal children is no longer. Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis come first, and William and Kate’s hands-on approach sees everything center around them, The Mirror reports.
While the couple do employ the talents of nanny Maria Borrallo, she doesn’t live with them in their four-bedroom Windsor home, Adelaide Cottage. William and Kate take part in the school run with their three kids—who are all enrolled at Lambrook School—rather than getting nannies or their staff to do so. George just finished year five at Lambrook, Charlotte just completed year three, and Louis finished reception class in the pre-prep before heading off for summer break, which the trio are enjoying right now.
“Kate said the children have settled in nicely with their new school and have new friends,” Lydia Bailey told People shortly after the family of five relocated from Kensington Palace in London to Windsor in early September last year.
For the Waleses, “everything centers on the children,” a Palace source said. “William and Catherine take it in turns to do the school run. Kate is adamant that family comes first—that rule shapes everything they do, as well as all their engagements.”
Kate’s affinity for nontraditional royal parenting is evident especially around birthdays and holidays, The Mirror reports. Having come from a close-knit family of five herself, “Kate is keen to impart the Middleton family traditions into her own family,” the outlet writes. One such tradition? Every year, on the night before each child’s birthday, Kate stays up late baking a homemade cake for the birthday boy or girl. Yesterday was George’s milestone tenth birthday, and Kate reportedly made a Victoria sponge for the occasion.
And a homemade birthday cake isn’t the only “normal” birthday tradition the Wales kids take part in. “Each of the children has relatively normal birthday parties, too—albeit this year Prince George had his on the Windsor estate rather than at the local bowling alley,” The Mirror reports. “Like any other 10-year-old, he [was] having a party and inviting his close-knit group of school friends.”
While on holiday, the family of five likes to blend in with other tourists, like when they visit Mustique, a longtime royal favorite (Princess Margaret loved her time there). The private island has a no-fly zone and the guests there practice discretion, so it is an ideal place for the family to “truly relax and let their hair down,” The Mirror reports.
William and Kate’s affinity for doing it their own way began as early as 10 years ago today, when they introduced a newborn George to the anxiously awaiting public on the famous steps of the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital in London, where he had been born the day before at 4:24 p.m. When they debuted their 8 lbs., 6 oz. son, the couple happily spoke to the media and revealed that George had a “good set of lungs” and, comically, how he already had more hair than William.
To avoid embarrassment, William and Kate thought of everything they possibly could, The Mirror reports, including practicing for the car seat moment, which anyone who saw it back in 2013 remembers: “While all eyes were on the new baby, Prince William managed to attract a lot of attention for the effortless way that he clipped the car seat in before driving his family home to Kensington Palace,” the outlet writes. Why was it so seamless? Because he had prepared extensively, Kate said herself on the “Happy Mum, Happy Baby” podcast, revealing they’d practiced several times to avoid fumbling in front of the waiting public.
“We were like ‘What do we do?...in a swaddle?’” Kate said. “How’s this supposed to work? We even tried to practice with a little baby, like a little doll, at home, but you know, it just never works out the way you planned it, so it was quite hard to do that on the world’s stage. But, no, he did a very good job.”
Originally William and Kate eschewed having a nanny, retreating to the Middleton home in Berkshire. They soon found it a challenge, as George was getting up more than six times each night. “New dad Prince William found this particularly taxing as he worked to balance parenthood with his royal duties,” The Mirror reports.
“William had no idea it would be this tough,” a royal source said of William’s first days of parenthood. “He’s using a bizarre tactic of belting out Coldplay anthems at all hours of the night, even though he can barely hold a note. It’s even keeping Kate’s parents awake. His favorite song is ‘Paradise’ and he also loves doing ‘Yellow.’ Coldplay aren’t even his favorite band, but George responds to their songs the most and settles back down.”
Yeah, we can’t imagine Prince Charles or Queen Elizabeth doing that with their newborns. A new world order, indeed.
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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.
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