Inside the Princess of Wales’ Life as a Mom: Minimal Makeup, a Nightly Gin and Tonic, and, Yes, Mom Guilt

She’s apparently a pretty typical working mom—except her job is as uncommon as it gets.

Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis at their first day of school at Lambrook
(Image credit: Getty)

When the Princess of Wales is on royal duty, her work often requires her to be very glamorous: Occasional tiaras, designer clothes, and full hair and makeup. But, juxtapose that with her life as a mom, and it’s worlds apart, reports The Mirror.

Though Kate does have a nanny to help with duties surrounding her three children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, she and husband Prince William are very hands-on parents, the outlet reports. “When she’s off duty at the family’s home of Adelaide Cottage in Windsor, despite her royal status, insiders say Kate is just like any other ‘normal mum,’” The Mirror reports. “A friend once gave an insight into what the 41-year-old is like behind closed doors, explaining that she’s ‘very chilled at home’ but definitely not a pushover and will tell the kids off when needed.” 

Kate Middleton, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis at the Big Help Out roasting marshmallows

(Image credit: Getty)

“It’s a normal, busy family home with kids running around and knocking things over,” the source tells People. “There’s no airs and graces. She is doing that to help her children be more grounded and keep their reality in check. That’s what really matters to her.”

Around the home, there are rules, including a strict no shouting policy: “Shouting is absolutely ‘off limits’ for the children, and any hint of shouting at each other is dealt with by removal,” an insider tells The Sun. But rather than being sent to their rooms or to timeout, William and Kate employ a technique called “the sofa chat,” where “the naughty child is taken away from the scene of the row or disruption and talked to calmly by either Kate or William,” the source says. “Things are explained, and consequences outlined, and they never shout at them.” 

Kate Middleton with Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis at a polo match, eating a picnic from the back of a car

(Image credit: Getty)

When they are in public, Kate has a four-word code that she uses to keep the kids in check, writes royal author Tom Quinn: “When Prince Louis misbehaved at the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, for example, by sticking his tongue out at his mother, Kate’s reaction was praised by teams of expert commentators. She apparently used a secret code to calm the children, as she does on occasions—she simply says, ‘Let’s take a break.’ But, as a former staffer explained, the children know these few words carry far more weight than we might imagine.”

When she is off duty, “there are no blow-dries—it’s always hair up in a ponytail,” a friend says. “She’s either in her gym clothes, or a dress and sneakers, very little makeup, apologizing as she’s late for the school run before dashing off. It’s the life of a working mum with three young children—just a different sort of day job to most.”

Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis at the kids' first day of school at Lambrook

(Image credit: Getty)

The three kids now attend Lambrook School, but at George and Charlotte’s previous school, St. Thomas’s Battersea, parents apparently barely gave Kate a second glance during school drop off and pick ups because, as one parent told The Daily Mail, “no one really gives Kate a second glance when she does the school drop off. We have a Victoria’s Secret model doing the school run, too, and the dads are far more interested in her.”

Kate occasionally feels mom guilt just like everyone else, she revealed on the podcast “Happy Mum, Happy Baby”—“yes, absolutely, and anyone who doesn’t as a mother is actually lying,” she said. She explained that being a parent is “a constant challenge” and that she feels mom guilt when her kids ask her why she doesn’t always drop them off at school: “Even this morning, coming to the nursery visit here—George and Charlotte were like, ‘Mummy, how could you possibly not be dropping us off at school this morning?’ It’s a constant challenge—you hear it time after time from mums, even mums who aren’t necessarily working and aren’t pulled in the directions of having to juggle work life and family life.”

Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis at a movie premiere

(Image credit: Getty)

Kate is supported in her parenting by husband William, and apparently, once the kids are in bed, “William will bring Kate a gin and tonic,” a friend tells People. “They look after each other, but in different ways.” The friend adds that Kate “runs things at home with the kids and the schedules” and “is hugely involved in every single part of their day.”

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.