Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis Doing a Mandatory Stint In the Armed Forces If National Service Passes Would Be “Good for Them,” Royal Expert Says

If National Service passes in the U.K.’s general election on July 4, it will mark the first time the country has had compulsory service since 1960.

Princess of Wales, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis
(Image credit: Getty)

As Marie Claire reported last week, if the Conservative Party’s plan to reinstate National Service in the U.K. passes following the country’s general election on July 4, royal children like Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis would not be exempt from it. If passed, all 18-year-olds in the U.K. will be required to take part in at least a year of service, including serving in the Armed Forces or through volunteer work.

The Wales family of five at Easter Sunday service

If National Service passes, royal children will not be exempt from the requirement, the Conservative Party clarified.

(Image credit: Getty)

Following Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s announcement about the plan, the Conservative Party confirmed to The Telegraph that all children in the British royal family—from the Wales trio to the children of Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, Zara Tindall, and Peter Phillips—would not be exempt from this requirement and would be required to serve, just like everybody else.

According to royal expert Richard Kay of The Daily Mail, this isn’t a bad thing: “We can confidentially [sic] expect that George and Louis, at some stage, will do some form of military service,” he said, per The Daily Mail. “Prince William did. Prince Harry did, and, of course, the King did. I think it is a tradition that will continue.” He added further that such service would “be good for them.” 

The Wales family on the kids' first day of school at Lambrook

The first of the Wales trio to turn 18 will be George, who will turn the milestone age in July 2031.

(Image credit: Getty)

Speaking on the podcast “Palace Confidential,” royal expert Charlotte Griffiths said that the royal family would view such service as “a rite of passage” for George, Charlotte, and Louis. “It would be a really nice way to introduce royals to working royal life,” she said. “This whole thing is a bit of a hypothetical date,” she continued, as it should be noted that George would, obviously, be the first of the Prince and Princess of Wales’ three children to turn 18, which he will do in July 2031. (Charlotte will follow a year later in May 2032, and then Louis in April 2035.) Griffiths added that “the royal family have a longstanding policy of being down to earth and doing as the general population do.”

Prince William and Prince Harry

William and Harry, seen here in 2009, both served in the Armed Forces, as did their father, King Charles, and their grandmother, Queen Elizabeth.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Take a page from then Princess Elizabeth, who made history as the first female in the royal family to become a full-time member of the armed services when she joined up in World War II, persuading her reluctant father King George VI to let her join the military and ultimately signing on with the Auxiliary Territorial Service, where she became a vehicle mechanic. (Seriously—what a woman.) Since then, then Prince Charles served in the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy from 1971 to 1976; both of his sons also served, and both Prince William and Prince Harry attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. William went on to serve with the Blues and Royals before working as a search and rescue helicopter pilot, and Harry served in the Blues and Royals, as well, and was deployed to Afghanistan twice.

“I think the young royals would like to do it, actually,” Griffiths said. “I would love to see them. I’d love to see Princess Charlotte one day when she’s 18 doing some military service or volunteering for the NHS ward. It would be great.”

Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis at the Coronation Big Help Out

A royal expert said the Wales kids serving as a part of National Service would be "good for them."

(Image credit: Getty)

Under Sunak’s plan, 18-year-olds would be expected to choose between military service and volunteer work, which could include helping local fire, police, and ambulance services. According to The Daily Mail, “The most recent form of compulsory national service in the U.K. was abolished in 1960, and required all physically fit male British citizens aged between 18 and 26 to serve in the armed forces.”

The first royal family member to potentially take part in the revived National Service is actually one of Queen Elizabeth’s grandchildren, not her great-grandchildren; the youngest of Her late Majesty’s eight grandchildren is James, Earl of Wessex, the son of the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, Prince Edward and Sophie. He is currently 16, and will turn 18 in December 2025.

James, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh

James, Earl of Wessex and his mother Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, at the royal family's Easter service in March.

(Image credit: Getty Images)
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.