Prince George will soon find out what it’s like to be a big brother, with his mother Kate Middleton due to give birth at any moment. But for this little royal, a sibling will be more than just a playmate; it will also be a source of support and one of the few people who can understand what it’s like to grow up in the royal goldfish bowl.
Royal childhoods have changed radically since Queen Elizabeth was born in 1926. She and her sister, Princess Margaret, were brought up in rigid formality, with nannies and nursery maids looking after them for most of the day and only seeing their parents at breakfast or dinner. The Queen didn’t attend school and was educated at home with private tutors. She was only 25 when she became a monarch and wasn’t able to have the close relationship with her own four children that Prince William and Kate currently enjoy with their son.
Princes William and Harry pictured at their home in Kensington Palace Photo: Getty Images
It was Princess Diana and her down-to-earth parenting philosophy that revolutionized the way royal kids grow up. Although she taught William and Harry to respect their heritage, they were also shown a more casual side of life. They ate at McDonald's, went to the movies at the local theater and enjoyed trips to theme parks.
They were also able to mix with other non-royal children at home and school, and often played with the two sons of their butler Paul Burrell, something that would have been a bit foreign for royals like Prince Charles and Princess Anne.
One thing that remains unchanged though is the support that royal siblings offer each other, from Margaret speaking on the phone to her sister every day to Harry describing William as "my best friend." William and Harry even routinely poke fun at each other in their speeches, with William calling Harry “ginger”, and Harry making fun of William’s receding hairline.
Just how vital these special relationships have been over the years is clear as HELLO! looks back over nine decades of royal childhood.