hellomagazine.comEver wondered what it's like to be a royal parent? Discover how Kate Middleton and Prince William are raising Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis with their parenting tips.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge might be royal, but they are raising their children just like any other parents. From spending quality time with grandparents to enjoying outdoor sports, these royal tots certainly have a special upbringing!
Life as a royal parent looks busy, to say the least - keeping up with public engagements, tours abroad, homeschooling during the lockdown and then the normal mum and dad duties at home. Prince William and Kate certainly have their hands full with Prince George, seven, Princess Charlotte, six, and three-year-old Prince Louis.
Let's take a look at the couple's parenting style...
Date night is important
William and Kate are rarely apart from their children, especially the Duchess who took her longest maternity leave with Louis for six months until autumn 2018. But factoring in some 'alone time' is also very important! The Cambridges went on their first holiday as a family of five in summer 2018, visiting the private island of Mustique.
And during their fun-filled stay, William and Kate managed to take a night off parenting duty and attend a gold-themed party. The Splash of Gold bash was held at Basil's Bar. Fellow revellers revealed to HELLO! that William and Kate attended "on the early side" and looked to be having a great time. Sources said they dressed "island chic" with Prince William sporting a Pinkhouse Mustique shirt to support the local brand. "They were there for the cocktails segment and kept it rather classy," the source said.
When William appeared on That Peter Crouch Podcast in July 2020, he was asked whether he had to persuade George to become an Aston Villa fan like him. He said: “I'm trying not to persuade him to be a Villa fan – I'm letting him choose his own way. It’s about finding what fits for him."
He added: “Previously I was a bit concerned about him supporting Chelsea, but now Frank’s come in I feel the culture's a bit different at Chelsea and I’d be ok with it. I do like the values and the ethos of the club. I want them to look after the players and set a good example to the young fans. I want our children, when they go to the match, to come away loving what they've seen, enjoying it and seeing their role models behave in a way that we'd all want them to."
Kate is very close to her parents Carole and Michael Middleton and the Cambridges often stay with them in Bucklebury, West Berkshire. Businesswoman Carole revealed in an interview in December 2018, that she has as many trees in her house as possible, including in the grandchildrens' rooms: "so that they can decorate it themselves." The Middletons were also on hand to look after George, Charlotte and Louis when their parents competed against one another at the King's Cup sailing regatta and while they were on their royal tour of Pakistan in October 2019.
Royal fans were delighted when William and Kate took George and Charlotte to watch their first football match Norwich City vs Aston Villa in October 2019. The young prince couldn't contain his excitement and punched the air when his dad's team Aston Villa won 5-1 and while William couldn't hide his joy when the Villans were promoted to the premier league in May, he was a little more subdued at that match.
Fans on Twitter believe the Duke told his over-excited son to 'calm down' as Aston Villa netted their fourth goal, but there was a good reason behind it. The Cambridges were sitting in the South Stand at Norwich's Carrow Road football ground, among the losing home fans.
The Duke later spoke about the children's first game in the BBC documentary, Football, Prince William and Our Mental Health. William said he "enjoyed a good weekend of football," during a meeting with the heads of the Football Association, the English Football League and the Premier League at Kensington Palace. When one commented on the Cambridges celebrating Aston Villa's win, William added: "I wasn't celebrating, that was the problem, I was sitting with the home fans. George did my bit of celebrating for me."
During a visit to the Scouts' headquarters in Gilwell Park, Essex, Kate revealed that she would like her children to join the organisation. The mother-of-three learnt about a new pilot scheme to bring Scouting to younger children, and after the engagement, teenage Scout Tahseen Patel revealed: "She was interested in the early years and how you learn things in Scouting that you don't learn in school and elsewhere. And how she wants her children to grow up in the Scouting movement, not just in school, because she tries doing things at home but there's only so much you can do and you need to build relationships with other people." Asked if Prince George had joined the Scouts, Tahseen added: "He hasn't yet, but she said she'd love him to."
They are more privileged than most families, but even royals need help. When George was around six months old, Prince William and Kate hired a nanny, Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo, to help them at home. Maria has since stayed on and has cared for Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, often taking the children to school and going on outings to the park.
William and Kate have also found tremendous support in their parents, especially the Duchess' mum Carole Middleton. When the couple first had George, they spent six weeks at the Middletons' family home in Berkshire where Carole showed her daughter the ropes.
Kate has spoken out about the importance of affection, and how "hugs are very important," after she was greeted by one fan, Janet Emery, during an engagement at Basildon Sporting Centre. Janet went over to hug the Duchess as she came to greet her, and as Kate embraced her, she told her: "Hugs are very important. That's what I tell my children."
Children should spend a lot of time with their cousins
Prince George and Princess Charlotte are often reunited with their cousins Savannah and Isla Phillips. After Trooping the Colour, the young royals were seen playing with each other at the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy. Savannah, the seven-year-old daughter of Peter and Autumn Phillips, was seen keeping a watchful eye over little Charlotte.
Yes, even royals use the iPad to entertain the kids and keep them quiet on long flights! Prince William told Radio 1 that the family watches a lot of children’s programmes - George was a huge fan of Peppa Pig, but he's now moved on to Fireman Sam. And George expects mum and dad to watch the shows with him. "You have to pretend you're really interested in it because George gets very upset if you're not showing due diligence to the characters," William said.
In an open letter to support Children's Hospice Week, published in May 2018, Kate revealed how she cherishes "simple family moments" with her children, such as "playing outside together." She wrote: "Spending quality time together is such an important aspect of family life and for me, as a mother, it is the simple family moments like playing outside together that I cherish."
Kate does the arts and crafts — but William tries to take the credit
The Duchess has an undergraduate degree in history of art, so it's no surprise she’s passing her love for art on to her kids. Kate does a lot of crafts with her little ones and even gives their creations to a certain special lady. William told Radio 1 that George and Charlotte made handmade gifts for their Gan-Gan, the Queen, for her 91st birthday. But Kate was quick to quip, "Are you taking credit for the arts and crafts?" William, looking quite sheepish, said: "This is putting the marriage on the line."
Crafting with kids is definitely messy, but Kate doesn't seem to mind. Along with crafts, she often bakes with George and Charlotte. In August 2016, while in Luton, Kate met teenagers who were making chocolate crispy cakes. She told them: "When I try to do this with George at home, chocolate and the golden syrup goes everywhere. George makes so much mess. It’s chaos."
They want their kids to be cultured
If you visit the Natural History Museum in London, you might run into Kate and the kids. She has taken George on numerous trips to the museum to see all the exhibits. In July 2016, during an official visit to the museum, Kate told a guest: "George loves three-dimensional sculptures. He does come here quite often."
But don't worry, he's still a typical kid. George was once more interested in the pigeons outside the museum than all the amazing artwork inside.
Kensington Palace is an "open" place
The British royals are known for their stiff upper lip and 'keep calm and carry on' attitude. But William, Kate and Prince Harry are trying to change that with their Heads Together campaign, which encourages people to talk about their mental health. Their #OKtoSay campaign is in full effect at the palace, too.
"Catherine and I are clear that we want both George and Charlotte to grow up feeling able to talk about their emotions and feelings," Prince William told CALM magazine.
The internet is their mummy's friend
Who hasn't turned to an online forum to unload their worries? "Should she be walking yet? Why won't he sleep at night?" Kate is no different. She has reportedly used a pseudonym to post questions on sites like Mumsnet and Babycentre on issues she and William differ on - like cartoons before bed.
Kate wants George and Charlotte to have a normal school experience, like she did, and that means she does the school run as much as possible. George started nursery school in 2016, and both mum and dad do drop-offs and pick-ups when they aren't working.
Princess Charlotte joined her big brother George at Thomas's Battersea in West London in September 2019, and William and Kate dropped her off for her first day. She previously attended Willcocks Nursery School in Kensington.
Photo: The Duchess of Cambridge
Bring on the activities
The royal couple are quite active; they sail, they play football, they ski, and they're passing that love of fitness on to their kids. If you are walking in the gardens near Kensington Palace, you may spot George racing around on his scooter, with a helmet on, of course. "He goes super fast on it. It’s hard to keep up with him," Kate said.
George also enjoys fencing (now that's a princely activity!) and football, alhough William admitted that Charlotte is the more skilled footballer. "George is sort of getting into it slowly, but Charlotte is showing more aptitude," the proud dad explained. Charlotte is also a keen horseback rider, just like her great-grandmother the Queen.
Some rules are meant to be broken
William and Kate aren't above breaking some rules. For the first few months of George's life, the couple didn't have a royal nanny. Instead, Kate's mum, Carole, helped them adjust to parenthood. And George didn't even spend his first few weeks in a palace or castle! The new family of three stayed at Kate's family home in Bucklebury.
The most notable tradition Kate and William have broken is sending George to Thomas's Battersea school, where both boys and girls attend. William and Harry both attended Wetherby School, which is an all-boys institution near Kensington Palace. William and Kate are clearly trying to give their kids a very normal upbringing.
The whole world is watching how William and Kate are raising their kids, but the Duke and Duchess don't seem concerned about making sure their kids are perfectly behaved at all times. In fact, they welcome their wild personalities.
Kate has admitted that Charlotte rules the roost at home and hilariously told guests at Buckingham Palace that she didn't bring Charlotte because she would be "running riot." In 2016, William told rugby players that his kids are "Running around, pushing things, jumping. Please tell me it gets easier?"
Privacy is key
The couple are fiercely protective of their children and even issued a letter to the media in 2015, asking them to respect their privacy.
"They want both children to be free to play in public and semi-public spaces with other children without being photographed," a statement from Kensington Palace read. It's understandable that the couple were upset after paparazzi were seen following George and his nanny, going as far as hiding in cars to get photos of the young Prince.
In 2019, the couple planted 40-foot hedges in front of Kensington Palace so that George, Charlotte and Louis can play outside without anyone being able to see them through the gate. At Anmer Hall, the family's country estate, there is a no-fly zone, so helicopters can't take photos of the children. Like all parents, William and Kate do enjoy publicly sharing adorable photos of their kids, but they only do it on big occasions like birthdays or christenings.
Being messy is good
Just before going on maternity leave before the birth of Prince Louis in 2018, Kate revealed that her children love making pizza. The Duchess was visiting St Luke's Community Centre where she helped prepare food for their upcoming Commonwealth Big Lunch.
Speaking to a member, Yolanda from Bolivia, Kate said: "I've done that with George and Charlotte – making pizza dough. They love it because they can get their hands messy." Turning to an interpreter, she continued: "I was just saying how I really enjoy making pizza dough with George and Charlotte because they like getting their hands messy."
Charity work is important
The Duchess of Cambridge has said that her charity work has influenced her parenting style. While talking at the Royal Foundation Forum with husband Prince William, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Kate said: "You can't help but reflect on your own life and it's definitely had an impact on how sort of I look at how I mother, how we work as a family and you know, how we hope to bring up our children."
The more, the merrier
The Cambridge household is pet-friendly (despite the fact that there are many priceless heirlooms around). Before George was born, William and Kate got their dog, Lupo, an English cocker spaniel. He's a beloved member of the family and is in many family pictures, including the first official picture of George after his birth and George's third birthday portraits.
Charlotte is a big fan of the family's other pet, a hamster named Marvin. She likes to rub her face against the hamster and let his whiskers tickle her.