One summer afternoon, George and Charlotte were running and frolicking on the edge of the polo field where their father, Prince William, was playing in a charity match. While their little brother Louis was left in the care of their nanny Maria Borrallo, their mother, Kate, watched over them in this verdant part of the Costwolds.
In the sun with their carefree bursts of laughter, nothing set the little prince and his sister, third and fourth in the order of succession to the throne, apart from the other children attending the event. Simply dressed in a Zara gown, the Duchess of Cambridge savoured this country escapade, far from the gates of Kensington Palace. To her, these ordinary little joys are priceless.
As mother, I value these moments when I can play outside with my children.
An ordinary childhood
Outdoor activities, visits to natural history museums, arts and crafts (some of which are even given to the Queen as gifts) have been part of George, Charlotte, and Louis' free time since they were old enough to walk. Despite leaving Anmer Hall, their Norfolk manor, in the summer of 2017, the Cambridge couple still want to raise their children as normally as possible. While this education is not unlike that which Diana, a former paediatric nurse practitioner, had chosen for her sons William and Harry, it stands in stark contrast to that of Elizabeth II, who was entrusted to tutors, and Prince Charles, who was sent to boarding school in Gordounstoun, in Scotland.
Kate admitted during an official visit to Luton in August 2016, before adding that the little prince liked to play with spaghetti just as much:
When I make a chocolate cake with George, it's chaos!
The following spring, in an interview with CALMzine magazine, William said:
We want George and Charlotte to be able to express themselves freely, without repressing their emotions.
If like all children of her age, the youngest Cambridge girl is becoming more and more assertive, her older brother can, according to the father who was on Radio 1, be occasionally quite the tyrant, demanding that his parents watch his favourite cartoons with him:
And we have to show our interest in all the characters. Otherwise, he'll have a fit!
School is no picnic for the royal children either
In September 2017, Prince George walked the halls of Thomas's Battersea School for the first time. The Prince even declared with some relief at a cocktail party in Kensington:
George had a great day!
Proud that his eldest son had neither cried nor made a fuss, the Duke of Cambridge still boasted:
Some parents didn't have my luck…
Seeing little George get out of the family Range Rover in the Thomas's Battersea courtyard a few hours earlier, one could have feared the worst. Stiff in his brand-new navy blue uniform, his eyes fixed on his feet and his little fingers clutching his father's hand, the child seemed stressed about joining the joining all the other boys. All the more so as his mother, pregnant with their third child, was absent at the time. In a soft and reassuring voice, his teacher Helen Haslem welcomed him, congratulating him in particular for having brought a backpack like his twenty-one classmates.
Simon O'Malley, the school director, told the other families:
At the request of his parents, the Prince will not benefit from any special treatment.
George Cambridge, the name chosen by William and Kate that he will have for his entire schooling, will thus be able to ‘be himself.’ He is in school with regular children, a big first for the Windsors, however, it is not that socially open. Due to its tailor-made pedagogy, Thomas's Battersea's tuition fees still amount to ‘some’ £20,000 per year. The establishment promises the physical and intellectual development of the children, as well as their autonomy. English, French, computer science, classical dance, physical education, drawing, singing, drama...
Each course, up to the end of primary school, is taught by a specialised teacher, in order to give the pupils a sense of responsibility from a very early age. Politeness and respect, cardinal virtues for every member of the royal family, are obviously not forgotten. At the beginning of lessons, then at the end of the day, the students greet each other with a handshake.
As for mealtimes, a balanced diet is preferred: sugar and salt in moderation, organic food... Admitted to Willcocks Nursery School in January 2018, Princess Charlotte then joined Thomas's Battersea. Her kindergarten, located in the Kensington district, claimed to instil ‘a taste for excellence’ and ‘good manners,’ while ensuring the ‘social and psychological development’ of its pupils.
This education would have certainly pleased Prince Harry, who suffered greatly from the rigid teaching at Eton, a super elitist college where he was a boarder, like his elder brother, in his adolescence. Even more so to his wife, who has had an organic and artistic lifestyle from an early age.