Kate Middleton and Prince William are ready to move on from ‘glorious prison’ of Kensington Palace, say royal experts

ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 17: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in the parade ring during Royal Ascot 2022 at Ascot Racecourse on June 17, 2022 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

LIKE many mums, Kate Middleton is spending the month of August getting her kids ready to return to school.

But it’s not just pencil cases and uniform labels the mum of three will be organising this year, because autumn signals not only a new term for Prince George, nine, Princess Charlotte, seven, and four-year-old Prince Louis, but new beginnings for her and William, too.

The £1,970 Alessandra Rich white-and-brown polka-dot dress Kate Middleton wore to Royal Ascot in June has become impossible to find

Kate’s reaction to Louis when he became restless during the Jubilee celebrations cemented her place in the heart of the nation

The family are making the move to Windsor after one final “normal” summer at their country estate of Anmer Hall in Norfolk. They are believed to have the keys to Adelaide Cottage, a four-bedroom house on the Windsor estate.

Kate’s uncle Gary Goldsmith says: “William and Kate are going to have their hands full this summer as they move home to be nearer the Queen and settle the kids into a new school. But I think they are ready for the next chapter in their lives.”

It’s thought the main reason for their move to Windsor rather than Kensington Palace is not only to give the children more freedom, but also to be closer to the Queen, plus Kate’s parents and siblings.

As well as being there for Her Majesty since the loss of Prince Philip last year, the duke and duchess have also stepped up their roles as the 96-year-old monarch has increasingly been forced to pull out of royal engagements due to mobility issues.

Both Wills and Kate have to be ready to fill in and prepare for the transition within the royal family when Prince Charles becomes king.

Royal biographer and editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, Ingrid Seward, explains: “I think Wills and Kate need space to bring up their children. Kensington Palace is a glorious prison for kids – they want to be able to play football without being watched from behind the gates.

“I think Windsor will be perfect for them, as they will have lots of freedom and they can all be at school together.”

Kate is keen to bring up the kids there as it’s also close to where she grew up in Bucklebury, Berkshire, and where her parents, Michael, 73, and Carole, 67, live in a £4.7million Georgian manor house barely an hour’s drive from Windsor Great Park.

Kate’s sister Pippa and her investment banker husband James Matthews have also just invested £15million in a place in the county, and last year her brother James and his French wife Alizée bought a £1.45million farmhouse in the village of Stanford Dingley, three miles down the road from their parents.

James Matthews also co-owns Bucklebury Farm Park, the safari park and petting zoo, which is a firm favourite of George, Charlotte and Louis.

Of course, a new home means a new school. George and Charlotte have now left Thomas’s Battersea Prep School in south-west London, and will be starting at a new local school in Berkshire this September, alongside younger brother Louis.

The smart money is on the co-educational prep Lambrook School in Winkfield Row, which costs upwards of £4,389 per pupil per term.

Having enjoyed a relatively normal upbringing in Norfolk, it’s inevitable that the children will become more visible following the move, and William and Kate have been preparing them for their role in the public eye.

The young Cambridges were front and centre during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, including enjoying an official visit to Wales in June, and George attended the tennis at Wimbledon with his mum last month.

Kate’s reaction to Louis when he became restless during the Jubilee celebrations cemented her place in the heart of the nation, proving that she faces the same challenges as any mother.

She gave her youngest a stern talking to after he jumped up and down on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, covered his ears due to the noise from the RAF planes overhead, and pulled funny faces and shook his finger at his mum, before placing his hand over her mouth, at the Jubilee Pageant.

Her common touch provoked a swell of support on social media.

Afterwards, she and William gave a special shout-out to the four year old. “Thank you to everyone who turned out to show their gratitude to The Queen and her inspiring 70 years of leadership,” they wrote.

“From the crowds on the Mall to communities hosting street parties up and down the country, we hope you had a weekend to remember. We all had an incredible time, especially Louis…”

Gary says: “Kate has been brilliant in so many ways – as a wife, a mum, a counsel, a partner, an ambassador, a figurehead and a future queen. She never lets anyone down. She shines in every situation, on every stage, and behaves with class. 

“She is already the one we all watch first as a role model. We are all, as a nation, super-proud of her. The royal family is in safe, beautiful and heaven-sent hands. She has got this in both the good times and the bad times.”

In many ways, it is not surprising that Kate is looking increasingly regal, as she has spent exactly half her life in the royal inner circle. She began dating William when she was a 20-year-old student and is now a 40-year-old mother. 

But she has also had the perfect mentor, as the Queen has been quietly guiding her behind the scenes. 

“[Her Majesty] has been very generous in not being forceful at all in any of her views,” Kate revealed in an ITV documentary to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday. “But I feel she’s been there, a gentle guidance, really, for me.”  

From the moment she got engaged to William 12 years ago, Kate has been a global fashion phenomenon, sparking a whole industry analysing and copying what she wears.

She has been responsible for websites crashing as fans try to emulate her regal look, she is credited with a £1billion boost to the economy by various economists, and has regularly appeared in Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list.

Alexandra Richmond, a consumer analyst from market research firm Mintel, actually called the £1billion figure “conservative”, adding: “Kate’s look has something to appeal to everyone.” 

The “Kate effect” began the moment that she and William got engaged. A £310 Libélula coat that she wore to the 2011 wedding of friends Sarah Stourton and Harry Aubrey-Fletcher sold out in hours, and had a waiting list of 300. 

More recently, the £1,970 Alessandra Rich white-and-brown polka-dot dress she wore to Royal Ascot in June has become impossible to find – as has the £1,515 azure-blue polka-dot dress Kate wore to the Platinum Jubilee lunch and to Wimbledon.

However, despite being a fashion icon and a working royal, motherhood is the most important job to Kate, and raising her children will be her enduring legacy, shaped by her research into the early years sector.

She believes that experiences in the early years – from the womb to the age of five – are instrumental in shaping our future lives.

In an interview on Giovanna Fletcher’s Happy Mum Happy Baby podcast, she revealed that her research is what has made her the mother she is. “It’s the simple things that really make a difference,” she said.

“It’s spending quality time with your children. It’s not whether you’ve done every single drop-off and every single pick-up. 

“But actually, it’s those quality moments that you spend with your child where you are properly listening to them, properly understanding what they feel and if things are going wrong, really taking time to think: ‘How as a mother am I feeling? Am I actually making the situation worse for my child because this is bringing up all sorts of things I feel, rather than just focusing on them and how they might be reacting or responding to certain situations?’”

As far as we can see, the future generation of royals are in very good hands.

The Cambridges were front and centre during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations

Raising her children will be Kate’s enduring legacy