William and Kate to move to Windsor to ‘put George, Charlotte and Louis first’

William and Kate to move to Windsor to ‘put George, Charlotte and Louis first’

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are to embark on the next major phase of their life by moving their family to Windsor, with Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis all starting at the same new school.

William and Kate will set up home in Adelaide Cottage in Windsor’s Home Park, and the children will join the co-educational private Lambrook School near Ascot in Berkshire in September.

The duke and duchess are seeking a life in the country away from the goldfish bowl of their official residence Kensington Palace in west London in a bid to put their children first and give them more freedom.

They had been known to have set their heart on outdoorsy prep school Lambrook, with its 52 acres of grounds, for their youngsters where fees will cost William and Kate in excess of £50,000 a year.

The family will use the pretty 19th century Adelaide Cottage as their base after the Queen gave them permission to lease the four-bedroom Grade II listed cottage, which belongs to the Crown Estate.

It was built for Queen Adelaide in 1831 and is nestled just a 10-minute walk from Windsor Castle in the private Home Park.

Kensington Palace said in a statement that the duke and duchess were “hugely grateful” to Thomas’s Battersea where George and Charlotte had a “happy start to their education” and were “pleased to have found a school for all three of their children which shares a similar ethos and values to Thomas’s”.

Platinum Jubilee
Prince George, the Duke of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and the Duchess of Cambridge during the Platinum Jubilee (Chris Jackson/PA)

Kensington Palace confirmed the family will be moving to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor’s Home Park before the school term begins.

A royal source said: “This is very much a decision that two parents have made to give their children the ‘most normal’ start possible.

“KP can be a little bit of a fishbowl.

“They wanted to be able to give George, Charlotte and Louis a bit more freedom than they have living in central London.

“It’s very much a decision that’s been led by the kids.”

William and Kate will retain Kensington Palace’s Apartment 1A, which was refurbished with £4.5 million of taxpayers’ money in 2013, as their official residence and their working base, which will continue to house their office staff.

Prince Harry engagement
Kensington Palace will remain their official working residence (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

But they will also keep their 10-bedroom Norfolk country mansion Anmer Hall, which was a gift from the Queen, has a swimming pool and tennis court and underwent large-scale building work at their own cost.

The downsizing to Adelaide Cottage, which is not considered vast, means William and Kate’s full-time nanny Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo will live elsewhere for the first time, as will other staff including the housekeeper and the chef.

The source said the duke and duchess were very conscious of how their move stands in contrast to the cost-of-living crisis impacting the nation.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games – Day Five
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Commonwealth Games (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Asked whether the couple was mindful of the economic difficulties facing many who would not be able to afford such opportunities, the source said: “They absolutely are.

“It’s something they have thought long and hard about and this is a decision they have not taken lightly.

“It would have been extremely difficult for them to continue on as senior working royals if they were based in Norfolk.

“What they have basically done allows them to put the kids first, but also to continue on doing what they do all day, every day.”

Platinum Jubilee
Prince George, Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte and the Duchess of Cambridge during the Trooping the Colour ceremony during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations (Adrian Dennis/PA)

Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said the decision had many benefits for the family.

Mr Little said: “Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace is perfect in so many ways but the duke and duchess and their children are unable to come and go as they might like or take advantage of the nearby London parks because of the ever-present privacy issues.”

He added that having all three children at the same school made sense and would remove the “nightmare” journey from Kensington Palace to Battersea twice a day.

“It also means that the cost of security, always a contentious topic, is much lower than if Louis was at a different school to his siblings,” Mr Little said.

Royal move to Windsor
George, Charlotte and Louis’ new school Lambrook School near Ascot in Berkshire (Lambrook School/PA)

But royal commentator and former BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt highlighted the three properties now at the couple’s disposal amid the cost-of-living crisis.

Mr Hunt said: “A third home for the Cambridges is a reminder the royals don’t suffer from the cost-of-living crisis and a looming recession in the same way as the rest of us.

“When taxpayers’ money was spent on refurbishing their apartment at Kensington Palace, Prince William, who campaigns for the homeless, insisted his family planned to stay there for many years to come.”

It had long been reported that William had been given a cottage called Tam-Na-Ghar by the Queen Mother on the Balmoral estate, but William does not lease or own the house – it is owned by the Crown Estate and leased to a third party, Kensington Palace said.

Republic branded the decision “disgraceful”.

Graham Smith, chief executive of the campaign group, said: “All these palatial homes require round-the-clock protection, heating and staffing.”

He said the Crown Estate was “a state-owned property empire that is supposed to make money for the treasury”.

Mr Smith added: “While ordinary households are struggling with their energy bills and facing crippling inflation, why are we giving yet another home to William and Kate? This is disgraceful.”

William and Kate will pay market value rent on the property from their own private funds, not from taxpayers’ money via the Sovereign Grant, and will foot their own moving costs.

Future king George, nine, and Charlotte, seven have left their current school Thomas’s Battersea in London and four-year-old Louis be starting full-time education.

ROYAL Cambridge
The location of Adelaide Cottage and Lambrook School (PA Graphics/PA)

They will enjoy first class facilities at Lambrook including a swimming pool, sports pitches and new £6 million academic and ICT building.

The day and boarding school offers both weekly boarding and flexi boarding for the older two – where they can opt for a night’s stay as and when they choose, but George and Charlotte will be day pupils for now.

The Good Schools Guide describes how youngsters get to “run and run” in vast grounds with “total freedom to explore, provided you’ve got your wellies on”, with Lambrook’s pastoral care described as excellent.

Jonathan Perry, headmaster at Lambrook, said we “very much look forward to welcoming the family, as well as all of our new pupils, to our school community.”

Ben Thomas, principal of Thomas’s London Day Schools, wished George and Charlotte “every happiness and success” and thanked the pair for “upholding the school’s values and for their many contributions to school life throughout their time at Thomas’s”.

It is the first time Lambrook has been chosen for a future king and his siblings.

William and Kate will be spending in excess of £53,000 a year on their children’s private education.

Fees cost £4,389 a term for Reception to Year 2 pupils such as Louis, £6,448 per term for Years 3-4 like Charlotte, and £6,999 per term for George through Years 5-8.

The bill amounts to £53,508’s worth of fees in 2021-2022, not factoring in any future boarding which costs £1,481 per term per pupil for Y3-8, potential sibling discount if available, fee increases or the cost of uniform or trips.

The school on the outskirts of Bracknell is only a 20-minute drive from Adelaide Cottage, and their new home is just a short stroll to see the Queen at Windsor Castle.

Royal Windsor Horse Show
The Queen lives just a 10-minute walk from Adelaide Cottage (Steve Parsons/PA)

The source said being able to be close to the 96-year-old monarch was a factor in the move.

Adelaide Cottage used to be the grace-and-favour home of equerry Group Captain Peter Townsend whose love affair with Princess Margaret caused a scandal in the 1950s.

Four bedroom detached rental properties in Windsor with substantially less land are currently priced at anywhere between £3,000 to £5,750 a month.

The location also ensures the family are close to Kate’s parents Michael and Carole Middleton, and sister Pippa Matthews in Bucklebury, Berkshire.