Prince William turns 40 years old on June 21st. In this week’s podcast, I wondered if we would get a full-throttle birthday embiggening, like Kate organized for her 40th. Looks like I’m getting my answer. The headline from the Times was simple enough, about how William is “moving his family to the shires” soon, meaning the Cambridges are moving to Berkshire, which they’ve been talking about for more than a year already. But the Times piece is all about William and his many angry, incandescent emotions and how he’s preparing for the top job or whatever. It’s full of some not-so-interesting quotes which came straight out of the Kensington Palace communications’ office, but there’s some shady sh-t too. Some highlights:
Move to Berkshire: The family is moving from London to Berkshire. Prince George, 8, and Princess Charlotte, 7, will leave their prep school, Thomas’s Battersea, at the end of this term, and are expected to enroll at a private co-educational school in the county that is also home to the duchess’s parents, the Middletons, in Bucklebury, a 45-minute drive from Windsor Castle. Prince Louis, 4, who has acquired new-found fame after his flamboyant display over the Platinum Jubilee weekend, will join them at the new school.
They’re keeping Anmer & KP: Kensington Palace will remain their London home, housing their private and press office, and Anmer Hall, their Norfolk home, will still be used regularly. “They absolutely love it up there, it’s their happy place,” says a friend of William’s. Their future plan is to make Anmer their more permanent base “after the school years”.
So they are getting a place in Windsor: The Cambridges will move to a house on the Queen’s Windsor estate this summer. In time, it is understood they will move into “the big house” as the Prince of Wales does not plan to spend as much time as the Queen at Windsor Castle when he is king. The move will bring a new lifestyle and family dynamic to the Cambridges, who are looking forward to the added freedom for their young children that the vast, secure Windsor estate will provide: “The reality is they are quite confined in what they can do in London,” says a friend. “The kids can’t go into the park and kick a football with friends. Their plan is to be there for the next 10 to 15 years, then move to Anmer, which is so special to them.”
Longing for a different life? Another close friend of William’s says he is “fully accepting of his doing his duty and fulfilling what the public expect of him, without paying too much attention to what he would have liked to have done in another world.”
The future is accelerating: Berkshire is planned as the final move before he gets the top job because “he feels they want to grab that time while they still can”. A close aide: “There is a sense of the future accelerating towards him, which is tinged with profound sadness — though he would never say it publicly — because of the implication that his grandmother would no longer be around, the added pressures on his father and his family being under even more scrutiny.” A friend of William’s adds: “He knows the future [of the monarchy] rests on his, Catherine’s and his kids’ shoulders and that’s a lot of pressure.”
The visibility of the Cambridge children: The Cambridges “appreciate the children have a big role in public life and they felt the jubilee was an appropriate moment for them to be visible, bringing an added nice dynamic which we didn’t all expect”, a reference to Louis’s widely documented high jinks. An aide says the children’s jubilee charm offensive will not be the direction of travel: “As they get older, and for the big family moments, yes, but people shouldn’t expect them turning up to engagements in the coming months.”
Sussex nerves: A friend acknowledges that William was tense ahead of the jubilee and especially during the thanksgiving service — the only event that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex publicly attended — “because he was incredibly worried about having all the family there, and what everyone was going to say. He was so relieved that most of the media made it all about the Queen, Prince Charles and the children — they are the key people — and he was really pleased about that.” But William and Prince Harry spent no private time together over the jubilee, and the broken relationship is not on the brink of being patched up any time soon. Harry and Meghan’s departure from royal life and the ensuing fallout is still raw for William. “He’s still deeply upset about it and feels let down, but he’s moved on,” says a friend.
TikToker Baldemort: A senior aide says: “He is very aware of the need to use new ways of communication and I wouldn’t rule out a Cambridge appearance on TikTok. He understands that a life of public service in the 21st century is going to be done differently to your grandmother and father.”
He can’t wait to get his hands on Duchy money: His next big project will be a push on homelessness, with a long-term initiative launching next year. Aides say his next role as Prince of Wales is also “taking up a lot of his thinking”, as he prepares to take over the Duchy of Cornwall from his father, a 130,000-acre estate generating an annual income of £21 million, which Charles uses to fund himself, the Cambridges and philanthropic work. William is keen to see how the duchy might play a part in his homelessness project, though royal sources stress the estate is “not getting into the business of social housing”.
Diplomat Baldemort: Royal sources say Kensington Palace is “very alive” to positioning William into statesman territory, and his presence at last year’s G7 and Cop26 summits saw him rub shoulders with world leaders. A senior aide says his growing role on the world stage is “incremental” and while “it is important for him, the institution and the UK that he develops the leadership role, he is mindful that he is not the next monarch”. A close friend adds that “he knows it’s not a joint act, and that the Prince of Wales is the prime mover”.
The Times points out that the Keens have a new communications secretary, Lee Thompson, who apparently starts soon. Thompson worked for NBC Universal and they’re putting him in charge of their planned trip to America this fall for Keenshot. A senior aide told the Times that following the Sussexes’ Oprah interview, “We have a US problem.” Yep. And these crusty, incandescent royals are desperate for Americans to love them and be fascinated by them. They’re desperate for American tourism money, American media coverage and American charitable money. Too bad they didn’t think about that when they were running one of the nastiest f–king smear campaigns on an American woman. William “feels let down” because Harry and Meghan exposed him for what he is.
As for the rest of it… the move to Windsor has been previewed endlessly and I can’t wait to learn which fort or palace they ended up getting. Of course they’re “keeping Anmer” and everything else too – I still say that this Windsor home is mostly a place for Kate and the kids, to make it easier for Will and Kate to live separate lives. That the kids are being enrolled in a school close to Carole and Mike Middleton tells you all you need to know, honestly.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Instar.