The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are moving to Adelaide Cottage. We’ve known that they would move to the Windsor/Berkshire area for more than a year now. They started publicly lobbying for a royal property in the early summer of 2021. It felt weird, even back then, that they suddenly hated Kensington Palace and Anmer Hall and they were just desperate for a country estate closer to Carole Middleton. Of course, when everything was said and done, I think the reason why they had to lobby so hard was because the move is for Kate and the children and NOT William. No one wanted to give Kate a fort or a palace or some grand royal estate. Thus, the move to Adelaide Cottage. Omid Scobie’s Yahoo UK column this week is about the move and what it means. Scobie is, as always, a magnificently shady B. Some highlights:
When they moved into Kensington Palace: There was understandably some controversy when it was revealed that the move would also be coming with an eye-watering renovation bill to be picked up by the British taxpayer. Neglected and run-down, Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace required a number of major changes and updates for it to be brought up to liveable standards (and allow the couple to add their own personal touches). In 2014, the Sovereign Grant confirmed that it cost over $5.4 million (£4.5m) to complete.
A necessary investment: At the time, press aides told outlets, including myself, that the costs were a necessary investment as the couple planned to use the property as a permanent base to work and raise a family. This house, they assured, would be their forever home. Though the Cambridges had another residence in Norfolk—a property on the Sandringham Estate for school holidays and escaping the city—the $1.8 million (£1.5m) renovation costs for Anmer Hall, a wedding gift from the Queen, were all paid for privately.
The new driveway: In 2019, the duke and duchess added a further $1.2 million (£1 million) to their Sovereign Grant-funded renovation costs at Kensington Palace by installing a new driveway. It was a figure that left many scratching their heads, but was mostly ignored by sections of the press who were more focused on how much Harry and Meghan would be spending on their new crib.
The move to Windsor: Despite the palace promise, the Cambridges’ time at “KP” has come to an end after nine years. Later this month they will move to a new abode in Windsor, for a life “away from the goldfish bowl” in London and what a source tells me is an effort to give their children “as normal a life as possible”. It’s a decision that has raised a few eyebrows, particularly at a time when the country is dealing with a major cost of living crisis. Picking up a third home, especially when one of them cost the public so much to renovate, is hardly the norm for regular folk.
Adelaide isn’t costing the taxpayers anything?? Still, Adelaide Cottage comes at no expense to anyone but the couple, I’m told. Rather than buy, the couple have chosen to privately rent. Any desired cosmetic work or refurbishments will be paid from their own pockets. (It remains to be seen how the duke and duchess will travel to and from London—their love for helicopter trips, which the British press prefer to turn a blind eye to, are not just an unfair cost to the public but also go completely against William’s environmental concerns).
They wanted to get the kids out of London. “They thought about moving to [their home in] Norfolk, but as active senior working royals they could never be that far away from London, so that’s where Windsor came into the picture,” says the source.
Their staff accommodations will be paid by the Cambridges?? The move to a smaller property will also see the end of live-in staff. Full-time nanny Maria Borallo, their housekeeper and chef will all receive private accommodation elsewhere on the estate—paid for by William and Kate.
So where does that leave Kensington Palace? When the Sussexes announced they would be keeping Frogmore Cottage as their British base after moving to California, the chorus of fury across the British press was loud. This time, not so much. Perhaps it helps that Apartment 1A will still play a significant role. As well as being home to their official offices, William and Kate will regularly be in and out of their London base (their diaries for the rest of the year, at least, are early proof of that). It’s also the home where the couple plan to return to when their children grow up. “Apartment 1A,” says a palace source, “will always be their official residence.”
The last line of Scobie’s piece is “After all, with an increasing number of eyes on the monarchy and its future in Britain, the gaze is stronger than ever before.” As in, people have their eyes on the Cambridges’ living situation. People know that something is up. People are biding their time to speak about it publicly. Love that Scobie points out that William and Kate are trying to have it both ways – they’re so keen and frugal for not burdening the taxpayer with the cost of their third home AND don’t worry, they’ll still use KP constantly! Which is true, if our theories are correct: William will be in London most of the time, so KP will be in use and the taxpayer-funded renovation isn’t a “waste.” And Kate will have full use of her separation cottage with the children. It’s also interesting that the Cambridges are technically “renting” Adelaide Cottage, and that they’re “paying” to house their staffers within the Windsor complex too. I wonder who’s paying for all of that? Charles, most likely. Which is probably why Charles turned down their lobbying for bigger properties too.
Photos courtesy of Instar.