Rebecca English at the Mail Plus has a lengthy story about the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s big move to Adelaide Cottage. The news of the move has not gone over well this week, although I heard on an American radio station that the Cambridges “won’t have staff at this new home,” which means Kensington Palace’s carefully worded obfuscation has done one thing right. (Note: they will have staff at Adelaide Cottage, the staff simply won’t be “live-in”). KP has also blanketed the British media with the story that this is all about the kids’ school and wanting everything to be perfect for the three Cambridge children because it’s not like there have been serious cracks in the Cambridge marriage for several years now. Some highlights from this Mail Plus story:
Headed to Lambrook: The benefit of a mixed school, boasting just 610 boys and girls aged three to 13, is that all three children can attend together, cutting down the need for separate school runs and security teams.
More about the school: It offers boarding but George, nine, Charlotte, seven, and four-year-old Louis will be day pupils. It boasts of ‘first-class teaching and superb facilities’ including a 25-metre swimming pool, a nine-hole golf course, an Astroturf, squash court and a new £6million Queen’s Building for Information Communications Technology and academic learning. Friends say the Cambridges loved the ethos of the school which is hugely successful but more ‘under the radar’ than others in the area. Many of the pupils go on to public schools such as Eton, for which George is earmarked and where his father and uncle Harry went.
Family balance: The couple’s decision to move to Windsor was driven by the wish to find a balance for their family. They wanted to allow their children the opportunity to enjoy as normal a life as possible while they continue to serve as senior working royals, sources told the Mail.
Normal Keens: ‘Their children are at the heart of every decision they make,’ said one royal insider. ‘The duke and duchess want to give them as “normal” start as is possible and this is their chance to give them that for as long as they can. Kensington Palace is a bit of a goldfish bowl. The children can’t play in the grounds without being seen. They are very fortunate, of course. The duke and duchess are very conscious of that. But they are hopeful this will afford a happy medium between their public and private lives.’
Charitable empire: Their offices and charitable empire will continue to operate out of London, with the couple returning several days a week for work. But to all intents and purposes, Adelaide Cottage will be their main home, day-to-day. One source told the Mail: ‘Kensington Palace will remain their official residence now and in the future. Their office will remain there – private office, press office, the lot. They expect to be in London a great deal still. How many days is yet to be decided. They will need to work out over the next few months how they balance everything. But they lived in Norfolk during lockdown and it still worked. It can be done.’
Kensington Palace, the Forever Home: In 2013 aides even said it would be their ‘forever home’ and somewhere they would live for a ‘long, long time’. Yesterday sources told the Mail that remained true but added their circumstances had changed – they are parents to three young children and are adapting to suit their needs. ‘I think the word forever home has been a bit of a lesson for them. It’s certainly their long-term official residence still. But it’s [also] about evaluation. Things have changed for them as a family since then – they didn’t know what school their children were going to be sent to, for example,’ said a source.
Why they’re keeping Anmer Hall: The Cambridges will also keep on Anmer Hall, the ten-bedroom property in Norfolk gifted as a wedding present by the Queen. The couple adore the house and would have happily brought up their children there but for its distance from London.
Unwelcome criticism about having three homes: ‘They thought long and hard about this and are not unaware [of the criticism]. But they love Anmer, I would say it is the place they actually view as home,’ one friend said yesterday. ‘It’s where they would have brought their family up if the logistics had been different. They are very serious about being senior members of the Royal Family, they want to play a part and this is about finding a compromise that works with their family. It’s about balance and what it the best for their kids while trying to serve as royals. All of this is about them putting their children first. They really are such great parents, George, Charlotte and Louis are the centre of their world.’
No live in staff: With just four bedrooms, the couple will have no live-in staff for the first time, with their nanny, housekeeper and security team living nearby. The Grade II listed property is owned by the Crown Estate and the couple will pay ‘market rent’, sources say.
The Queen put them (Kate) in Adelaide: The Queen and the Prince of Wales have both been ‘very supportive’, the Mail understands. Indeed Her Majesty personally extended the invitation to live at Adelaide Cottage. A source added: ‘It’s not the main factor but clearly their close proximity to the Queen – I’d say it’s a brisk ten-minute walk – will allow them to spent more time with her. The duke adores his grandmother and values her opinion more than ever.’
So they are doing a renovation: Aides stress that any refurbishment needed above and beyond anything required by an ‘ordinary tenant’ would be funded by the couple privately. ‘There are no major costs. They already benefit from having the security in place there at Windsor,’ said one.
A few things – wouldn’t all three kids be able to easily go to Thomas’s Battersea? Wasn’t that the whole reason why the Cambridges chose it in the first place, because it would be easy to have all three kids there? Why, suddenly, is it so important to uproot the kids from a school they liked and put them all in a different school in Berkshire? It’s interesting that Eton is still on the agenda for George too – the kids are obviously quite “Middleton-ized,” but Eton will push George to become more Windsorized. As for their London offices and “charitable empire” – William and Kate barely worked when they (barely) lived in London, so I doubt much will change. Kate will disappear for months at a time and William will pop up here and there. Their charitable empire will continue to grift, skim and misappropriate funds.
As for the ongoing conversation about “why three homes” or “why four homes” or “couldn’t you just give one up” – it’s perfectly clear that Kate would actually prefer to just be in Norfolk full time, doing absolutely no work. At Anmer Hall, she has a tennis court, a pool, unlimited booze, and a home gym. I honestly wouldn’t want to give up Anmer Hall either, especially since millions of pounds were spent on an extensive (and unnecessary) renovation to the grounds and the home. So the question is… why didn’t Kate just argue that she should stay in Norfolk and they could send the kids to a school close to Sandringham? Why go through all of this fuss? It makes no sense unless you consider Adelaide Cottage to be Kate’s separation home, something close to her parents and away from the prying eyes in Norfolk and London.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Instar.