Windsor, England — The British royals have their pick of lavish palaces and castles to call home. So, when it emerged that Prince William and his family were leaving their London palace to live in a rural cottage, some might have questioned the decision.
But as CBS News correspondent Ramy Inocencio reports, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridges’ royal relocation away from central London to the relative quiet of Windsor is all aimed at giving their young children a normal life.
Or at least as close to normal as they can muster. Being in the world’s most famous royal family won’t make it easy.
The Cambridges stood center-stage in June as they joined William’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth II for the famous “balcony shot” at Buckingham Palace, as the monarch marked her Platinum Jubilee.
Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Louis, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte, Prince George and Prince William gather on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, London, June 2, 2022 as they watch a flypast of Royal Air Force aircraft.
But now they hope to steal away from the public eye, to whatever extent possible, with the move to Adelaide Cottage. The relatively modest (by royal standards), 200-year-old, four-bedroom home sits on the sprawling grounds of the queen’s Windsor estate.
They’ll pay market-rate rent, and will not have a live-in nanny.
Queen Elizabeth II has lived pretty much full-time at Windsor Castle since the coronavirus pandemic began, and the move to the cottage will give the young royals much easier access to her. As royal expert Roya Nikkhah, the royal editor for The Sunday Times newspaper, told CBS News, that’s likely part of the plan.
“Every big decision that happens in terms of the monarchy, William and his father involved, I think having that proximity – being able to see the queen much more easily, more frequently, you know, a few times a week rather than once a week – is going to be great for both of them,” said Nikkhah.
Kensington Palace, in central London, has been a royal home for more than 300 years and parts of the palace remain private quarters belonging to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, and their three children.
The move may also put William and Kate closer to his brother Harry, and his wife Meghan, if and when they visit the U.K. from their home in California. Harry and Meghan may make use of Frogmore Cottage, their home in Britain, which is also on the Windsor estate grounds.
Will and Kate will keep their 20-room home at Kensington Palace as their official residence, and their 10-bedroom Anmer Hall manor in Norfolk, east of London.
Their children, George, Charlotte and Louis, will start the new school year at the Lambrook Prep School, just a few miles from their cottage. Of note, as students the Cambridge kids will have access to a golf course, scuba diving and beekeeping classes.
One Windsor resident told CBS News it was “great that they’re coming back to Windsor, where it feels like they belong.”
Prince William and Kate’s royal family
The British public is used to seeing the monarchy grow up, from Prince William and Harry’s first days at school with Princess Diana in the late 1980’s, it’s been a rite of passage.
William and Kate’s children Prince George and Princess Charlotte have already followed in the family footsteps in recent years, with images of their first days at school beamed across the world. This move is about them.
“Prince George is going to be king one day,” said Nikkhah. “That’s an enormous thing for anyone who has his childhood. They want to give him the best possible chance of having a normal life before he starts to contemplate that.”
But a royal life will never really be a normal life. School fees for the Cambridges will run close to $25,000 per child, per year, and the fact that they now have three homes, while many Britons are worried about paying for electricity and food in just one, isn’t likely to go down all that well across a country enduring inflation at a 40-year-high.