Kate And William’s Parenting Pact To Give Charlotte, Louis And George A Balanced (Royal) Childhood

The Cambridges "always make sure one of them is at home for teatime, bedtime, story-telling and bath time"

Prince William Kate Middleton parenting

by Guy Pewsey |
Updated on

It was a rare glImpse into the private life of the Cambridges last week when William and Kate brought their children, George, Charlotte and Louis, to visit the garden co-designed by the duchess at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Formalities aside, the young royals charged around the shrubbery before taking o their shoes and socks to dangle their feet in the stream.

According to royal insiders, William and Kate have a pact to give ‘good parenting an equal footing to royal duty’. ‘As much as possible, they’ll always make sure one of them is at home for teatime, bedtime, story-telling and bath time,' says Katie Nicholl, author of Kate: The Future Queen. ‘So, on Prince Louis’ birthday, William made a point of ensuring his flight was timed so that he could have breakfast with his son before flying off to New Zealand.’ For William, who was affected by the pressures of growing up so publicly, finding this normality is crucial, and Kate shares his keenness to ensure their children have ordinary lives; they go to after-school and sport clubs, and schoolfriends are invited to play dates at Kensington Palace.

The children are remarkably ordinary despite being royal,’ adds Katie. ‘I’ve seen Kate play with her children in the sandpit at Holland Park, and take them for walks around the gardens. It’s important for them to raise their children with an understanding of their HRH status but also have a childhood.’ In fact, Kate told gardener Monty Don at the flower show last week, ‘I learned recently that 90% of our adult brains are developed before the age of five. That’s why I think it’s so important that all of us, whether we’re parents or carers or family members, really engage in quality time with children and babies from a really, really young age.’

It is no wonder, then, that the garden in Chelsea provided a natural habitat to display the family at their most comfortable, as Kate is using gardening to teach the children about responsibility and creativity. 'When it comes to their downtime, it’s outdoors come rain or shine,’ says Katie. ‘Even if it’s raining, they’ll have their macs on and they will be out in the garden. They’ve got their own vegetable and herb plot at Anmer in Norfolk. The children have their own little plots to tend to, so she’s already creating them as gardeners.’ Kate is also meticulous about how much screen time the children get: they are allowed to enjoy favourites like Peppa Pig, but TV time is limited.

Carole Middleton has been crucial in her daughter finding her feet as a thoroughly modern mother. She and George, in particular, enjoy plenty of one-on-one time on days out, and she’s always on hand with advice when Kate needs it. ‘Carole knows how to divvy up her time,’ says royal correspondent Robert Jobson. ‘She’s been a good role model to her daughter by balancing being a family mum with being someone who has got a career as well. I think that’s an important precedent – to keep the balance right.'

READ MORE: See below for 13 times Prince George was the best dressed toddler...


13 Times Prince George Was Britain's Best Dressed Toddler

Prince George1 of 13
CREDIT: Instagram

1. When he tried a more casual look for his third birthday photos

We typically see George dressed up in formal, retro styles like knitted tank tops, smart shorts and knee socks - very sweet, but a little detatched from the average toddler's wardrobe. For official photographs released to celebrate his third birthday, we were pleased to see George dressed in cargo shorts and a striped tee from Brit brand Sunuva, and a very covetable Breton jumper with whale embellishment. Does it come in grown-up sizes?

Prince George2 of 13

2. When he wore his dressing gown to meet the Obamase

What does one wear to meet the President and First Lady of the United States of America? It's a sartorial dilemma that would puzzle even the most seasoned of style icons, but not George. For an evening with Barack and Michelle Obama, the Prince decided to keep it casual in a dressing gown by My First Years. Fair enough, given that he was probably being kept up past his bed time. The towel robe sold out in a matter of hours, but similar styles are still available on the site, priced at around £25. The rocking horse, however, will not be included.

Prince George3 of 13

3. When he was Pippa’s page boy

Leading the pack of page boys at Aunt Pippa's wedding, George was dressed in this charmingly old-fashioned ensemble from Spanish kidswear label Pepa & Co, which has fast become a go-to for the young royals (Princess Charlotte often wears the brand's classic smocked dresses in ditzy floral prints). Gold knickerbockers, a Peter Pan collar and a tiny white basket: it's certainly a capital 'L' Look, but one by which George remians resolutely nonplussed.

Prince George4 of 13
CREDIT: Instagram

4. When he headed off to nursery school

Even royals get their back-to-school gear from John Lewis. For his first day at Westacre Montessori School in Norfolk, the Prince was kitted out in a navy blue quilted jacket with a tartan hood from Britain's favourite department store. The coat was in fact a past season piece, from the brand's AW13 collection, removing the possibility of the usual online stampede to snap up some princely outerwear. Note the backpack in a complimentary shade of sky blue, too.

Prince George5 of 13

5. When he wore a festive tank top

Nothing says 'tidings of comfort and joy' like a festive knit. For official Christmas photos in 2014, the Prince - then just 18 months old - was dressed in a knitted tank top with a guardsman motif by kitsch Brit label Cath Kidston. Already sold out online before the photos appeared, the brand rushed to restock the style, with many shoppers taking to eBay to snap it up. Once again, George - and his cheeky grin - demonstrated that he has just as much fashion klout as his mother.

Prince George6 of 13

6. When he recycled Prince William's old outfit

It's well documented that his mother is a strong advocate of recycling a favourite look, but for last year's Trooping the Colour celebrations, the Duchess (or whoever was in charge of the mini royals' wardrobe) went one step further, dressing George in a light blue romper suit originally worn by Prince William for Prince Harry's christening in 1984.

Prince George7 of 13

7. When he wore classic stripes to meet a bilby

Just like his mum, Prince George is a fan of classic blue and white stripes. He's been pictured in similar styles since, but this stripy polo from Rachel Riley, worn with blue shorts from the same brand for George's encounter with a bilby, is one of our favourites. What is a bilby, you ask? They're small - and sadly endangered - marsupials who live in the Australian desert, and the tiny chap in the picture was named George in the Prince's honour.

Prince George8 of 13

8. When his red shorts nodded to Prince William's childhood wardrobe

The royals love a fashion throwback, and this red shorts and white shirt combination, worn for the christening of Princess Charlotte, is no exception. Eagle-eyed Windsor fans noted that George's outfit was a near-replica of the one his father wore to meet his younger brother Prince Harry for the first time. The modern take on Wills' vintage outfit was the work of Rachel Riley (just like the look seen above).

Prince George9 of 13

9. When he brought back the vintage christening gown

Archbishop of Canterbury? Check. Westminster Abbey? Check. A royal christening is a big deal, and requires an appropriately fancy outfit. Tradition dictates that the baby in question wears this cream lacy robe, a replica of the gown commissioned by Queen Victoria for her oldest daughter's christening in 1841. The original was retired from use in 2004 (having previously been worn by Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Prince William and every other royal born since then), and this replica was also worn by little sis Princess Charlotte for her christening in September 2015.

Prince George10 of 13

10. When he wore crawl-proof dungarees

Even dignified royal babies crawl every once in a while. George's red-and-white striped cropped dungarees are both fashionable and functional - and compliment his mum's classic Breton tee in a nice example of mum-and-baby twinning. Naturally, the Neck & Neck romper suit, initially priced at £24.99, sold out in less than 24 hours - such is the Prince George Effect...

Prince George11 of 13

11. When he accessorised with Nemo

What better way to nail garden party dressing than with an idiosyncratic colour pop in the form of a clownfish bubble dispenser? It's certainly a winning addition to George's usual jumper, shorts and socks combination - and one that seemingly provided the little Prince with hours of fun, too...

Prince George12 of 13

12. When he nailed ski style

For his first ever skiing holiday, George hit the (beginner) slopes in a navy blue winter ensemble, colour-coordinated with his father Prince William. His all-in-one ski suit was from high street outdoor pursuits store Mountain Warehouse, and was teamed with a red knitted bobble hat.

Prince George13 of 13

13. When he colour-coordinated with the rest of the family

For touchdown on the second part of their European tour, the Cambridge family stepped out in varying tones of the blue: from William's navy suit to Kate's significant choice of Prussian blue to Charlotte's cornflower dress and George's pale blue shirt, paired - of course - with navy shorts. Who said diplomatic dressing was just for mum and dad?

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