Prince William and Kate will move with their three children George, Charlotte and Louis to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor and send them to the prestigious £21,000-a-year Lambrook School nearby, it was confirmed today.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are seeking a life away from the ‘fishbowl’ of their current official residence of Kensington Palace in London in a bid to put their children first and give the ‘most normal’ life possible.
The couple have been planning a move to Berkshire since last year and royal aides have now revealed their children will all go to the same school, which is about seven miles away from their new home, from September.
William and Kate, both 40, who have been based at Kensington Palace since 2017, are said to want to give the youngsters a country upbringing and want to be closer to the Duchess’s parents, Michael and Carole Middleton.
A source said: ‘This is very much a decision that two parents have made to give their children the ‘most normal’ start possible. KP can be a little bit of a fishbowl. They wanted to be able to give George, Charlotte and Louis a bit more freedom than they have living in central London. It’s very much a decision that’s been led by the kids.’
The couple, who will also now be closer to the Queen’s private apartments at Windsor Castle, will retain the 20-room Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace as a base in the capital – and this will also be the offices for their staff.
The Cambridges also intend to also keep a third property – their current country home at Anmer Hall on the 96-year-old monarch’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk, which they are expected to still visit there for retreats.
William and Kate are understood to want to be closer to the Queen, who has suffered various health issues over the past year – and this will position them in a new era where they are taking over more important royal roles.
Adelaide Cottage will be William and Kate’s fourth property if including a holiday home in Scotland. William was given the Tam-Na-Ghar cottage on the Balmoral estate by his great-grandmother the Queen Mother in 2002.
Just yesterday, Kate and her children Charlotte and Louis were spotted sitting in economy on a budget flight to Inverness Airport with their nanny and a security team as they travelled to Balmoral to holiday with the Queen.
The Cambridges will use the pretty 19th century Adelaide Cottage as their base after the Queen gave them permission to lease the four-bedroom Grade II listed cottage, which belongs to the Crown Estate. It was built for Queen Adelaide in 1831 and is nestled a ten-minute walk from Windsor Castle in the private Home Park.
William and Kate had been known to have set their heart on the outdoorsy preparatory school Lambrook, with its 52 acres of grounds, for their youngsters where fees will cost William and Kate in excess of £50,000 a year.
Kensington Palace confirmed the family will be moving to Adelaide Cottage before the school term begins.
Prince George, Prince William, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and Kate on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on June 5
William and Kate will move with their three children George, Charlotte and Louis to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor (file picture)
All three children – George, Charlotte and Louis – will be sent to the prestigious £21,000-a-year Lambrook School in Berkshire
A spokesman for the couple said today: ‘The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have today announced that Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis will attend Lambrook School in Berkshire from September 2022.
‘Their Royal Highnesses are hugely grateful to Thomas’s Battersea where George and Charlotte have had a happy start to their education since 2017 and 2019 respectively and are pleased to have found a school for all three of their children which shares a similar ethos and values to Thomas’s.’
Adelaide Cottage had previously been mooted as a home for newlyweds Prince Harry and Meghan in 2018 who were at first living in Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace, before moving to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.
Prince Andrew, who lives nearby at Royal Lodge, was also thought to have had his eye on Adelaide Cottage for his younger daughter, Princess Eugenie, 32, her husband, Jack Brooksbank, and their baby son August.
But it appears first refusal has gone to William and Kate – who had also been looking at Frogmore House and Fort Belvedere on the Windsor estate, before both were considered unsuitable.
At Kensington Palace, which has been their main residence since 2017, their home borders the bustling Kensington High Street – and the palace itself can be seen from Kensington Palace Gardens. It has often been likened to living in a ‘goldfish bowl’.
But their new home at Adelaide Cottage is nestled in the heart of the Crown Estate’s Home Park, with much more scope for horse riding, walking the family dog and playing away from prying eyes.
The move is in keeping of with the desires of Prince William’s late mother, Princess Diana, who is said to have strived for a ‘normal life’ for him and his brother, despite their royal status.
The switch to Windsor also means the Cambridges will be near to the home of the Duchess’s parents, the Middletons, who live 45-minutes away by car in the village of Bucklebury.
William and Kate will retain Kensington Palace’s Apartment 1A, which was refurbished with £4.5million of taxpayers’ money in 2013, as their official residence and their working base, which will continue to house their office staff.
But they will also keep their 10-bedroom Norfolk country mansion Anmer Hall, which was a gift from the Queen, has a swimming pool and tennis court and underwent large-scale building work at their own cost.
Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said: ‘Relocating to Adelaide Cottage in the ultra-private Home Park at Windsor takes away the ‘goldfish-bowl’ aspect of the Cambridge family’s life.
‘Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace is perfect in so many ways but the Duke and Duchess and their children are unable to come and go as they might like or take advantage of the nearby London parks because of the ever-present privacy issues.
‘Logistically, having all three children in the same school makes perfect sense because it means just one school run. With the family in Berkshire the journey will be considerably shorter and easier than the nightmare that was Kensington Palace to Battersea twice a day.
‘It also means that the cost of security, always a contentious topic, is much lower than if Louis was at a different school to his siblings.’
Royal commentator and former BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt added: ‘A fourth home for the Cambridges is a reminder the royals don’t suffer from the cost-of-living crisis and a looming recession in the same way as the rest of us.
‘When taxpayers’ money was spent on refurbishing their apartment at Kensington Palace, Prince William, who campaigns for the homeless, insisted his family planned to stay there for many years to come.’
A royal source said the duke and duchess were very conscious of how their move stands in contrast to the cost-of-living crisis impacting the nation.
Asked whether the couple was mindful of the economic difficulties facing many who would not be able to afford such opportunities, the source said: ‘They absolutely are.
‘It’s something they have thought long and hard about and this is a decision they have not taken lightly.
‘It would have been extremely difficult for them to continue on as senior working royals if they were based in Norfolk.
‘What they have basically done allows them to put the kids first, but also to continue on doing what they do all day, every day.’
William and Kate will pay market value on the property from their own private funds, not from taxpayers’ money via the Sovereign Grant, and will foot their own moving costs.
William and Kate will retain Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace as a base in London, where their staff will be located
The Cambridges also intend to also keep their current country home at Anmer Hall on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk
Adelaide Cottage is seen, circa 1900. It was built in 1831 as a retreat for William IV’s wife Queen Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen
Future king George, nine, and Charlotte, seven have left their current school Thomas’s Battersea in London and four-year-old Louis be starting full-time education.
They will enjoy first class facilities at Lambrook including a swimming pool, sports pitches and new £6 million academic and ICT building.
The day and boarding school offers both weekly boarding and flexi boarding for the older two – where they can opt for a night’s stay as and when they choose, but George and Charlotte will be day pupils for now.
The Good Schools Guide describes how youngsters get to ‘run and run’ in vast grounds with ‘total freedom to explore, provided you’ve got your wellies on’, with Lambrook’s pastoral care described as excellent.
Jonathan Perry, headmaster at Lambrook School, said he looked forward to the Cambridge children starting.
‘We are delighted that Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis will be joining us this coming September and very much look forward to welcoming the family, as well as all of our new pupils, to our school community,’ Mr Perry said.
Ben Thomas, principal of Thomas’s London Day Schools, wished George and Charlotte ‘every happiness and success’ at their new school and thanked them and other leaving pupils for ‘upholding the school’s values and for their many contributions to school life throughout their time at Thomas’s’.
It is the first time Lambrook has been chosen for a future king and his siblings.
William and Kate will be spending in excess of £53,000 a year on their children’s private education.
Fees cost £4,389 a term for Reception to Year 2 pupils such as Louis, £6,448 per term for Years 3-4 like Charlotte, and £6,999 per term for George through Years 5-8.
The bill amounts to £53,508’s worth of fees in 2021-2022, not factoring in any future boarding which costs £1,481 per term per pupil for Y3-8, potential sibling discount if available, fee increases or the cost of uniform or trips.
Adelaide Cottage has been used as a grace-and-favour home for royal staff and family friends in recent years.
It was built in 1831 as a retreat for William IV’s wife Queen Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, and was also known to be a favourite home of Queen Victoria who often ate her breakfast there.
But the most famous former resident is the late Group Captain Peter Townsend, who had an affair with the Queen’s sister Princess Margaret that caused a national scandal. He died in 1995.
Adelaide Cottage features a marble Graeco-Egyptian fireplace and a principal bedroom with a coved ceiling featuring gilded dolphins and rope ornament reused from the Royal yacht Royal George.
It also has seven gated entrances and exits to Windsor Castle so the family can come and go in relative privacy. The cottage had major renovations in 2015, which means the Cambridges would not face a big bill to remodel it.
William and Kate will also give up their live-in Norland nanny, Maria Borrallo, for the first time when they move to Adelaide Cottage.
The couple hired her in 2014 to help look after George when he was aged just eight months – and she has lived with the family for almost nine years. She will however be kept on full-time by the family.
Lambrook School, which has existed 1860, is also where two of Queen Victoria’s grandsons, Prince Christian Victor and Prince Albert of Schleswig-Holstein, were pupils in 1878.
Queen Victoria used to travel from Windsor Castle to Lambrook to watch her grandchildren in plays and cricket matches – and parked her carriage where the new Queen’s building now stands so she could watch from there.
The school on the outskirts of Bracknell is only a 20-minute drive from Adelaide Cottage, and their new home is just a short stroll to see the Queen at Windsor Castle.
A royal source said being able to be close to the 96-year-old monarch was a factor in the move.
Four bedroom detached rental properties in Windsor with substantially less land are currently priced at anywhere between £3,000 to £5,750 a month.
Adelaide Cottage also ensures the family are close to Kate’s parents Michael and Carole Middleton, and sister Pippa Matthews in Bucklebury, Berkshire.
When Harry and Meghan visit Britain next month on a trip from their new home in California, they are expected to stay at Frogmore Cottage – although the couple are unlikely to meet with William and Kate.
Frogmore got its name from Queen Victoria, who described the ‘immense number of little frogs’ as ‘quite disgusting’ when visiting in 1875.
It had a £2.4million renovation paid for by taxpayers in 2018, but Harry and Meghan have since repaid the money.
Members of the royal family have experienced their fair share of ups and downs as pupils of a variety of prestigious establishments.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will have drawn on their own experiences of education when choosing Lambrook as the next school for their three children.
It is the first time a future king and spares to the heir have been signed up for the private day and weekly boarding school near Ascot in Berkshire, which prides itself on its academic success teamed with an outdoor lifestyle.
Prince George and Princess Charlotte began their school days happily at private day school Thomas’s Battersea – a busy, cosmopolitan establishment in south London – with George starting in 2017 and Charlotte in 2019.
The school’s most important rule was to ‘be kind’.
As a toddler, George went to Westacre Montessori School near the Cambridges’ Norfolk home, Anmer Hall, while a young Charlotte went to Willcocks Nursery School, near Kensington Palace, in 2018, followed by Louis in 2021.
As a 14-year-old, Kate withdrew from independent girls’ school Downe House in Cold Ash, Berkshire, after just two terms when she was reportedly bullied.
She started afresh at Marlborough College, a £42,930-a-year co-educational boarding school in Wiltshire, where she went on to blossom, captaining the hockey team and doing well in her exams.
Adelaide Cottage ensures William and Kate are close to her parents Carole and Michael Middleton (left and centre), and sister Pippa Matthews (right, pictured together at Westminster Abbey last December) in Bucklebury, Berkshire.
Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Louis, the Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte, Prince George, and the Duke of Cambridge, on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to view the Platinum Jubilee flypast on June 2
Set in 52 acres of Berkshire countryside, Lambrook School gives its pupils ‘feathers to fly’ and a ‘delicious sense of freedom
The duchess has long campaigned on the importance of a child’s early years and with William on mental health issues.
The duke and duchess previously attended a child mental health conference to learn about issues surrounding the transition years between primary and secondary education.
William’s first experience of school was Mrs Mynor’s Nursery School in west London which he joined aged three.
From the age of four the duke went to Wetherby School, also in west London, before spending five years at Ludgrove School in Berkshire.
William went on to board at Eton College, as did Prince Harry, for five years and it offered him a sanctuary when his parents were in the middle of an acrimonious divorce and provided stability in the difficult years that followed his mother’s death.
His housemaster Dr Andrew Gailey was an important source of support. Dr Gailey’s role earned him an invite to the royal wedding in 2011 and the title of Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO), an honour in the Queen’s gift.
It was Dr Gailey who was cited as influencing William’s university choice, having studied at St Andrews himself.
Kate’s prep school was St Andrew’s School in Pangbourne, Berkshire.
She joined the public school, where fees are now up to £6,845 per term, in 1986 when her family returned to the UK after spending two-and-a-half years in Jordan where she attended a nursery school.
She stayed until she was 13 and was predominantly a day girl but in her later years also boarded for part of the week.
Both William and Kate were academic at school and went on to university, achieving a 2:1 at degree level.
George, Charlotte and Louis’ grandfather the Prince of Wales went to Cheam prep school as a boarder at the age of eight. He went on to have a difficult time at secondary school as a teenager.
Charles was sent to Gordonstoun School in Moray, Scotland, following in the footsteps of his father the Duke of Edinburgh, but was picked on and described his days there as ‘a prison sentence’.
Charles did admit, however, that the school instilled him with self-discipline and a sense of responsibility.
He spent part of the school year in 1966 as an exchange student at the Geelong Church of England Grammar School in Melbourne, Australia – the first member of the British royal family to attend an overseas Commonwealth school.
Gordonstoun is also where Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex were taught.
The Queen, however, was educated at home with Princess Margaret. After her father succeeded to the throne in 1936 and she became the heir, she was taught constitutional history and law. She also studied art and music, and is fluent in French.