UK's Prince William and Kate to move out of London to 'put children first'

Royal couple will move to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor’s Home Park, with the children able to attend the same school near Ascot for the first time

Prince William, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in June. AP
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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are set to move their family to Windsor, with Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis all starting at the same new school.

The royal couple are moving to the 19th-century Adelaide Cottage, in Windsor’s Home Park, and the children will join a co-educational preparatory school, Lambrook, near Ascot in Berkshire in September.

Prince William and Kate are seeking a life away from their official residence at Kensington Palace in London in a move to put their children first and give them more freedom.

They had been known to have set their heart on Lambrook, with its 52 acres of grounds, for their children, where the fees will cost them in excess of £50,000 ($59,000) a year.

Queen Elizabeth II gave the couple 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 only a 10-minute walk from Windsor Castle. A royal source said being able to be close to the Queen, 96, was a factor in the move.

A watercolour picture of Adelaide Cottage from 1839 by Caleb Robert Stanley. Photo: The Royal Collection

Kensington Palace said that the couple were “hugely grateful” to Thomas’s Battersea Prep School, where Prince George and Princess Charlotte had a “happy start to their education”, and were “pleased to have found a school for all three of their children which shares a similar ethos and values to Thomas’s”.

The family will be moving before the school term begins, Kensington Palace said.

“This is very much a decision that two parents have made to give their children the ‘most normal’ start possible,” said the royal source.

“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 is very much a decision that has been led by the kids.”

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William and Kate will retain Kensington Palace’s Apartment 1A, which was refurbished with £4.5 million of taxpayers’ money in 2013, as their official residence and their working base. The apartment 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 a tennis court, and underwent large-scale renovations at their own cost.

The downsizing to Adelaide Cottage, which is not considered vast, means William and Kate’s full-time nanny Maria Borrallo will live elsewhere for the first time, as will other staff including the housekeeper and the chef.

Asked whether the couple was mindful of the economic difficulties facing many who would not be able to afford such opportunities amid a cost-of-living crisis, the source said “they absolutely are”.

“It is something they have thought long and hard about, and this is a decision they have not taken lightly,” the source said.

“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.”

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Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said the decision had many benefits for the family.

“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,” said Mr Little.

He said having all three children at the same school made sense and would remove the “nightmare” journey from 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,” Mr Little said.

But royal commentator and former BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt highlighted the three properties now at the couple’s disposal amid the cost-of-living crisis.

“A third 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,” said Mr Hunt.

“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.”

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It had long been reported that Prince William had been given a cottage called Tam-Na-Ghar by the Queen Mother on the Balmoral estate.

However, Kensington Palace said he did not lease or own the house as it belonged to the Crown Estate and was leased to a third party.

Campaign group Republic branded the decision “disgraceful”.

“All these palatial homes require round-the-clock protection, heating and staffing,” said the group's chief executive, Graham Smith.

He said the Crown Estate was “a state-owned property empire that is supposed to make money for the treasury”.

“While ordinary households are struggling with their energy bills and facing crippling inflation, why are we giving yet another home to William and Kate? This is disgraceful,” said Mr Smith.

The couple will reportedly pay market value rent on the property from their own private funds, not from taxpayers’ money via the Sovereign Grant, and will foot their own moving costs.

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Prince George, 9, and Princes Charlotte, 7, have left Thomas’s Battersea prep school in London while Prince Louis, 4, will be starting full-time education.

They will enjoy first-class amenities at Lambrook, including a swimming pool, sports pitches and a new £6 million academic and ICT building.

The 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 Prince George and Princess Charlotte will be day pupils for now.

The Good Schools Guide describes how children 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, said we “very much look forward to welcoming the family, as well as all of our new pupils, to our school community”.

Ben Thomas, principal of Thomas’s London Day Schools, wished Prince George and Princess Charlotte “every happiness and success” and thanked them 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.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be spending more than £53,000 a year on their children’s private education.

Fees cost £4,389 a term for Reception to Year Two pupils such as Louis, £6,448 per term for Years Three and Four such as Charlotte and £6,999 per term for George, through Years Five to Eight.

The bill amounts to £53,508’s worth of fees for the 2021-2022 academic year, not factoring in any future boarding, which costs £1,481 a term per pupil for Years Three to Eight, as well as potential sibling discounts, if available, fee increases or the cost of uniform or trips.

The school, on the outskirts of Bracknell, is only a 20-minute drive from Adelaide Cottage.

Adelaide Cottage used to be the grace-and-favour home of equerry Group Capt Peter Townsend, whose love affair with Princess Margaret caused a scandal in the 1950s.

Four-bedroom detached rental properties in Windsor with substantially less land are currently priced at anywhere between £3,000 to £5,750 a month.

The location also ensures the family are close to Kate’s parents Michael and Carole Middleton, and sister Pippa Matthews in Bucklebury, Berkshire.

Updated: August 23, 2022, 5:11 AM