Picturesque village

The Cambridges do Windsor – inside the Royal Family’s big move

There’s only one thing the Duke of Cambridge wants for his 40th birthday next week: to leave the Big Smoke behind and move all of his brood to the wide open counties – or Berkshire, to be precise. After months of speculation, it has been confirmed that the Cambridges will be moving to the Windsor Estate this summer, settling in the modest four-bedroom Adelaide Cottage, just 10 minutes’ walk from the Queen’s private apartments. The big move is believed to have been sparked by William’s milestone birthday, as well as the Cambridges wishing they had more space for the children – the family were spotted happily frolicking in the bucolic Windsor Estate at the weekend recently , with their Pet Spaniel Orla in tow.

The move makes sense. According to royal correspondent Katie Nicholl, the couple are not ‘Londonians’ and are fed up with the traffickers’ school run from their Kensington Palace home to Thomas’s Battersea, the school George and Charlotte will leave at the end of this trimester. They also feel they lack privacy at the palace, which has been dubbed the “royal commune” due to the fact that several other family members also rent apartments there. As for their current country bolthole, Anmer Hall in North Norfolk, it’s considered too far from Royal HQ and Kate’s close-knit family to be of much use.

Her parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, live just 45 minutes’ drive from Windsor in the picturesque village of Bucklebury, close enough to help with school runs or drop by for cozy cooking suppers. “It would definitely be a draw for Kate, given how close she is to her parents and how much her childhood grew up there,” a well-placed source said. Brother James and his wife Alizée Thevenet live on a £1.45million farm on the outskirts of Bucklebury, while sister Pippa and her husband James and their two children will be close enough for weekend games in their £17m Chelsea townhouse.

Moving west allows the couple to transition seamlessly between work and home, while allowing them to maintain greater separation between these two worlds – something that has long been considered vital to their happiness as than family. Then there’s the fact that they’re reportedly so close to the Queen, who made Windsor Castle her permanent base earlier in the year, as well as other family members. Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank live at Frogmore Cottage, Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex are at Bagshot Park, and Princess Anne and Prince Charles are on the M4 in Gloucestershire. They could also be keeping a close eye on Prince Andrew, who lives just around the corner at the Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their 10th birthday

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The House

Adelaide Cottage, nestled in the heart of Home Park, is one of the humblest properties on the Queen’s sprawling estate, but the ever-practical Cambridges would have chosen it because of its low-key nature and, above all, its the fact that he is ready to move in immediately (the family is adamant that they want to move in this summer, before the start of the new school year). It was fully modernized in 2015, so unlike Frogmore Cottage, which Harry and Meghan controversially renovated using around £2.4m of taxpayers’ money (which they later repaid), it doesn’t will not require costly refurbishment – ​​another big plus for both William and Kate, who would be keen not to be a burden on the taxpayer.

Built in 1831 for Queen Adelaide, the wife of William IV, the house has been used as a ‘grace and favour’ residence for royal friends for the past 60 years, and was once the home of Group Captain Peter Townsend – who had a famous affair. with the Queen’s late sister, Princess Margaret.

While the chalet itself is decidedly understated, it has some regal touches. The master bedroom is said to feature golden dolphins and rope decorations on the ceiling, recycled from a 19th century royal yacht, while the house also has a Greco-Egyptian marble fireplace.

With seven gated entrances, it also offers the utmost privacy. With just four bedrooms, this is a considerable reduction from the 10-bed Anmer Hall, but there will be plenty of space for the family of five as they will not have live-in staff.

The cottage could be considered a sort of freestone estate, as it is understood that in time the whole family will move into “the big house”, as the Prince of Wales plans to spend most of his time at the Buckingham Palace rather than Windsor Castle. when he is king. Meanwhile, Kensington Palace will remain the Cambridges’ London home, as well as their private and press offices, as they continue to make regular visits to their Norfolk retreat in Anmer, which a close friend has described as ” the family’s happy place. . The Cambridges are said to love it so much that they are even considering making it their permanent home once the children leave school.

Duke of Cambridge, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis

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school

Which school the couple chooses to send their children to will be one of the most important decisions, not one they take lightly. “Our extensive spy network tells us that during the school year the Cambridges have been diligently doing their school research in the South East,” says Teddy Wolstenholme, editorial director of Talk Education and former editor of the Tatler. Guide to schools. For prep schools, the latest news on the vine is that the three children are due to start feeding Lambrook near Ascot in September, which William and Kate visited earlier in the year. “There was a rush to join the parents’ association so they could all befriend Kate,” a well-placed local source reveals. The couple also watched Elstree and Papplewick during their research. “A student at Papplewick was asked by Kate if he liked Harry Potter because she said her son was a fan,” Wolstenholme explains.

Marlborough is the favorite to educate them when they are older – Kate was prefect there and on the couples’ recent Caribbean tour she told Jamaican politician and old Marlburian Mark Golding: “I loved my time there- down.

The mixed school is said to appeal as the couple are keen to keep all their children together, although Wolstenholme warns it may not be a shoo as “Kate and William might prefer a school which offers more flexibility in terms of of boarding school”. Eton is also thought to be on their list. “Although we don’t yet have any confirmed sightings of them visiting grammar schools, Eton will be a strong contender for the princes,” Wolstenholme said. “It’s also within walking distance of Windsor Castle, which would make school quite seamless.”

Prince Louis, Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte, Prince George and the Duke of Cambridge on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch the Platinum Jubilee flypast

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The social set

While in the past the Green Wells Brigade might have viewed this corner of Berkshire as horribly cheesy and not a suitable countryside, it now has its own thriving social scene, filled with royals, aristos and prominent celebrities. Carole and Michael Middleton started the trend in the late 70s, when they moved there before their eldest daughter was born in 1982, and the big and the good followed suit. Amal and George Clooney have a £12million riverside mansion in Sonning, while family friend Sir Elton John has a home in Old Windsor. Also local are Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin.

Meanwhile, socialite Sabine Getty and her husband Joseph are known to gather a glamorous weekend crowd at Wormsley, their estate in the Chilterns, where guests range from Princess Beatrice to Charlotte Dellal. And having grown up nearby, Kate will also know all the main landed families in the area to watch out for, such as the Oppenheimers at Waltham Place near Maidenhead, which they run as an organic biodynamic farm, and the Benyons at Englefield House, where La Kate’s sister, Pippa, married James Matthews in 2017.

Charlotte, Louis and George

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The lifestyle

The area around Windsor offers the happy medium between the relatively enclosed London life of the Cambridges – at present eight-year-old George has to bounce off the walls of Kensington Palace – and the rural wilderness around Anmer Hall. While in Norfolk the family is known to enjoy laid-back pub lunches (they were once mocking burgers at a local beer garden), and there are plenty of charming pubs in Berkshire where Sunday family lunches are a huge draw. The Middleton family have been known to frequent the Pot Kiln in Frilsham for years, but locals say the best food is at the Old Boot Inn in Stanford Dingley. As for high-end dining options, the couple are spoiled for choice when it comes to Michelin-starred restaurants, with the Roux family’s Waterside Inn and Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck a 15-minute drive away in Bray. There’s always fun on the river, too, especially since Soho House has set up a safari tent in the grounds of the Oakley Court Hotel in Windsor, which gets packed every weekend.

Kate will likely be heading to one of the very popular Coppa clubs in the area for a mid-week exercise class. Local mums love to paddleboard from the Streatley-on-Thames branch, which also has its own riverside yoga hut. William can also get back into polo, with regular playoffs at Guards Polo Club and Royal Berkshire Polo Club, while there are plenty of smart golf clubs, the best being Sunningdale and Wentworth.

Summers are likely to be spent in nearby Coworth Park, where the kids can play tennis, swim and go horseback riding, while Kate relaxes at the spa or the muddy and welcoming Barn Café. As for outdoor activities for children, they can stay in the family at Bucklebury Farm, which Pippa has just purchased. George, Charlotte and Louis can run with their cousins ​​- Arthur, three, and Grace, one – explore the giant deer park, take tractor rides and feed the dwarf goats, Shetland ponies and Berkshire pigs from rare breed. So far so idyllic – if the kids weren’t too sure they would leave their comfortable life in London behind, an afternoon spent bottle-feeding baby lambs might just soften the blow.