Prince William and Kate Middleton may be royal, but they are raising their children just like any other parents. The Duke and Duchess, who will soon be parents-of-three, have their hands full with Prince George, four and Princess Charlotte, two. Here is a look at the royal pair's parenting style...
The "Magic Ingredients"
Prince William and Kate Middleton are considering a new way of parenting — inspired by the Swedish lifestyle. During their visit to Stockholm in January of 2018, the royal couple noted the one thing they took away in regard to raising their children. In a speech delivered at an event to celebrate Swedish culture, William spoke about the “magic ingredients” of life in the Scandinavian country.
"One lesson that we will take home with us is that children are actively encouraged to spend time outdoors, whatever the weather,” the Duke said. “This is obviously very good for their physical health but, as we learned this morning at the remarkable Karolinska Institute, it has huge benefits for a child’s mental health as well."
Screen time is allowed
Yes, even royals use the iPad to entertain the kids and keep them quiet on long flights! Prince William told Radio 1 that the family watches a lot of children’s programs—George was a huge fan of Peppa Pig, but he’s now moved on to Fireman Sam. And George expects mom and dad to watch the shows with him. “You have to pretend you’re really interested in it because George gets very upset if you’re not showing due diligence to the characters,” William has said.
Kate does the arts and crafts — but William tries to take the credit
The Duchess has an undergraduate degree in the history of arts, so it’s no surprise she’s passing her love for art on to her kids. Kate does lots of crafts with her little ones and even gives their creations to a certain special lady. William told Radio 1 that George and Charlotte made handmade gifts for their Gan-Gan, the Queen, for her 91st birthday. But Kate was quick to quip, “Are you taking credit for the arts and crafts?” William, looking quite sheepish, said, “This is putting the marriage on the line.”
Crafting with kids is definitely messy, but Kate doesn’t seem to mind. Along with crafts, she often bakes with George and Charlotte. In August 2016, while in Luton, Kate met teenagers who were making chocolate crispy cakes. She told them, “When I try to do this with George at home, chocolate and the golden syrup goes everywhere. George makes so much mess. It’s chaos.”
They want their kids to be cultured
If you visit the Natural History Museum in London, you might run into Kate and the kids. She has taken George on numerous trips to the museum to see all the exhibits. In July 2016, during an official visit to the museum, Kate told a guests, “George loves three dimensional sculptures. He does come here quite often.”
The future King is cultured! But don’t worry, he’s still a typical kid—he was once more interested in the pigeons outside the museum than all the amazing artwork inside.
Kensington Palace is an ”open” place
The British royals are known for their stiff upper lip and keep calm and carry on attitude. But William, Kate and Prince Harry are trying to change that with their Heads Together campaign, which encourages people to talk about their mental health. Their #OKtoSay campaign is in full effect at the palace, too.
“Catherine and I are clear that we want both George and Charlotte to grow up feeling able to talk about their emotions and feelings,” Prince William told CALM magazine.
The Internet is their mommy friend
Who hasn’t turned to an online forum to unload their worries? "Should she be walking yet? Why won’t he sleep at night?" Kate is no different. She has reportedly used a pseudonym to post questions on sites like Mumsnet and Babycentre on issues she and William differ on — like cartoons before bed.
You’ll see them at the school gates
Kate wants George and Charlotte to have a normal school experience, like she did, and that means she does the school run as much as possible. George started nursery school in 2016, and both mom and dad do drop-offs and pick-ups when they aren't working.
Princess Charlotte started nursery school in January of 2018, and mom Kate was there to snap some photos of her newest little student, who is attending Willcocks Nursery School in London
Photo: The Duchess of Cambridge
Bring on the activities
The royal couple are quite active — they sail, they play football, they ski, and they’re passing that love of fitness on to their kids. If you are walking in the gardens near Kensington Palace, you may spot George racing around on his scooter — with a helmet on, of course. “He goes super fast on it. It’s hard to keep up with him,” Kate said.
George also enjoys fencing (now that’s a princely activity!) and football. Though William admitted that Charlotte is the more skilled footballer. “George is sort of getting into it slowly, but Charlotte is showing more aptitude,” the proud dad explained. Charlotte is also a keen horseback rider, just like her great-grandmother.
The more, the merrier
The Cambridge household is pet-friendly (despite the fact that there are many priceless heirlooms around). Before George was born, William and Kate got their dog, Lupo, an English cocker spaniel. He’s a beloved member of the family and is in many family pictures, including the first official picture of George after his birth and George’s third-birthday portraits.
Charlotte is a big fan of the family’s other pet — a hamster named Marvin. She likes to rub her face against the hamster and let his whiskers tickle her.
It’s not surprising that William and Kate are quite traditional parents, especially when it comes to dressing their kids. You’re not likely to find Charlotte in a patterned romper or George in a graphic T-shirt. Instead, the kids wear very traditional British and Spanish clothing for all public appearances.
Kate does this so the kids will still look fashionable when people look at photos 50 years from now. George always wears shorts with knee socks and adorable loafers. The Brits tend to not put their young boys in actual pants (or trousers) until they are around eight-years-old. Charlotte looks adorably prim in smocked dresses and Mary Janes, with either socks or tights.
But some rules are meant to be broken
William and Kate aren’t above breaking some rules. For the first few months of George’s life, the couple didn’t have a royal nanny. Instead, Kate’s mom, Carole, helped them adjust to parenthood. And George didn’t even spend his first few weeks in a palace or castle! The new family of three stayed at Kate’s family home in Buckleberry.
The most notable tradition Kate and William have broken is sending George to Thomas’s Battersea school, where both boys and girls attend. William and Harry both attended Wetherby School, which is an all-boy’s institution near Kensington Palace. William and Kate are clearly trying to give their kids a very normal — almost unroyal — upbringing.
Wild is good
The whole world is watching how William and Kate are raising their kids, but the Duke and Duchess don’t seem concerned about making sure their kids are perfectly behaved at all times. In fact, they welcome their wild personalities.
Kate has admitted that Charlotte rules the roost at home and hilariously told guests at Buckingham Palace that she didn’t bring Charlotte because she would be a “running riot.” In 2016, William told rugby players that his kids are “Running around, pushing things, jumping. Please tell me it gets easier?”
Privacy is key
It’s unlikely that William or Kate have social media accounts where they share photos of their children — they are too afraid that the media will get hold of personal photos. The couple are fiercely protective of their kids’ privacy, even releasing a letter in August 2015, asking the media to leave the kids alone.
“They want both children to be free to play in public and semi-public spaces with other children without being photographed,” a statement from Kensington Palace read. It’s understandable that the couple were upset after paparazzi were seen following George and his nanny, going as far as hiding in cars to get photos of the young Prince.
Recently, the couple planted 40-foot hedges in front of Kensington Palace so that George and Charlotte can play outside without anyone being able to see them through the gate. At Anmer Hall, the family’s country estate, there is a no-fly zone, so helicopters can’t get photos of the children. Like all parents, William and Kate do enjoy publicly sharing adorable photos of their kids, but they only do it on big occasions like birthdays or christenings.