Royal author Katie Nicholl reveals all about the life of Princess Charlotte so far – having recently turned two – and the family’s move to London
When Princess Charlotte turned two, the young royal’s birthday was marked in the manner we have come to expect of the Cambridges – without fuss or fanfare. The toddler princess, who has been deliberately kept out of the spotlight since her birth, enjoyed a low key tea party at the family’s home in Anmer, Norfolk.
Surrounded by presents and those closest to her – namely the Middletons, who have played a vital role in Charlotte’s early years – the princess would no doubt have revelled in being the centre of attention and the chance to eat lots of homemade cake.
Her birthday wish list is said to have included cuddly toys and balloons, which she loves, and there was really only one friend she wanted to play with – her big brother George.
Her mother and father have revealed that the royal siblings are inseparable and that Charlotte is ‘very good friends’ with George. And while she might be the youngest, Charlotte is definitely the boss of the family; talkative, forthright and ‘the one in charge’ according to her doting mother.
While she has been seen very little in public so far, namely at her christening and on an official tour to Canada last year, there was a treat for royal fans when Kensington Palace issued a portrait of the cherubic toddler, taken by her mother, a keen photographer, to celebrate her second birthday.
The latest picture revealed an angelic smile and what her mother calls her daughter’s ‘dark Middleton eyes’. Fortunately, Charlotte has also inherited the Middleton mane.
Dressed in a primrose yellow woollen cardigan and smiling shyly for the camera, Charlotte looked happy and relaxed which is exactly how friends describe the Cambridges when they are in residence at Anmer Hall where they have spent the past three years.
At home, Charlotte loves riding her toy cars and trikes around the walled garden and playing football with George. Known for being a tomboy, she loves playing with George’s toy tractors over her dolls and getting stuck in with the gardening. Charlotte particularly loves animals and her favourite day out is a trip to the local farm park at Snettisham. She also cherishes feeding the family’s chickens and collecting their eggs each morning.
Locals are used to seeing Kate driving the children around in their Land Rover Discovery while her mother Carole is also often at Anmer and loves taking her grandchildren to the nearby sandy beaches at Brancaster and Holkham.
Certainly George and Charlotte, who are third and fourth in line to the throne, have enjoyed ‘ordinary’ childhoods compared to previous generations of royal children. Although they have a nanny, Spanish-born Maria Borrallo, William and Kate are hands-on parents. The Duchess, who juggles public engagements with home life, has made it clear that her focus is on being a mother for the moment. She is at home as much as she can be and often insists on doing the cooking (she is a dab hand at George and Charlotte’s favourite spaghetti bolognaise and traditional roast lunches on Sundays).
William, who is stepping down as a search and rescue pilot this summer, has also come into his own as a father making sure he is home for bath time and bedtime stories.
“George and Charlotte might be royal but their childhood so far has been utterly normal,” says one of their friends in Norfolk. “They know they are lucky to have had this time out and that things will change after the summer.”
The next chapter of their life will see the Cambridges relocating to Kensington Palace, their official London residence this summer.
The move follows the recent news that the Duke of Edinburgh is retiring from public life, meaning more responsibility for the younger royals. For William and Kate it marks the start of a new life as full time royals, which will mean a big transition for the whole family. Though William and Kate are country folk at heart, and they will miss the idyllic life they have created in Norfolk, exciting new adventures in the capital await.
While Prince George will be starting reception at Thomas’s in Battersea in September, Charlotte is expected to join the school’s nursery next year.
Adds the friend: “One of the reasons William and Kate chose Thomas’s School is because it is a nurturing co-ed school and they want George and Charlotte to be educated together. They also loved the vibe and feel of Thomas’s.”
Certainly with its emphasis on pastoral care, the school seems to fit William and Kate’s modern approach to parenting.
Kate, who plans to do the school run, is looking forward to having some time with Charlotte while George is at school. She plans to take her swimming at Buckingham Palace once a week and there will be endless play dates at Kensington Palace’s impressive fourth floor nursery. Time will also be spent exploring Battersea Park, which is very near Thomas’s and has a petting zoo Charlotte is sure to enjoy. For an escape from public eye, Kate might well take after celebrities like the Beckhams, by joining the members-only children’s club Purple Dragon, which with its valet parking and indoor swimming pool costs a snip at £884 per quarter.
Or, she might follow many of her friends to the Chelsea Harbour Club – once a favourite of Princess Diana – which, with its in-house crèche, kids’ classes, swimming and tennis is a haven for parents with young children.
However she ends up spending her time in the capital, we have no doubt that given her confidence, charm and pluckiness, Princess Charlotte will take to it all like a duck to water.
Katie Nicholl’s book, Kate the Future Queen (£12.99, Weinstein Publishing) is available now