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Why William And Kate Are Planning To Move Nearer To The Queen

Are Prince William and Kate on the move? It’s rumoured The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are house-hunting in Windsor, moving from Kensington Palace to the provinces. It’s certainly true that when Charles becomes King, the Cambridges are expected to take over Windsor Castle, while Charles and Camilla – now set to be crowned Queen – move into ‘Monarchy HQ’, Buckingham Palace.

But even before then, Kate and William need a Berkshire bolthole as it’s thought Kate wants to move George, eight, and Charlotte, six, into new schools as early as September, when Louis, three, starts reception.

When the three children were small, the family lived in Norfolk, at their 10-bedroom country house Anmer Hall and relished the quiet and seclusion. Even after George started school in London, the Cambridges would pack up each Friday and escape there for the weekend, leaving the ‘gilded cage’ of KP (Kensington Palace) behind. The allure of the green-welly living, picturesque countryside and privacy occasionally meant doing the Monday morning school run by helicopter so as to pack in the maximum Anmer time. So why, then, would Kate and William want to give up their rural idyll?

‘They don’t,’ said a royal insider. ‘Anmer will always be their home, it was a wedding gift from the Queen and where they raised their family. They love spending time there. However, there are two big issues currently facing the Cambridges – future schools for the children and plans for the next reign. They want to be nearer the Queen so Windsor makes perfect sense. They also want the children to go to country prep schools with more space and sporting facilities.’

As George and Charlotte have grown up, weekend party invitations, playdates and sports matches have meant spending more time in London. But William and Kate’s love of the outdoors is well-documented and a move to Berkshire would give them more green space, the option of keeping the children at day schools and still make the work commute into London viable – just 25 minutes with a police escort. Anmer would be used for school holidays, shooting weekends and Christmas. The royal insider adds that the couple will also keep their apartment at 1A in Kensington Palace as their official London base.

‘In the past, Catherine has described living at KP as like being inside a gilded cage and at times both she and William have felt a little trapped. All their staff work there, their office is based there and so moving out of town would give them greater separation between their home and work life.’

As for schools, they will likely have been considering William’s former prep school Ludgrove, a boarding school in Wokingham, and nearby Eton-feeder Papplewick, in Ascot, but whispers are that Lambrook, a nurturing co-education prep school near Ascot, is more likely top of their list. It would enable Prince Louis to join his siblings when he starts reception this September and the school’s weekly and flexi-boarding options mean George and Charlotte could still return home most evenings.

For George’s next stage, Eton, where William and Harry went to school (which is within walking distance of Windsor Castle) would seem the obvious choice, but Kate’s old school, the co-ed Marlborough College, is just over an hour away. While at Eton, William often enjoyed Sunday tea with the Queen, or Gan-gan as the young Cambridges call her, and she is said to be keen to see more of the future King.

While the Cambridges may be spoilt for choice on schools, exactly where they will live is proving a little more tricky. The Windsor Estate is already densely populated with members of the royal family. Prince Andrew and the Duchess of York have been in situ at Royal Lodge, in Windsor Great Park, since 2004, while the Wessexes live at Bagshot Park, 11 miles away. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made Frogmore Cottage their UK base, and Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank live there now.

Fort Belvedere – a huge neo-Gothic Grade II-listed house owned by the Crown Estate and currently rented out to friends of the royals – has been ruled out, while it has been suggested that Andrew and Fergie should move out of Royal Lodge to make way for the Cambridges. Earlier this month Andrew settled his US civil assault case brought by sex trafficking survivor Virginia Giuffre, paying an undisclosed sum to her and a donation to her charity – while making no admission of liability – but there have been rumours he may lose his grace-and-favour home.

Another possible option is Adelaide Cottage, which underwent renovations in 2015. However, although just a stone’s throw from the Queen’s private apartments in the castle’s east wing, and set in extensive private grounds, it may not be large enough for the Cambridges’ domestic needs.

A move to Berkshire would have other advantages for the Cambridges: it would place them closer to hands-on grandparents Mike and Carole Middleton, who live in Bucklebury, where both Kate’s brother James and sister Pippa have recently bought properties. Pippa has two children, Arthur, three, and Grace, 10 months, for handy playdates. And friends Zoe and Jake Warren, son of the Queen’s racing manager, also live nearby with their children. Plus Windsor has the ultimate childhood attraction: Legoland!

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