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The Future Royal Family
William, Kate and the Modern Royals
An insightful, authoritative biography of “modern royals” William and Kate and their family, by the “Godfather of Royal Reporting”!
A true insider account of Prince William’s love affair with Kate Middleton, from their initial meeting while attending university in Scotland to married life while William pursued his Royal Air Force career. In the US, William and Kate are heralded as pop-culture icons: he, the confident young Prince who is the future of the Royal Family; she, the royal bride descended from coal miners who confounds all stereotypes of what a royal partner should be.
The Future Royal Family provides an in-depth look at the next chapter in this modern-day fairytale, packed with beautiful photographs, fascinating facts and expert analysis into the most pivotal royal romance of our time. An intriguing biography and unrivaled souvenir, this is an essential read for royalists and romantics alike.
Dubbed the “Godfather of Royal Reporting” by The Wall Street Journal, Robert Jobson is one of Britain’s leading royal commentators. He is the royal editor of the London Evening Standard and the royal contributor for ABC’s Good Morning America. He is the author of William & Catherine: Their Romance and Royal Wedding in Photographs and the co-author of Diana: Closely Guarded Secret. For more information, go to jobsonmedia.com.
6 x 9 | 256 pages | 8-page color photo insert
Paperback $16.95 | CAN $24.50
Exclusive Preview: The Future
Here’s an exclusive look at a chapter of The Future Royal Family: William, Kate and the Modern Royals.
It was a milestone moment in the history of modern monarchy; the unveiling of the British royal family’s new “We Four.” Of course, showing Princess Charlotte and Prince George at play with their doting parents on tour in Canada in September 2016 was a picture-perfect photo opportunity, a nailed-on public relations success. It was the first official trip the family had been on together. But using cute royal children in this way is nothing new. After the abdication crisis of 1936, the new king, George VI, had dubbed himself, Queen Elizabeth and his daughters Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret “We Four,” trading on their wholesome image to rebrand the royal family and rebuild trust. Eighty years later our future king, Prince William, is adopting the same strategy. It is a challenging balancing act—especially for a man who jealously guards his family’s privacy.
Rounding off her day with her favored gin and Dubonnet back in Britain and surveying the media coverage as she will assuredly do, the Queen, at 90, was undoubtedly encouraged by the performance of her grandson and his young family. Her Majesty would of course receive a personal debriefing on his return. But the photo op will come as no surprise. Every part of it was carefully planned.
It would have been tricky for William to sanction this brief glimpse into his family life. After all, he has repeatedly threatened to take legal action following serious incidents of what he sees as paparazzi harassment involving his children. But as he is acutely aware, monarchy must remain relevant to the monarch’s “subjects” if it is to endure. The Royal Family and its principal players must be seen and revered, and that includes William and Kate’s precious and closely guarded Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Part of the deal with the media on the Canada visit was that it would introduce the Future Royal Family to the vast nation and its people. It would not only have had the Queen’s blessing but would also have been with her express “guidance.” This Canadian tour was of profound importance to Her Majesty in the years before it celebrated its 150th anniversary.
In strictly controlled circumstances—such as the grounds of Government House, Victoria, at a children’s garden party for military personnel and their families—William indulged the media. George and Charlotte, oblivious to the selected photographers and reporters pooling the photos and copy, played with children of the Canadian military personnel at a rare joint appearance at an official event. The residence was transformed into a children’s paradise, which even included a petting zoo and miniature ponies. Balloons were clearly the way to the then-16-month-old princess’s heart as Charlotte’s first public utterance was to use the word “pop.” Prince William could be heard saying, “Are we going to go pop?” to his daughter and then asking her: “Would you like a balloon, Charlotte?” Charlotte made everyone in the grounds of Government House laugh when she tried to lift up a huge balloon archway that led to the petting zoo.
It was just as much fun for George, who squirted bubbles at his father. He appeared excited by the attractions and could not resist squirting Charlotte with bubbles. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were said to be happy that the event had been staged for them and pleased their son and daughter had the opportunity to play with others.
The power of the images, many taken by Getty Images’ accomplished royal photographer Chris Jackson, was considerable. The children personified the future of not only the British but also a Canadian monarchy in a country that may, one day, choose a different path. As it stands, there is no sign of that being the desire of the majority of Canadians. This was one of the rare glimpses of the royal children on the tour, the other two being as they stepped from the plane when they arrived in the country and as they walked to their seaplane departure in Victoria Harbour.
On a high from publication of the happy family snaps, the tour was predictably declared a triumph by commentators. And to be fair, the crowds in Canada were large and the reception was warm, genuine and vocal. But, from my ringside seat, while the tour had been a doubtless success, as a format it had lost a little of the shine. There were no “tiara moments.” The nearest to it was the reception at Victoria’s Government House, when Kate wore a $1,500 red dress by London label Preen by Thornton Bregazzi and the Maple Leaf brooch lent by the Queen. Undoubtedly, something had changed. On their previous tours William and Kate had seemed to be driving a unique, new-style royal roadshow, a hybrid of reserved formality and photo-led, more populist events. On the Canadian tour, there was plenty about William’s passion for conservation, wildlife and indigenous people. His devotion to supporting the military at home and in Commonwealth realms was clear. There was support for their own charitable patronages, most notably mental health. But the Canadian tour was less about a new style for a new generation and more about following in the footsteps of the Queen. It appeared to be that there had been a directive from the very top for less change.
The couple is more serious and dignified. In the past they were happy to grab a cricket bat, or play volleyball or climb on a mountain bike. Now, as they did in Carcross in the Yukon Territory, they simply smile and observe. For me, there is a lot of the “old-fashioned” in the way they do things; a back-to-the-future monarchy—less Charles and Diana, more a modern-day version of Elizabeth and Philip. Of course, they are still very much a class media act—just a little more reserved.
At the conclusion of the tour Prince William issued a statement in which he spoke of his delight at being able to introduce his young family to Canada on his last day of the royal tour. He said he and his wife “feel very lucky to have been able to introduce George and Charlotte to Canada. This country will play a big part in the lives of our children and we have created such happy memories for our family during this visit.”
Prince George’s core future, like anyone born to reign, is mapped out. Due to the huge wealth and royal rank he will inherit, he will inevitably enjoy an expensive private education at a preparatory school, followed by the elite Eton College, to then go on to an ancient university. His schooldays will be followed by an extended stint of military service, ending around 30, followed by a lifetime of royal duty – a mixture of military, community and charity work. He is born to serve.
Undoubtedly, like his father he will fight against it in his youth. He has already proved that he will not be a pushover as he has a strong character, an independence of spirit. While his parents have been perhaps a little overprotective, they both accept that a public role requires exposure. For now, however, they are determined to pull up the drawbridge when it comes to their children. For that they needed not one but two “fortresses”—family homes, the first publicly funded at Kensington Palace, and the second, their large country estate, Anmer Hall, that will one day be William’s to use at will. Renovations to their new family home at Kensington Palace were not fully completed until mid-fall. Kate, who knew she would have to continue after maternity leave was over with a full-on public role, hired a small support staff, too, as backup.
Kate still wants to maintain her role as hands-on matriarch of her family. She still, when practical, does most of the cooking for the family. But shortly before George’s birth the couple hired an Italian cook and housekeeper Antonella Fresolone to help out. The well-liked housemaid spent 13 years at Buckingham Palace in the Queen’s employ before applying for the job with the Cambridges. The advertisement for the position noted that “discretion, loyalty and reliability” were paramount, further stating that “attention to detail, together with a flexible and proactive approach is essential. The candidate must also be able to demonstrate strong operational skills, excellent verbal and written communication skills and the ability to work on their own and as part of a multi-disciplined team.”
William, despite his huge personal wealth, has refused to hire an army of servants. However, they have moved their rock nanny Maria Teresa Turrion Borallo into their home to help raise both their children. Time will tell if the Cambridges will indeed one day hire a second nanny to assist Borallo, as has been the case with other royal children. Maria has become a constant in the lives of their children, although some commentators did mock the Cambridges for adopting a “Downton Abbey” old school style household when Miss Borallo was photographed dressed in her official Norland nannies uniform, smiling at Princess Charlotte’s christening aside her charge Prince George.
The Cambridges’ perfect image was tarnished a little when William was accused of being workshy. He was dismissed as a part-timer by the tabloids following a revelation that he only worked 80 hours a month as an air ambulance pilot in East Anglia in addition to his “scant” royal duties. The reports hit a nerve and undoubtedly irritated the future King. He gave an interview to the BBC insisting he is balancing his royal duties with those of a husband, father and air ambulance pilot. He went further, saying if his grandmother the Queen was ready to hand over tasks, he would be the “first person to accept them.”
He told the BBC, “I think in the Queen I have an extraordinary example of somebody who’s done an enormous amount of good and she’s probably the best role model I could have in front of me.” In another interview with Sky News, he offered a tribute to the Queen and credited her with helping him through the loss of his mother. The interviews marked a moment of celebration for the family as the monarch celebrated her 90th birthday milestone, but also underscored that William was poised to carry on and lead the family business. William was also peppered with questions about what he would ultimately like his reign to be like and whether he planned to modernize the monarchy. He went on, “I think the royal family has to modernize and develop as it goes along and it has to stay relevant. And that’s the challenge for me . . . I have no idea when that’s going to be, and I certainly don’t lie awake waiting or hoping for it, because it sadly means that my family have moved on and I don’t want that.”
William was also asked if his son, George, had any sense yet that he was not part of an ordinary family—whether William and his wife had begun to prepare him to accept the fact that he is in the line of succession.
“Well, as far as we’re concerned, within our family unit we are a normal family,” William said. “I love my children the same way any father does, and I hope George loves me the same way any son does to his father, so we are very normal in that sense. There’ll be a time and a place to bring George up and understand how he fits in the world, but right now it’s just a case of keeping a secure, stable environment around him.”
William also spoke of how the couple would begin to split their time between their official home, Kensington Palace, and Anmer Hall, which afforded them the privacy they craved. This inevitably drew questions from the public. Were the family effectively moving out of their London Palace and taking up residence full time in Norfolk? Kensington Palace acknowledged the family would spend most weekends there, but the Palace would remain “their primary residence.” It will remain so, it was confirmed, when he eventually became the Prince of Wales and his father, Charles, King.
So serious are the Cambridges about their life in Norfolk that it caught many off guard when instead of enrolling George in a London nursery school, William and Kate announced George would be attending a local Montessori school down the road from their Norfolk estate. Both Prince William and Prince Harry spent their childhood years at Mrs. Mynors in Notting Hill, London, less than a half mile from the Kensington Palace, with Prince Charles and Princess Diana. The nursery school also practiced the Montessori method. The late Princess of Wales had been an assistant teacher at a Montessori school before she married Prince Charles.
Kensington Palace announced that George would attend the $48 a day Westacre Montessori school several days a week starting in January 2016 in East Walton nearby King’s Lynn, a stone’s throw from their Anmer Hall property. The future King would be attending classes with locals who receive financial assistance and some with special needs.
Westacre prides itself on the “all inclusive open door approach” and released a statement when George’s enrolment was announced: “We are looking forward to welcoming George to our nursery where he will get the same special experience as all of our children.” The decision to place George at the Norfolk school was yet another example of the Cambridges’ desire to give their son as normal an upbringing as possible. Instead of the elite nursery schools in west and central London, with waiting lists that date from the child’s birth, the couple had chosen to let their son thrive among children he will one day reign over.
While William and Harry both marked their first day of school with photo opportunities with scores of waiting photographers, George’s first day of school was private. His parents, like any young family, dropped their son off away from the media glare. Kate would later release two photographs of a smiling George in his blue hooded quilted jacket with brown suede patches and pale blue backpack as he made his way inside Westacre.
While conventional wisdom suggests that the future king would follow in his father and Uncle Harry’s footsteps and eventually attend Wetherby School in Notting Hill before departing for Ludgrove and perhaps Eton College, William and Kate have admitted they are exploring. The couple could make a departure from Royal Tradition and instead send Prince George to another school close to their Norfolk home. The little Prince is due to start a new school in September 2017; until this school is decided, the question persists: will William and Kate remain full time in Norfolk or return to London?
It seems that wherever Prince George goes, he constantly steals the show, even from his famous parents. The little Prince went one step farther, upstaging the President of the United States when Barack and Michelle Obama joined William, Kate and Harry for an intimate dinner at Kensington Palace, capping off a day in London. Earlier in the day, the Obamas hopped aboard Marine One, the president’s helicopter, to call on the Queen at Windsor Castle They had landed on the golf course and, instead of their usual Secret Service escort, Prince Philip drove everyone the 400 yards back to the house in his navy blue Range Rover. The President usually drives in an armored car known as “The Beast” with night vision cameras, shotguns and armed cannons – safety accessories one might expect to see in a James Bond film.
The four posed for a photo meeting in the Oak Room before they sat down for lunch. Later in the day at his press conference with David Cameron, the President joked about his “smooth ride” from Prince Philip and paid tribute to the Queen. The President conveyed birthday wishes, calling Her Majesty a “real jewel to the world” and “one of my favorite people.”
The Obamas have enjoyed a warm relationship with the Royal Family since they assumed office. They first visited the monarch in 2009 while at a reception ahead of the G20 summit. The First Lady famously putting her arm around the Queen’s waist with Her Majesty reciprocating caused a stir in London. The Palace ultimately pointed out there was no breach of protocol.
Several months later Michelle Obama retuned to see the Queen with her daughters, Sasha and Malia. While the visit was private, the three were said to enjoy a tour of Buckingham Palace for her daughter’s birthday. After her visit in April, the Queen had been heard telling the First Lady, “Now we have met, would you please keep in touch.” Mrs. Obama is said to have developed a friendship with the Queen and they have stayed in touch, exchanging letters and speaking over the phone about their shared interests. In 2011 the Obamas returned for an official State visit and enjoyed a glittering state dinner inside Buckingham Palace. Tom Hanks, Kevin Spacey, and Richard Branson joined Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, current Prime Minister David Cameron and Hillary Clinton along with an array of other notable Brits and Americans. Guests dined on new season lamb from Windsor, roasted potatoes Boulangere and haricots verts, followed by a dessert of vanilla ice cream.
Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry all made stops at the White House during the Obama presidency. Prince William met the Obamas during the State visit in 2011 and then paid a call on the President when he returned to the US in 2014. It was then that he extended the invitation to the Obamas for a state visit on behalf of the Queen. Prince Harry has developed an especially warm relationship with Michelle Obama. The two have become close friends, working on the Joining Forces initiative to recognize and support veterans, service members and their families. The First Lady has been a huge advocate of and lent her support to Prince Harry’s Invictus Games. She also worked with Kate, supporting her on a mental health project.
The Obamas also had an informal dinner with William, Kate and Harry at Kensington Palace after their visit with the Queen and Prince Philip at Windsor. It’s not often that someone upstages five of the most iconic individuals in the world, but Prince George did just that. The pajama-clad prince, wearing a monogrammed bathrobe and slippers, was allowed to stay up past his bedtime for the visit. The Royal trio greeted the Obamas on the rain-soaked night in the Kensington Palace Clock courtyard, with President Obama offering Kate an umbrella. It was the first time the young Royals entertained a head of state privately, and it was the most significant event they had hosted at Kensington Palace. The two-year-old prince shook the President’s hand to thank him for a rocking horse and stuffed animal modeled to look like the Obamas’ dog Bo. Adorable George then hopped on the rocking horse to the President and First Lady’s delight. The toddler had clearly learned his manners before the visit, extending his little fingers to shake President Obama’s hand. Princess Charlotte had been asleep when the Obamas arrived.
The President, who described George as adorable, joked a week later at the White House correspondents dinner in Washington about the visit and his remaining time as President.
“It’s not just Congress, even some foreign leaders, they have been looking ahead, anticipating my departure. Last week Prince George showed up to our meeting in his bathrobe. That was a slap in the face. A clear breach of protocol.” The President said to uproarious laughter.
The charismatic toddler has already captivated the world. Even though he is just starting to learn the Royal ropes, he is settling into his future destiny. The sweet, well-mannered boy’s parents are doing what they can to let him enjoy his childhood, but are also introducing him slowly to the world that awaits. He is the new poster boy. When Buckingham Palace had a Press conference in November 2016 to announce that the British Government is to fund a $532 million “essential” overhaul of a 10-year building program using British tradesmen and craftsmen, George was featured on the front page of the blurb along with the Queen and her other direct heirs, his grandfather Charles and father William. The message was clear. Her Majesty will use the Best of British to rebuild the iconic national asset and headquarters of the British monarchy in the heart of the country’s capital city. It is an investment in Great Britain’s future, its brand and its business. The men featured alongside the oldest and longest reigning Queen regnant in history will be her lasting legacy.