The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are to embark on the next major phase of their life by moving their family to Windsor, with Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis all starting at the same new school.
William and Kate will set up home in Adelaide Cottage in Windsor’s Home Park, and the children will join the co-educational private Lambrook School near Ascot in Berkshire in September.
The duke and duchess are seeking a life away from the goldfish bowl of their official residence Kensington Palace in west London in a bid to put their children first and give them more freedom.
They had been known to have set their heart on outdoorsy prep school Lambrook, with its 52 acres of grounds, for their youngsters where fees will cost William and Kate in excess of £50,000 a year.
The family will use the pretty 19th century Adelaide Cottage as their base after the Queen gave them permission to lease the four-bedroom Grade II listed cottage, which belongs to the Crown Estate.
Prince William, Louis and George with Princess Charlotte Kensington Palace
It was built for Queen Adelaide in 1831 and is nestled just a 10-minute walk from Windsor Castle in the private Home Park.
Kensington Palace said in a statement: “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have today announced that Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis will attend Lambrook School in Berkshire from September 2022.
“Their Royal Highnesses are hugely grateful to Thomas’s Battersea where George and Charlotte have had a happy start to their education since 2017 and 2019 respectively and are pleased to have found a school for all three of their children which shares a similar ethos and values to Thomas’s.”
Kensington Palace confirmed the family will be moving to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor’s Home Park before the school term begins.
Undated handout photo issued by Kensington Palace of The Duchess of Cambridge Kensington Palace
A royal source said: “This is very much a decision that two parents have made to give their children the ‘most normal’ start possible.
“KP can be a little bit of a fishbowl.
“They wanted to be able to give George, Charlotte and Louis a bit more freedom than they have living in central London.
“It’s very much a decision that’s been led by the kids.”
William and Kate will retain Kensington Palace’s Apartment 1A, which was refurbished with £4.5 million of taxpayers’ money in 2013, as their official residence and their working base, which will continue to house their office staff.
But they will also keep their 10-bedroom Norfolk country mansion Anmer Hall, which was a gift from the Queen, has a swimming pool and tennis court and underwent large-scale building work at their own cost.
Undated handout photo issued by Kensington Palace of the co-educational private Lambrook School in Ascot near Windsor Castle Lambrook School
The downsizing to Adelaide Cottage, which is not considered vast, means William and Kate’s full-time nanny Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo will live elsewhere for the first time, as will other staff including the housekeeper and the chef.
The source said the duke and duchess were very conscious of how their move stands in contrast to the cost-of-living crisis impacting the nation.
Asked whether the couple was mindful of the economic difficulties facing many who would not be able to afford such opportunities, the source said: “They absolutely are.
“It’s something they have thought long and hard about and this is a decision they have not taken lightly.
“It would have been extremely difficult for them to continue on as senior working royals if they were based in Norfolk.
“What they have basically done allows them to put the kids first, but also to continue on doing what they do all day, every day.”
William and Kate will pay market value on the property from their own private funds, not from taxpayers’ money via the Sovereign Grant, and will foot their own moving costs.
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Prince Louis Victoria Jones
Future king George, nine, and Charlotte, seven have left their current school Thomas’s Battersea in London and four-year-old Louis be starting full-time education.
They will enjoy first class facilities at Lambrook including a swimming pool, sports pitches and new £6 million academic and ICT building.
The day and boarding school offers both weekly boarding and flexi boarding for the older two – where they can opt for a night’s stay as and when they choose, but George and Charlotte will be day pupils for now.
The Good Schools Guide describes how youngsters get to “run and run” in vast grounds with “total freedom to explore, provided you’ve got your wellies on”, with Lambrook’s pastoral care described as excellent.
Jonathan Perry, headmaster at Lambrook School, said he looked forward to the Cambridge children starting.
Prince George, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte ride in a carriage as the Royal Procession leaves Buckingham Palace for the Trooping the Colour ceremony at Horse Guards Parade, central London Aaron Chown
“We are delighted that Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis will be joining us this coming September and very much look forward to welcoming the family, as well as all of our new pupils, to our school community,” Mr Perry said.
Ben Thomas, principal of Thomas’s London Day Schools, wished George and Charlotte “every happiness and success” at their new school and thanked them and other leaving pupils for “upholding the school’s values and for their many contributions to school life throughout their time at Thomas’s”.
It is the first time Lambrook has been chosen for a future king and his siblings.
William and Kate will be spending in excess of £53,000 a year on their children’s private education.
Fees cost £4,389 a term for Reception to Year 2 pupils such as Louis, £6,448 per term for Years 3-4 like Charlotte, and £6,999 per term for George through Years 5-8.
The bill amounts to £53,508’s worth of fees in 2021-2022, not factoring in any future boarding which costs £1,481 per term per pupil for Y3-8, potential sibling discount if available, fee increases or the cost of uniform or trips.
The school on the outskirts of Bracknell is only a 20-minute drive from Adelaide Cottage, and their new home is just a short stroll to see the Queen at Windsor Castle.
The source said being able to be close to the 96-year-old monarch was a factor in the move.
Adelaide Cottage used to be the grace-and-favour home of equerry Group Captain Peter Townsend whose love affair with Princess Margaret caused a scandal in the 1950s.
It will be William and Kate’s fourth property if including a holiday home near Balmoral, as well as KP and Anmer Hall.
William was given the Tam-Na-Ghar cottage on the Balmoral estate by his great-grandmother the Queen Mother in 2002.
Four bedroom detached rental properties in Windsor with substantially less land are currently priced at anywhere between £3,000 to £5,750 a month.
Adelaide Cottage also ensures the family are close to Kate’s parents Michael and Carole Middleton, and sister Pippa Matthews in Bucklebury, Berkshire.