Does it seem like you see 95-year-old Prince Phillip lots more than you see Prince William or his stylish wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge? That’s because you do—the two young royals have essentially spent the last year rusticating with their children. They are living that English countryside life and could not be happier.
Nice work if you can get it!
If you look inside Vanity Fair’s Summer 2016 issue—it’s the one with the Queen and her corgi/dorgi brigade on the cover—you’ll find a piece titled “How Princess Charlotte’s Birth Transformed the Modern Monarchy.” But mostly it’s about how, since their daughter’s birth, Will and Kate have decamped to Anmer Hall in comparatively rural Norfolk and are attempting to raise their kids as far out of the spotlight as possible under the circumstances. “It’s no secret that William doesn’t like the media intrusion into his life, and in the country he can escape,” a “family friend” told Vanity Fair. Fair enough!
But the piece is also full of little touches to stress the family’s simple countrified life, to the point that you start to wonder what the magazine might’ve made of Marie Antoinette’s darling little dairy:
Their mother, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, runs the 10-bedroom house with just a handful of domestic staff, including full-time nanny Maria Borallo and a housekeeper. Aides insist there is no in-house chef—Kate loves to cook, and she has been spotted buying local produce at Back to the Garden. Occasionally, she sends the family’s bodyguards out to do the grocery shopping at the local shops. Mealtimes are hectic family occasions with pots of food served straight to the table. (Like most little boys, George prefers French fries to vegetables.) Kate and William take turns giving the children their baths and putting them to bed.
My goodness, a mere handful of domestic staff! Fret not, there is some society:
The Cambridges have many close friends in the area, with whom they socialize frequently. The sons and daughters of wealthy farmers and landowners, they’re known fondly as the “turnip toffs.” Most have young children, so George and Charlotte are never short of playdates.
Not that this should come as a surprise if you saw Kate’s dressed-down Vogue spread, which was shot in the Norfolk countryside and featured the duchess in high rural mode. Apparently she also takes George to “a nearby working farm,” Snettisham Park, where “he likes to kick around and then sit in” mud puddles.
What’s more, apparently Norfolk—also home to the Queen’s country estate, Sandringham—is to royals what New York City is to celebs. Oh, another royal? Who cares!
“They are rarely bothered,” says one local. “We are used to having royals in this part of the world. We often see them out with George and Charlotte, but no one takes pictures or tries to talk to them. That’s why they love it here. They love the normality of life in Norfolk, whether it’s popping to the butcher or into a local toyshop to get another helicopter for George.”
“We are used to having royals in this part of the world.”
Their bucolic idyll won’t last forever, though. William only did 122 public appearances in 2015, compared to his grandfather’s 248. Granted, he also works as an air-ambulance pilot, but he’s basically getting his ass handed to him by a 95-year-old man. And a “well-placed source” told the mag that, “The Queen is 90 and there’s talk that more responsibility is going to be handed down to the younger royals, which is right.”
Gather ye hay bales while may, Will and Kate!
Photos via Vanity Fair, Getty Images.