No room for nanny as Cambridges downsize

Maria Borrallo - Photo by Pool/Max Mumby/Getty Images
Maria Borrallo - Photo by Pool/Max Mumby/Getty Images

Most couples with young children dream of upsizing to give their growing brood more space to spread their wings.

But in the coming two or three weeks, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will do the opposite, swapping their grand Kensington Palace home for a relatively modest four-bedroomed cottage on the Windsor estate, a move that will see them navigate life without a live-in nanny for their first time in their children’s lives.

For Prince George, nine, Princess Charlotte, seven and Prince Louis, four - used to having Maria Borrallo, their Spanish Norland nanny, on hand 24/7 -  the move to Adelaide Cottage will represent a significant change.

Although Ms Borrallo will be kept on full time, she will live elsewhere, as will the handful of other support staff that have long “lived-in” with the family at Kensington Palace, thought to include a housekeeper and a chef.

The Duke and Duchess hired Ms Borrallo in 2014 when Prince George was eight months old and she has been a regular fixture at the family’s side ever since, often pictured at official events in the traditional brown Norland uniform.

Becoming a Norland nanny requires four years of training which includes a BA (Hons) in early childhood education, the prestigious Norland diploma, and a 12-month probationary posting.

Tuition fees for 2022/23 are £14,990 and average UK salaries for Norlan nannies are between £42,000 and £70,000.

Ms Borrallo sometimes travels with them on holiday and has her own apartment at the family’s Anmer Hall property on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk.

Maria Borrallo - Chris Jackson - WPA Pool / Getty Images
Maria Borrallo - Chris Jackson - WPA Pool / Getty Images

But while she will remain a key figure in the children’s lives, the relocation to Windsor will usher in a new era for the Cambridge clan.

Life at Kensington Palace, which boasts numerous apartments and offices and borders a bustling high street and Kensington Palace Gardens, has often been likened to living in a goldfish bowl.

At Adelaide Cottage, a pretty Grade II-listed property built in 1831 for Queen Adelaide, the wife of William IV, they will be nestled in the heart of the Crown Estate’s Home Park, with much more scope for horse riding, walking the family dog and playing away from prying eyes.

The adjoining Adelaide Lodge is unoccupied and no longer inhabitable as it is built into a hill and was never structurally underpinned.

It places the Cambridges just a short drive from the Duchess’s parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, and just a ten-minute walk from the Queen’s private apartments at Windsor Castle.

The couple hope the move will allow them to give their children the best and most “normal” childhood possible. It will also ensure stability if they relocate next door to Windsor Castle at any point in the future.

It has enabled the Duke and Duchess to enrol their children at a co-educational Berkshire prep school set in extensive grounds and boasting impressive on-site sports facilities.

It will ensure a much shorter daily commute for the couple, who like to do the school run themselves whenever they can, and allow them to throw themselves into all aspects of school life.

At Thomas’s Battersea, where Prince George and Princess Charlotte have spent recent years, they endured a lengthy commute across London.

Adelaide Cottage, which was refurbished in 2015, required no further renovations or additional security measures as it is enveloped within the highly secure Windsor estate.

It was most recently occupied by Simon Rhodes, son of the Queen’s cousin Margaret Rhodes, and Sir Hugh Roberts, former director of the Royal Collection.

But its most famous resident, until now, was Group Captain Peter Townsend who lived there from 1944 with his wife Rosemary and two sons.

It was there that their marriage broke up and Townsend embarked on an affair with the Queen’s younger sister, Princess Margaret.

Alathea Fitzalan Howard, a close friend of the Queen and Princess Margaret when they were children, wrote in her diaries in March 1941: “Daddy and I walked across the Home Park to tea at Adelaide Cottage, which the Queen (Mother) has lent Jackie and Joan Philipps for the duration of the war.

“I was charmed with it. It typically represents that idea of a little world within a world of its own, which is so characteristic of Windsor Castle and its surroundings.”

Since schools broke up in July, the Cambridges have enjoyed a UK-based holiday and have been spending time at their Anmer Hall in Norfolk.

In the coming weeks, they will travel to Scotland for their annual summer break with the Queen at Balmoral before returning to settle into Adelaide Cottage ahead of the new school term.

The children will start their new prep school in September, with Prince Louis joining his elder siblings for the first time.