As millions of kids head back to school this week, at least a few of them can reflect on a jam-packed summer holiday.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have embraced the staycation trend this year – treating Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis to sailing lessons, beach games and a welcome Scottish break with their grandmother, the Queen.
In previous years, the Cambridges have jetted off to the exclusive Caribbean island of Mustique – described as the playground of the rich and famous – where they’ve rented out luxury villas.
With the pandemic wrecking many Brits’ hopes of holidays abroad, however, the family this summer decided to keep it local, travelling to Norfolk, the Scilly Isles and, of course, Balmoral.
While proud sailor Kate has been – quite literally – showing the kids the ropes, Her Majesty has also reportedly welcomed some precious time with the family, even leaving personalised gifts on their pillow.
Here is how the young Cambridge kids made the most of their break.
Keen Kate trains up ‘family of sailors’
With Kate and Wills both keen sailors, the family are said to have made the most of the fleeting summer sunshine by taking a boat round the Norfolk coast.
A local source told Vanity Fair’s Katie Nicholl that the Cambridges are “very much a family of sailors now” after getting the kids up to speed while staying at their Norfolk home Anmer Hall in early August.
KENSINGTON PALACE/AFP via Getty)
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“Kate has always been a competent sailor and William’s pretty good too,” said the source.
“They have enjoyed some wonderful time on the coast this summer sailing and showing the children how to steer and sail a boat. They love the water and the two eldest are good swimmers and had no qualms about jumping into the sea even if it was a bit fresh.”
George, eight, Charlotte, six, and Louis, three, reportedly spent hours in the water with their dog and played in the sand while their parents watched.
Hopping on board the boat, the royal couple sensibly ensured all three kids wore life jackets.
However, when it was time to take a dip in the sea, the children changed into regular bathing suits.
“They are clearly a family that love being outdoors and in nature. It was lovely to see them playing so freely and not being bothered by anyone,” the source added.
Barbecues, fishing and cycling trips
Over the Bank Holiday weekend, the Cambridges also decided to pop in to see the boss at Balmoral.
Her Majesty was delighted to welcome her grandkids to the Scottish estate for the long weekend – a tradition that has become an annual fixture, Vanity Fair reports.
The trip this year had extra significance, however, not just in light of the Covid restrictions over the past year, but also because it marked the first family get-together since Prince Philip’s death.
Press Association Images)
A source told Nicholls that the Cambridges had spent some “special time with the Queen” over the weekend and “always enjoy going up to Balmoral”.
“They love the outdoors and walking in the hills and spending quality time with family,” the source said. “It’s where William spent a lot of his childhood and it’s important to him that his children experience what he did as a young boy.”
Kate and Wills are said to have taken the kids for long country walks, fishing, horseback riding, and cycling trips.
In honour of Prince Philip, who was known amongst the royals as the king of barbeques, they also enjoyed the odd cook up outside.
The Queen was reportedly “itching for things to get back to normal” during the break and pegged the traditional barbecues as a way to bond with the family.
A source told The Sun : “The family barbecues are back on the agenda even without Philip there for the first time.”
Queen’s special gifts for family
While the Cambridges are also said to have spent time with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, it’s believed they have been especially keen to support the Queen.
A family friend told Vanity Fair that the monarch looks forward each year to spending quality time with the grandkids – and even leaves special gifts on relatives’ pillows.
“In the past it has turned into one big sleepover with lots of the Queen’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren,” said the friend. “Her Majesty enjoys it immensely.”
Previously, it was also revealed that Sarah Ferguson was invited back into the fold at Balmoral after years of tensions with Philip.
“Sarah Ferguson is coming,” a source told the Daily Mail. “She will be here with Andrew.”
The Duke and Duchess of York were also joined by their daughter Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank.
For the Cambridge children, however, it’s back to school this week, with George and Charlotte returning to Thomas’s Battersea school in south-west London.
Little Louis will also attend Willcocks Nursery School after being enrolled in April.
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