Prince William and Kate Middleton make a point to treat all three of their kids as equals, but there is something that sets their oldest son, Prince George apart, not just from his siblings, but from, well, almost every other human on the planet. In fact, only a few of George's own relatives really get it. George is a direct heir to the British throne, a distinction shared only by his dad, Prince William, and his grandfather, Prince Charles.
According to royal historian Robert Lacey, Will and Kate put a lot of thought into how and when to explain to George that he'll be king someday—and what that means—and that the couple wanted to have the conversation with George at a 'controlled moment of their choice.'
In a new chapter for his book Battle of Brothers, Lacey explained that the Cambridges are thought to have broken the news to George sometime around his seventh birthday, which the young royal celebrated in July 2020.
"William has not revealed to the world how and when he broke the big news to his son. Maybe one day George will tell us the story himself. But sometime around the boy's seventh birthday in the summer of 2020 it is thought that his parents went into more detail about what the little prince's life of future royal 'service and duty' would particularly involve," Lacey wrote in the new chapter, according to the Daily Mail. "William's aim as a father, the prince stressed, was to give his son 'a normal family upbringing,' enabling the monarchy 'to stay relevant and keep up with modern times.'"
As the Daily Mail points out, if Lacey's timeline for the conversation is accurate, it means George wasn't aware of his future role in the royal family when he posed alongside the Queen, Prince Charles, and Prince William for the instantly iconic "Four Monarchs" photo in December 2019.
Royal author and expert Katie Nicholl has said in the past that Will and Kate were trying to introduce George 'gradually' to the fact that he'll be the monarch someday, but that the young royal has known for some time that he's 'different' than his siblings because he's often 'singled out' to spend more time with his great-grandmother, the Queen (and, of course, for things like the Four Monarchs portrait).
"They make a point of ensuring their three children feel equal and that they’re all treated the same," Nicholl told OK! of Will and Kate's parenting strategy.
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