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Cambridges Will Move to Norfolk As William Takes on Civilian Pilot Role

Thursday, August 7, 2014

This morning brought the confirmation of the rumors that have been circling for many months now. In April of this year, Sunday Times journalist Kate Mansey reported that at the close of his transition year, Prince William would choose to move to Norfolk and take a position in the East Anglian Air Ambulance, rather than taking up a position as a full-time working royal. Although the palace denied the story, it became increasingly obvious over time that this was the most likely scenario. In a Kensignton Palace press release this morning, the news has been confirmed. 



The press release points out that this will be William's full-time job, and that he will undertake both day and night shifts. Obviously, this confirms another hypothesis that was fairly obvious: the Cambridges will be moving out to Anmer Hall. Renovations are essentially complete at this time, and only the finishing touches on interior design remain to be completed. Work should be done by September.  



William will sign an employment contract with a civilian employer, and he is believed to be the first royal in direct line of succession ever to have done so. He will be earning a salary of £40,000 and donating it to charity. To me, one of the most interesting elements of this development is that William is signing a two-year contract. Royal reporter Rebecca English hypothesizes that due the significant amount of training William will undergo to take him from a co-pilot to a commander, that the prince will remain an additional two years in the ambulance service, for a total of four years. We will not be seeing the Cambridges take up royal duties in a greater capacity for some time.

British Monarchy Facebook

Kate will naturally not progress in royal duties while William maintains a semi-private, working life. The Palace told reporters that Kate will, "continue with her small portfolio of work and focus on begin a mother." 



This is obviously a multi-faceted decision, I believe taking into a account a number of priorities and needs for the Cambridges as a family and for the BRF as an institution. 


From a personal perspective, Kate and William want to raise George in an environment that is as calm and as normal as possible. I am sure that Kate is particularly anxious to give her son the kind of happy, healthy, and secure upbringing that she enjoyed. The Cambridges obviously love the lifestyle and privacy that a country house affords, as is evidenced by the amount of time they spend in Bucklebury with Kate's parents. Maintaining some modicum of normalcy is a priority...

The Cambridges in Bucklebury

For the royal family, this is also no doubt a tactical move and one that has to be made. Charles and Camilla cannot always and increasingly be overshadowed by William and Kate, which in the press and in public interest is almost universally the case. While the Cambridges are certainly senior royals and are significant assets to the Royals as a brand, they can't fly too high too quickly, or it throws the balance off. In short, Kate and William are the cool kids and none of the wallflowers get a chance to blossom if they are always present. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall need to have priority, and even Harry, whom the Palace is obviously trying to promote as a more and more serious senior royal, needs to have some space to highlight his work with charities.

Sentebale

Thankfully, in this instance, the needs of the Palace and the needs of the Cambridges beautifully complement one another and I cannot imagine a more felicitous solution for all parties. 

Kensington Palace via Historic Royal Palaces Facebook

There has been a lot of seeming outrage over the home situation, which I find entirely perplexing. Yes, the Cambridges renovated their Kensington Palace apartment. They are royals, very senior royals, and they need a London base-home. Unlike the majority of people, they will not be selling the KP apartment and moving to a better street in five years, for a better school district, or relocating to  the other side of town because it is better for traffic in the morning for the commute. This home will be their London home until...the move to an even more iconic London palace... So, it had to be done.  Straight-forwardly, just do it. 



What of the expense? Yes, it was expensive. Was there anyone, anywhere under the impression that the renovation of an historic palace would be cheap? In this economy and with the price of labor today? I mean really. It is unlikely that 1A will receive this kind of overhaul again in a very, very long time. When it comes to renovating one's living space, splurging a little more while you have the place torn up and the workers present usually saves you more than few dollars down the road. My personal perspective: if one were to sit down and really study where tax dollars go, fixing up an historic home which is a national treasure, and giving your (nationally lucrative) royal family a royal living space, would probably be nowhere near the top of the list of wasteful (and more importantly harmful) government spending. At the end of the day, this is one of those complaints that is easy to sell at face-value while in reality holding little water.

You can read the full KP press release here. I leave you with a picture of William piloting a helicopter demonstration in Canada, while Kate takes pictures for the family album on the far bank. I think it nicely demonstrates exactly the kind of couple these two want to be, as far possible: normal. 




29 comments:

  1. Hi Jane thanks for this post it was very I interesting! And it confirms what I already believed. I think kate will go on doing 2-3 engagements per month and doing work in the private of course. But I think this buys them some more time as a private couple, where they can raise George and possibly have a little brother or sister! Good luck to them! :)

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    1. I sure hope we see a sibling soon. I wouldn't mind several more siblings... ;)

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  2. Good for them, this is a great move for the next two to four years, for all the reasons you mentioned.

    I love your analysis of everything. You have an extremely interesting site, and your posts are always well reasoned and good.

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    1. Thank you, Constance! I loved getting your message this afternoon. It was a a lovely afternoon boost! :) xoxo, Jane

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  3. Im torn - yes I totally understand them wanting a good family life and I would too. I can see a least one more baby on the cards within the next 2 years and then they will be having to think about schooling for George, which I would think would be in London - hence the next 4 years in Norfolk. However, I still think that Kate could step up her public duties a bit more.

    KiwiNic

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    1. I think it will be touch and go. I think she will increase her duties as is convenient for George's schedule. I hope she does around four a month at least.

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    2. I suspect that Catherine, like most new Mums, has been rather surprised at how much she hates the thought of leaving George for any length of time. I am glad that she is being allowed to follow her instincts.
      Last year, when William left the RAF, HM had been ill and Prince Philip was in the middle of quite a lengthy recuperation from an operation' The Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra were both ill. They are all back on duty now and seem in no mood to cede anything to the younger generation.
      I have no doubt that if there are any radical changes in the next few years, that there will have been a "get out" clause from the contract with Air Ambulance.

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    3. That would be a great number. Just enough to keep us going.

      KiwiNic

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    4. You know, I have always thought Kate could step up her royal duties. Her 'job' is not exactly hard, sorry to say. She goes places twice a month (maybe) to places where people are so excited to see her. I am happy she gets to raise her son, I just hope she is the one actually doing it. In the job sense, even before she was married, it was not like Kate was that assertive. She really never worked before. Just an observation. It would be nice to see her more often.

      I have always thought that when it comes time for Prince William to be King, that he might just pass it over to his son. William has never been that keen on royal duties, opting for his passions instead (which is great). So, I wonder if by the time he is to become King, he may be older (60s) and therefore just decide to let George take over. That way the UK will not have to keep changing Kings so frequently because be the time Charles becomes King, he will only be one for maybe 20 years? I don't know, just a thought.

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  4. If the intent of the Palace is to shine more attention on Charles and Camilla I think it will fail. I have no interest in C&C and not that much in Harry. The Cambridge's retiring to the country will not make me suddenly want to read about the other royals or care about their activities.

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    1. Can't argue with that. I won't follow C&C anymore than I do now, but I still think there is something to be said for hierarchy. It is what the monarchy is built on... The Queen must be thinking about that.

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    2. As you know Jane - I'd like to follow more of what Harry does with his charities. :) I'm happy to see more of what he does and where his interests lie.

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  5. Thank you for pointing out that,"For the royal family, this is also no doubt a tactical move and one that has to be made. Charles and Camilla cannot always and increasingly be overshadowed by William and Kate, which in the press and in public interest is almost universally the case."

    I see so much snarking on how much or little the Cambridges do in a Royal sense, and in my mind they do what works for them in the confines of what the Crown wants.

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    1. You are spot on. William only moves with the approval of grandmama, otherwise known as Her Majesty the Queen. The Queen is entirely focused on the health of the monarchy and she has signed off on this plan, so in the wealth of her experience, this is the right move.

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    2. Good points, however keep in mind that the Queen has not always been correct in her dealings with the public/press.

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    3. Hi Peggy,

      My thought on this is, just because Will and Kate aren't being seen as often doesn't mean that people will become more interested in Charles and Camilla, they just don't garner the same level of interest. I like Charles and Camilla together but that doesn't mean I will follow them more now that Will and Kate have retreated and I think this will be the case for many others.

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    4. I think it also comes down to the fact that if William and Kate becomes to popular with the public when the time comes there could be a very big problem for charles and Camilla and might have to agree to skip a generation to keep the approval of the public.
      So by not letting the Cambridge's shine to bright and by just toeing the line it will not become to a point where Charles will really have to abdicate.
      Also I also believe the Queen wants what she was able to have when she first got married and for a bit longer then she was able to have as a navy wife living in Malta living a normal a life as possible. They always say that was when they were the most happiest. During that time they did do royal tours only and when the King started to go down hill health wise was then called a pon to fill in for her father at certain royal engagements.
      Then there is the fact that I believe they are trying to learn from the past. They always say that they never gave Diana the help and support she needed when she married charles. That she had to learn how to be a mother, wife and working royal all in a period of 18 months. There first royal tour didn't happen for almost 3 years years. Then Diana didn't get involved with alot of her most recognized charities until the late 80s and before she died. She very much was doing the same as kate has been doing and at times a bit more when it came to do with royal duties due to the fact she was married to the Prince of Wales and the next in line. But they always say that if they didn't just throw her in with no guidebook other than having to produce "the heir and the spare" (hate this saying..no child should be called a spare..This is why I think the 2nd son is always getting into trouble because they feel they are not worthy).
      I for one would rather see william and kate have that time to be just like any normal family as possible to be with their children much as possible because the moment he becomes the Prince of Wales or King (no one knows truly what can happen in 10..15 years from now) that part of their lives will come to an end and they will have to be full time working royals doing up to 500+ engagements a year. Plus I for one don't want to see their marriage suffer. By spending all this time together it can only help to keep it a strong and loving marriage that will be as successful as the Queen's and Prince Philips.

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  6. I'm really glad the Cambridge's are retiring to the country and Kate will be concentrating on being a mother. I was very startled (and more than a little appalled) when I read that the Queen had lived in Malta for TWO years and left Charles in London. It's amazing that William appears to be a normal, well adjusted young man and that he wants to try and have a normal family life and be a part of raising his child.

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    1. I know! That is rough stuff, and not the kind of parents William and Kate intend to be. I think the country will be fabulous for them!

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  7. Great blog on this, Jane. You've skillfully viewed this objectively with all you know so well of the Cambridges and all you know of your readers' love for them positively characterizing your comments. 'Thank you.

    Peggy Leslie, I so agree! "They do what works for them in the confines of what the Crown wants." William has said he does what's required of him. I remember William's saying HM suggested that very way of thinking when Will and Kate got married---trees in Westminster Abbey for example. And, yet, we just heard of the mega millions the Cambridges bring to the UK in tourism, etc., The Crown will necessarily keep that part happening, and, so, the Cambridges will keep their offices going in London and a home there, so they can step in and step out as senior royals.

    William will never reconcile the presence of the press or any celebrity status; it changed his life forever. One British commentator said during this past year that he expected William will be the first to abdicate. William clearly prefers to take part along with Kate and/or other royals, but, I don't think he'll ever be happy as center stage--it seems to represents for him the loneliness his mother knew, her out-of-control celebrity, and ultimately, her death.

    What we've seen during the last year seems to me to forecast the Cambridges' role for many years to come---a tour, key traditional appearances and anniversaries, but Will and Kate are focused on family, William's other roles, his sports. And, I think William will continue to include Harry (and Harry's own future family) in as many public appearances as possible, since Harry projects the memory of Diana, his response to the press and celebrity status isn't as intensely negative, and we love him. Katherine USA

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  8. Thank you so much for this, Jane. You explain things so well. I completely agree that this is every bit as much about Charles and. Camilla as it is about William and Kate. I was very much struck by the intense coverage of W and C on the WW1 commemorations and the negligible coverage of C&C's engagements as well as the Queen's. They all had important engagements that day, but the others were a mere mention, but the Cambridge's events took Center stage. True, none of us are that interested in the doings of C&C but that isn't the point. Without Kate in the public eye so much, Camilla's work will garner more interest from the press.

    In the grand scheme of things, a few years to start and raise a family isn't that hug a deal. After the Queen is gone, William will be there for his father. I have no doubt of that.

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  9. What can u do with the following Jane? If they do not work for the royal family, why the public should fund their private time security? Because they will.How about that?

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  10. Jane, I completely agree with your point-of-view re the refurbishment of Apt 1A at KP; if anything, I am inclined to wonder if enough was spent to do a proper job, especially on the roof. ( My understanding is that the roof leaked badly; surely, a new roof was called for instead of a patchwork repair--this spells trouble down the road, IMO.)

    @ Anon Aug 7 at 4:15 My sentiments exactly. Good luck trying to promote C&C; even Harry might be a hard sell; I have not the slightest interest in any of the three except as they impact on Kate and Will.

    As for Williams decision to fly for the EAAA, I don't quite know what to think, altho I suspect that it is very short-sighted on the part of the Queen and Charles; sidelining the best assets they possess instead of deploying them? Perhaps ego has taken the place of common sense--and it wouldn't be the first time this has happened in the World of Windsor. I sincerely hope that this move pleases both Will and Kate, but unlike you, Jane, I have reservations.

    Most of my misgivings have to do with Kate and George. Firstly, are they going to live with Daddy? Just where does Daddy plan to live? In Cambridge? At Anmer Hall? Unclear. If Kate and George move into Anmer Hall, once the workmen move out, is Nanny Maria Teresa going to move with them? Or will Grandpa Charles take this opportunity to sack her, as a cost saving measure? And without Nanny, how could Kate volunteer with her East Anglia hospices, or with the Scouts? Is Kate to be relegated to barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen? And speaking of pregnancy, what happens if that fate should befall Kate, and if she becomes ill again, sans her London doctors, sans her mother, and maybe sans Maria Teresa, who could at least look after George whilst Kate vomits.

    Moving on to George, who is he to play with in the Boondocks/Anmer Hall? The resident squirrels? What happens when he turns 3, and is old enough to attend nursery school? Does he get to attend, or does Daddy freak out, yet again, insisting that Kate, or perhaps Maria Teresa, earn her keep by home-tutoring--which, of course, misses the point of socialization.

    Until I see how this plays out, and I hope that the press will keep us informed, I cannot give this latest move two thumbs up.

    I have posted here many times, anonymously; time to crawl partially out of the woodwork. JC

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  11. Thank you for commenting on the renovations at KP. I completely agree - as someone who has renovated a very old home, there is so much work that is unknown until you actually tear away the facade and see the structure. It's a historical landmark and, considering that it hadn't been updated since Princess Margaret lived there, it definitely was due for an overhaul. Once the Cambridges move into the big white pile 'cross the park, the apartment (now updated and recently renovated) is open for any number of the other senior royals - Harry, Beatrice and Eugenie could all have families by then and will have been taking on more royal duties. It just makes sense, even though it's expensive initially. It's a beautiful palace and well worth preserving.

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  12. No big surprise here, the press has been reporting on this for months despite palace denials. I feel that the palace press office is doing such a disservice to the royal couple. First they say that Kate will undertake more engagements after the tour, that didn't happen. Then saying that KP will be their primary residence, no it's not, Anmer Hall will be for the foreseeable future, and William isn't taking a air ambulance role, obviously false. I feel that if these lies/false statements continue it will start to reflect very poorly on W&K, actually I wonder if it hasn't already.

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  13. @ Lauri from Ca Agreed. The Palace/CH press office sucks. IMO, the Queen has never really understood the press/the job of spin doctors; she was born and raised in an era of Royal reverence, after all. Charles is well aware of the need to influence the media, and spends a great deal of money in an attempt to do so, money that could be better spent on new suits and tuxes for his two underdressed sons. But where would that leave Camilla? Still reviled, I expect.

    IMO, the Palace/CH press office lies all the time--and, worse, they aren't very good at it. JC

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  14. Hello Jane:
    I really like your site and everthing that you write about. I think that little George is a cute. I will look for something next on your site.
    thank you

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  15. Great post. I love your perspective, and it almost always aligns with my own opinions. :)

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