At what age do you tell a young boy that one day, they will be king?
That’s the question the Prince and Princess of Wales have grappled with ever since their firstborn son, Prince George, came into the world.
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George is second in line to the throne after his father, Prince William, but until recently, he had no idea that he would one day be King, The Sun reports.
It’s understood that Prince William and Princess Catherine wanted to protect George, who turns 10 on Saturday, from that knowledge so that he could enjoy a slightly more “normal” childhood.
A friend of the royal family told The Sun that special pictures taken of him in 2020 with his father and grandfather, Charles, were done so that “Gan Gan” – aka Queen Elizabeth II – could have a nice family photo on her side table.
“William and Kate wanted to protect the children as much as possible, particularly from the concept of them being royal and everything that entails,” the source said.
“In effect, George did not really know he was royal.
“The Queen and then-Prince Charles were seen through the prism of family – as great-grandmother ‘Gan-Gan’, and grandfather ‘Pa’ – rather than their royal roles.
“They did not tell him until relatively recently that he will, one day, be King.
“It was a delicate balance to protect his childhood and innocence.”
When events like Trooping the Colour were held, it was explained to George that “Gan-Gan” was a special lady who was “very popular and well-loved”.
But he didn’t have a sense of her as “The Queen,” the insider said.
One of the most difficult things Prince George’s parents had to explain was exactly why he would one day be King.
“It meant explaining to him that his grandfather and father will die one day, which is a very tough concept for any child to grasp,” the source said.
“It’s also very tricky for what it means for his siblings, Charlotte and Louis.”
In recent years, George, Charlotte and Louis have become more involved in royal proceedings, without necessarily understanding the meaning behind certain events.
Christmas walks at Sandringham, the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, and King Charles’ coronation have all been navigated carefully by the Prince and Princess of Wales.
Royal expert Emily Andrews, writing for The Sun, said it had also been important for George that things were kept relatively low-key at school.
Andrews claimed that George was “treated the same as every other pupil” at Thomas’s Battersea day school in south London, “albeit with two Metropolitan police protection officers stationed discreetly in a room down the corridor”.
“He was just ‘George’ and enjoyed nothing more than a kickabout with his friends in the playground,” she wrote.
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