PRINCE William and Kate are looking to move their family out of London – and be closer to Granny.
The royal couple are reportedly considering moving to Windsor and have even researched potential schools for their three children, Princes George and Louis, eight and three, and Princess Charlotte, six.
They currently reside in the 20-bed residence, Flat 1A at Kensington Palace, but prefer to spend time in the countryside and don’t like battling school traffic to and from Thomas School in Battersea.
But their country home, Amner Hall, in Norfolk, where they like to spend school holidays and weekends, is too far from London to train full time.
Windsor would then be an ideal route and put them close to the Queen, who chose to settle in Windsor Castle.
But where could the Cambridges live? The Queen owns several properties in Windsor, but it has been reported that Wills and Kate are also considering private properties. Here we take a look at the pads on their radar so far.
The “Forgotten Castle”
Fort Belvedere was built in 1750-1755 for the Duke of Cumberland and extended in the Gothic Revival style in the 1820s for King George IV.
It is a Grade II listed building in Windsor Great Park and has original features, such as an octagonal dining hall, added by George IV, and a set of 31 guns which were used to fire salutes up in 1907, often for Queen Victoria.
Queen Victoria used the place as a tea room and opened it to the public in the 1860s.
There’s also a swimming pool, which was converted from the lily pond by Edward VIII, and a tennis court, which would appeal to tennis fan Kate.
There are also stables, which is good news for the three Cambridge children who are keen equestrians, having started taking lessons while cooped up at Anmer Hall during the pandemic.
Fort Belvedere is best known for its role in one of the most famous chapters in royal history, as it was home to Edward and Wallis Simpson.
American divorcee Wallis Simpson moved into the house after receiving threatening letters for her relationship with Edward, and it was at Fort Belvedere that he signed the Instrument of Abdication to relinquish the throne in 1936.
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor then moved to France, and years later their home was used for the filming of the ITV drama, Edward and Mrs Simpson.
During the Second World War the place was occupied by the Office of the Commissioners of Crown Lands, after they vacated their offices from London.
Fort Belvedere then stood empty until 1956, when the Queen’s cousin, the Hon. Gérald Lascelles, younger son of George V’s daughter, Mary, moved in.
He removed many of Edward’s renovations, downsizing the sprawling 30-40 room house to a more family-friendly location with six bedrooms and five bathrooms as well as three staff cottages.
He gave up the lease in the 1970s, following his divorce, and Canadian billionaire Galen Weston moved in.
The retail mogul died last year, but his wife Hilary and family continue to live there. They enlarged the lake and added a polo stud to the grounds, which might appeal to William who was an avid player.
Golden dolphins and a scandalous story
Adelaide Cottage is another of the Queen’s residences in Windsor, which has been touted as a possible home for Prince Harry and Meghan.
It was built – and named after – Queen Adelaide, wife of William IV. More modern than Fort Belvédère, it was built in 1831.
It seems that Queen Victoria liked to go around Windsor, as she also liked to pop into this property for tea or breakfast.
The real gems of the place came during a renovation in 2015.
Could Kate and Wills go private?
Sam Williams, regional partner at Garrington, an independent property search firm, said there are many places the Cambridges can fit in if they choose to search for private properties.
She said: “Their biggest concern will be privacy and security and that’s why members of the Royal Family tend to flock to Windsor Royal Park.
“If they were to visit private properties and they wanted space, they would have to leave the city, for example to West Berkshire, where the Duchess’ family lives.
“There are plenty of places where they could walk into local shops or pubs without batting an eyelid.
“There are many great properties in the area, but whatever level of market you are looking at, there is a severe shortage at the moment.”
A golden dolphin ceiling has been added to the master bedroom, along with rope decoration from the Royal George yacht and a Greco-Egyptian fireplace.
It also has its own scandalous history.
It was home to Royal Air Force Captain Peter Townsend, a former Battle of Britain pilot, who moved in with his wife Rosie Marchioness Camden in 1945.
After the couple divorced in 1952, he proposed to Princess Margaret.
However, the Queen – under pressure from the government and the Church of England – refused to give him permission to marry, under the Royal Marriages Act 1772.
More recently, it was occupied by Simon Rhodes, son of the Queen’s cousin and best friend Margaret Rhodes, who died in 2016.
The Cambridges could visit the Queen without being seen by the public, through the property’s seven gated entrances and exits to Windsor Castle.
Another option could be Frogmore House, not to be confused with Harry and Meghan’s former home at nearby Frogmore Cottage, now home to Princess Eugenie’s young family.
Like the Cottage, it was also named after the population of frogs living in the marshlands.
This 17th century Grade I building is just half a mile from Windsor Castle.
Its first occupant was George FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Northumberland, illegitimate son of Charles II and Barbara Palmer, 1st Duchess of Cleveland. She continued to live there after the Duke’s death in 1716, until 1738.
George III bought it for Queen Charlotte in 1792.
She used it as a refuge from the hectic life of the royal court. There, she and her unmarried daughters indulged in hobbies such as sewing, painting, and reading.
Queen Victoria’s great-grandson, Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, was born on the estate in 1900. It would be a suitable home for Prince Louis, who bears his name.
The late Duke of Edinburgh furnished the Britannia Room with memorabilia from the royal yacht after it was decommissioned.
It underwent a £2.5million refurbishment in the late 1980s.
It also houses the mausoleum of Victoria and Albert. The couple wanted their own special resting place, rather than being buried alongside other members of the Royal Family at Westminster Abbey or St George’s Chapel, Windsor.
Prince Andrew Cushion
The Queen also owns the 30-bed Royal Lodge, but her disgraced son Prince Andrew is unlikely to give it up.
He has the rather unconventional situation of living there with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, although it’s so sprawling they can have quarters of their own.
By the way, they call themselves the “happiest divorced couple in the world”.
The Queen Mother lived there for over 70 years and died at the Royal Lodge with the Queen by her side.
Since then, Andrew – who settled a sex abuse case earlier this year – has spent £7.5million refurbishing the place.
It has an indoor pool and eight other separate properties or staff.
The three Cambridge children would love to star in Y Bwythyn Bach – or The Little Cottage – a gift from Wales to the Queen in 1932.
The miniature cottage served as the official royal theater for generations.