Trying to keep both your family and the in-laws happy can be a major headache for many young couples, especially once there are grandchildren on the scene. Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge know this only too well. With just weeks to go before their second child is born, the couple have found themselves caught between his father, Prince Charles, and Kate’s mother.
While Carole Middleton is stepping up her role as a hands-on granny by moving into William and Kate’s 10-bedroom country home, Charles has complained to friends that he doesn’t get to see enough of his grandson, Prince George. The Prince of Wales is said to be frustrated with the amount of time George spends with Carole (60) and her husband Michael (65), according to his confidants.
George (20 months) has twice been on holiday to the Caribbean island of Mustique with the Middletons, and Granny Carole and Grandpa Michael often stay at Kensington Palace in London to help Kate look after the toddler. Now that William (32) and Kate (33) are spending most of their time at Anmer Hall in Norfolk, Carole and Michael have been ensconced there too. There have also been rumours that Kate’s parents have been house-hunting in the area. In the meantime, they have taken time out from running their multi-million dollar business Party Pieces to fill in for William and Kate’s husband-and-wife housekeeping team, who recently quit.
Amy and Colin Wood handed in their notice just five months into their jobs, which involved overseeing the running of the house and grounds. And Kate’s parents are understood to be filling the void while helping to look for new staff. “Though Carole has stopped short of scrubbing floors, she is said to be organising every detail of running the household,” says a royal commentator. “Kate’s father Michael is thought to be overseeing the gardening and has been making arrangements to clear a mole infestation.”
Carole and Michael are believed to have committed to staying at Anmer Hall at least until the new baby arrives – it’s thought to be due on April 25. They are then likely to stay on to help with George and his new sibling. Kate will also need support a couple of months later when William starts his new job as an air ambulance pilot. Carole has so much influence, she has “taken over”, says one insider, adding that she dictates “when George naps and when and what he eats”. Sources say Kate, who has endured another difficult pregnancy with severe morning sickness, has been “tetchy” and her mum is the only person who can keep her calm. That’s why William likes having his mother-in-law around.
“William is very happy to sit back and let Carole take up the reins,” says a source. “She is ensuring that Anmer runs like clockwork. The nursery and staff will be an oasis of calm.” Like his son, Charles (68) understands Kate’s need to have her mum close by. “He acknowledges that the mother-daughter thing is natural and he is aware it is likely to be just the same when the new baby arrives,” says the insider. However, he is disappointed that he only gets to play a peripheral role in George’s life. His pal says Charles’ dismay is heightened by his dreams of being a mentor to the boy.
“The truth is, he feels an empathy with his grandson because he knows that like himself, the little chap is going to have to wait almost a lifetime before he can fulfil his destiny.” The fact Charles only sees George occasionally may not just be down to the Middletons. Insiders point out that there are tensions between Charles and William, and William has always wanted his son to have a childhood that is much more relaxed than the stuffy, formal upbringing he had. Meanwhile, Carole doesn’t want Charles to feel pushed aside. “All she has ever wanted was to give as much guidance and help to Kate and George as any other grandmother,” says a friend. “She’ll be horrified to learn that William’s father is apparently upset because he is not seeing enough of George. She would never want that.”