It sounds like a great perk of the job – getting to travel to far-flung destinations and enjoy experiences many other people never get to have. But for Prince William (33) and Duchess Catherine (34) official overseas visits are something of a double-edged sword. While they are only too happy to represent the Queen abroad, and see new places and people, overseas trips mean being parted from their children.
Although the couple are looking forward to a six-day trip to India and Bhutan in a couple of months, it’s going to be hard to leave Prince George (2) and Princess Charlotte (8 months) behind.
It will be the first time they’ve been apart from Charlotte, and the longest they’ve ever left George. Kate has been a mostly full-time mum since George was born, calling on the services of her mother Carole Middleton and nanny Maria Borrallo when she’s needed for official duties. She’ll find it especially difficult being away from her daughter, as Charlotte will still be under a year old when they make the trip.
They did bring George with them to New Zealand and Australia in April 2014, when he was nine months old, but that was because they were going to be away from home for more than a couple of weeks. William followed in the footsteps of his mother Princess Diana, who had insisted on bringing him to New Zealand with her and Prince Charles in 1983, when he was 10 months old, and made sure that George came along.
But palace aides say the decision to take the toddler overseas is unlikely to be repeated any time soon. “It was a one-off to take George to Australia and New Zealand, and it is looking highly unlikely they will take their children with them on their next tour,” says a courtier.
Apart from the visit Down Under and brief trips to France and Belgium for World War I commemorations, the only official tour Kate has been on since becoming a mother was a whirlwind three-day visit to New York in December 2014, when she was pregnant with Charlotte.
William has travelled more – he’s also been to Malta, Japan and China since George arrived – so he’s more used to being away from his family. But it is still tough and he has admitted that fatherhood has made him more emotional, making him worry more now that he’s got kids.
“You realise how precious life is and it puts it all in perspective,” he said in a TV interview. “The idea of not being around to see your children grow up and stuff like that. “I never used to get too wound up or worried about things. But now the smallest of things, you well up more.”
Children will likely be a hot topic of conversation when Kate and William are in Bhutan. King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (35) and his wife, Queen Jetsun Pema (25) are due to have their first child around the time of the royal visit. The trendsetting pair, who both attended university in the UK, are considered to be the Asian equivalent of Kate and William.
Harry's visit to Nepal
Bhutan is not the only Himalayan nation in line for a royal visit this year. Nepal will be hosting Prince Harry in the next few months. It is expected that he will see how the country is being rebuilt following the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Kathmandu last April, killing more than 9000 people and leaving another 23,000 injured.
Harry (31) will be following in the footsteps of his dad Prince Charles, who has visited Nepal four times. The royal redhead is said to be keen to visit the region due to his respect and admiration for the Nepalese Gurkhas whom he served with in Afghanistan.