Times Kate Middleton's Parenting Choices Went Against Royal Tradition

When it comes to British royals, it's safe to say that Princess Catherine has always been a fan favorite. Of course, Catherine wasn't always a princess, in that she only officially joined the royal family when she married Prince William in 2011. Since then though, Catherine and Prince William have seemingly made it a point to stray away from outdated royal customs in order to keep the monarchy more contemporary. That seemingly became even more apparent when they became parents to Prince George in 2013, then Princess Charlotte in 2015, and Prince Louis three years later. "Much praise is drawn to Kate and William's 'modern parenting' of their children and it is often noted that they are breaking with 'tradition,'" Royal author Leon Hady told Express.

Some believe that the changes in the monarchy, specifically when it comes to how the royals approach parenting, has been Catherine's influence on Prince William. Royal specialist Duncan Larcombe, pointed out to Britain's OK! that Prince George, in particular, has so far been brought up much differently than how his father was, despite also being in line for the throne. He explained, (via Showbiz CheatSheet), "William has based his children's upbringing on the Middleton model — three children, affluent, but hard-working parents and lots of love in the house."

It seems that Catherine is not afraid to do things her own way for the benefit of her children. So with that said, let's break down her parenting choices that went against royal tradition.

Princess Catherine is a hands-on mom

In the past, royals who had children apparently didn't actually do much of the parenting. Catherine, Princess of Wales, however, has decided to do things very differently with her three kids. Royal author Tom Quinn explained to Fox News, "I think they are the first generation that you could almost say they've broken the mold of this very traditional royal upbringing where you basically pay other people to do all the work, and you only see your children for half an hour a day."

Catherine admitted on the "Happy Mum, Happy Baby" podcast that it's important for her to engage with her children, with her confirming, "I am such a hands-on mom."  She doesn't seem to be exaggerating either, since she's often seen doing activities with her children, whether that's playing tennis with them or they're baking together for an event like the Platinum Jubilee. Even when Catherine is "working" during public outings, she appears to be the one keeping her youngsters entertained. "Historically, the Royal children have been chaperoned by staff during public engagements, but Kate tends not to do that," Body language aficionado Darren Stanton explained to The U.S. Sun.

The princess takes charge of her children's lives behind the scenes too, with a friend telling People, "[Kate] runs things at home with the kids and the schedules. She is hugely involved in every single part of their day." That includes school runs, with Catherine often spotted dropping off and picking up her children when possible. 

Catherine tries to give her kids a normal childhood

It shouldn't come as a surprise that Princess Catherine is seemingly pushing for her children to have a normal childhood, considering that it's what she had herself before marrying into the royal family. "She is doing what worked for her, which didn't involve the excess staff normally associated with royal upbringings," royal expert Leon Hady revealed to Express. A friend reiterated to People how it's important to Catherine that Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis get to enjoy just being kids who do average things like play outside.

Despite Catherine's attempt to keep them down to earth, the Wales children are still public figures though, who can never be totally shielded from the spotlight. Monarchy expert, Duncan Larcombe, explained, via Showbiz CheatSheet, "William and Kate wouldn't let George, Charlotte or Louis appear in public if they had the choice — but they don't." Prince George is especially expected to win over the public even as just a child because he'll eventually be the one to inherit the throne. Catherine, however, reportedly doesn't want him to feel that pressure just yet. 

Nevertheless, since all the royal children do have to attend certain public events, Catherine apparently wants them to still act their age. Body language specialist Judi James dished to Daily Mail, "[They] are not only allowed to be playful, fun, spontaneous and even cheeky in public, they are actively encouraged by their mum and dad."

The princess moved her kids to the country

Catherine, Princess of Wales, broke royal tradition in a major way in 2022 by choosing to move her children out of London so they could have that aforementioned normal childhood. The Waleses had been living among many of the other royals at the famous Kensington Palace before they decided to relocate to a smaller, private home outside of the city in Windsor. A royal insider explained to The Mirror, "KP can be a little bit of a fishbowl. They wanted to be able to give George, Charlotte and Louis a bit more freedom than they have living in central London."

Windsor doesn't just offer the children more privacy, but more space for them to play as well, especially outside since they are now surrounded by the countryside. "Charlotte can go horse riding in the open air and George can play football on extensive grounds," a source told Us Weekly. It seems that the children's love of the outdoors is Catherine's influence too, considering that she's been very vocal about her belief that it's important for their development. She even endorsed a nature campaign that focuses on children, explaining, per People, "Spending time in nature can play a pivotal role in helping children grow up to become happy, healthy adults."

The princess doesn't appear to miss living in London either because when asked on the "Happy Mum, Happy Baby" when she's happy, she replied, "I'm with my family outside in the countryside and we're all filthy dirty."

Catherine keeps her kids close and together for school

Unlike royal mothers in the past, Princess Catherine has kept her children close by and all together for school. It's apparently a tradition for young royals to attend boarding school once they turn eight, but Catherine's eldest son, Prince George, is currently attending a day school with his siblings instead, despite being of age. Parenting expert, Jumaimah Hussain, even told Express, "George would only go to boarding school if he wanted to...which differs to the generations before."

It appears that Catherine may be the one who prefers that Prince George doesn't go too far for his education. A source told Life & Style, via OK!, "Kate can't fathom what it'll be like coming home after a busy day and not being able to see George's face." Luckily, the Princess of Wales won't have to worry about that since the children's current campus, Lambrook School, is reportedly just minutes away from their new home in Windsor so Catherine can drop them off and pick them up most days. "This decision to move to Windsor and for George, Charlotte and Louis to go to school together was always about putting the children first," a source told The U.S. Sun.

Catherine's choice to send her children to Lambrook School has apparently paid off. That's because a neighbor told People that Catherine had shared with her that the children have really taken to their new school, where they not only have each other, but now also new friends.

Princess Catherine homeschooled her kids during the pandemic

The pandemic led to a lot of life changes, even for the royal family. Princess Catherine, for one, had to do something that no royal had presumably done before her, which was homeschool her children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. "I suppose, during lockdown, we've had to take on additional roles that others in our community and lives would have helped us with," she acknowledged, via People.

Catherine made it clear on "This Morning" how it was particularly challenging to teach all three of her children different lessons that were appropriate for their ages. "George gets very upset because he wants to do all of Charlotte's projects ... making spider sandwiches is far cooler than literacy work," she said. It wasn't just the lesson planning that was hard though since Catherine seemingly struggled to keep her children entertained while they were cooped up in the house. She dished on BBC, "The children have got such stamina ... So, you pitch a tent, take the tent down again, cook, bake ... it is amazing how much you can cram into one day."

Catherine also had to find a way to explain the pandemic to her young children because all three were cognizant that something was going on. She explained, "You don't want to scare them and make it too overwhelming, I think it is appropriate to acknowledge it in simple ways and age-appropriate ways."

Catherine, Princess of Wales uses modern discipline techniques

The Princess of Wales has apparently taken a much more modern approach to disciplining her children than the royals who came before her. That's because she's been photographed on multiple occasions gently calming them down when they are misbehaving in public instead of just shooing them away. An expert in parenting, Martina Mercer, even told the Express, "She displays a lot of parenting techniques that are current in the world of child psychology."

One of the parenting tactics that Catherine is known to use is getting down to speak to her children at eye level when they are having a hard time understanding a boundary. "It removes the fear of the parent while utilizing eye contact and connecting with the child on their level," Mercer explained. The Sun reports that Catherine and Prince William also make it a point to never shout at their children and use what they call a "chat sofa" as their form of a time out. A source dished that's where either parent will then speak to the disobedient child about their behavior.

Catherine has received praise for how she's handled her children's tantrums since she is known to keep her cool and not get visibly angry with them. However, others have criticized her for just that, with one person tweeting in response to Prince Louis' outburst at the Platinum Jubilee, "At what point do we go from "wow, what a relatable toddler moment" to "wow, you have no control of your children?"

Princess Catherine only has one nanny

It shouldn't come as a surprise that a hands-on mother like Princess Catherine doesn't want several nannies raising her children for her. Despite a full palace staff that was presumably available to her at Kensington Palace, Catherine was reportedly only interested in hiring a housekeeper to help her when Prince George was born in 2013. Nanny advisor Rosemary Albone, explained to Daily Mail at the time, "With roles including walking the dog, polishing silverware...the new all-encompassing housekeeper is a million miles away from the type of care that previous royalty have received."

Catherine did eventually hire nanny Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo in 2014 when Prince George was still a baby. Since then, Borrallo has been spotted at several different royal events with the family, helping care for the children. However, she's apparently only present when Catherine and Prince William need her. Royal author, Carolyn Harris, explained to People, "Today, royal nannies need to strike a delicate balance between providing care and emotional support for their charge while not being seen to interfere with the decision-making of royal parents."

According to royal historian Ingrid Seward royal parents would only have two brief get-togethers with their children a day because the nannies would be doing all of the caretaking. Borrallo, on the other hand, isn't reportedly even living with the Waleses anymore. That changed when they moved out of Kensington Palace and into a smaller home in Windsor, further proving that Catherine is doing things much differently.

The royal parent shows her children affection

You could say that one of the most heartwarming things about Princess Catherine is that she's openly affectionate with her children. She's often seen holding them in her arms, walking hand in hand with them, or engulfing them in an embrace. While none of this sounds like a strange thing for a mom to do, behavior expert Darren Stanton, told The U.S. Sun, it is for the royal family. "The main difference with Kate compared to other royals is that we do not see such displays of affection with the royal children like she gives," he said.

It appears that Catherine's decision to be an adoring mother will benefit her children more than if she was to follow royal tradition."To be kept at arm's length and not shown affection as a child, can have all sorts of negative impacts on a child psychologically and emotionally," ​​Psychologist Dannielle Haig explained to Express. She even added that she hopes that other non-royal parents will emulate that behavior with their own children. 

The princess shared how she too, adores those tender moments with her kids when visiting the ​​Henry Fawcett Children's Center in London. A mother who had met Catherine there told Daily Mail, "She was asking about the best thing for us as parents and told us that for her it was getting hugs from her kids." At a different event, E! reports that she also told another woman, "Hugs are very important. I keep saying that to my children."

The mother-of-three puts her family before her royal duties

Princess Catherine may be famous for being a working member of the royal family but she seemingly puts being a mother ahead of her duties. On more than one occasion she's pulled out of royal events in order to spend more time with her children. She famously did this in 2016, when she broke a 115-year-old tradition by not handing out Shamrocks to Irish Guards for St. Patrick's Day. A source dished to the Daily Mail, "It appears that Kate...was keen to get back to Norfolk and her children." She did face backlash for that decision though, with one person writing on Facebook, "Quite frankly they won't remember if Mummy was gone for a few hours."

That wasn't the last time Catherine broke royal protocol either, because in 2018 she and Prince William arrived late to Easter Mass because Catherine had taken their kids to visit her family. Even in 2023, the couple took time off from their busy royal schedule to bring their children to the set of "The Rings of Power" when they were on a school break.

Yet Catherine doesn't necessarily have her work/life balance completely figured out since she admitted on "Happy Mum, Happy Baby" that she still feels "mom guilt all the time." She said, "It's a constant challenge — you hear it time and time again from moms, even moms who aren't necessarily working and aren't pulled in the directions of having to juggle work life and family life."

Catherine has been open about her struggles with motherhood

Catherine has set herself apart from a lot of other royals by being open and honest about her struggles as a parent. When appearing on "Happy Mum, Happy Baby", she even flat out said, "You're always sort of questioning your own decisions, and your own judgments and I think that starts from the moment you have a baby." What may be more surprising though is that, despite being a role model to many mothers, Catherine would redo some things after learning about the impact of her own mental health on her kids. She admitted, "I definitely would have done things differently, even during my pregnancy, then I would've done now knowing the importance of the early years."

That wasn't the first time that Catherine seemingly gave her true feelings about motherhood either. When speaking to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, she shared, per Elle, that parenting isn't just "rewarding." She revealed, "At times it has also been a huge challenge—even for me who has support at home that most mothers do not." She added those feelings of being unsure about what she's doing as a mother has led her to sometimes feel bad about herself.

It appears that Catherine has talked candidly about her emotions so that other mothers who are struggling won't feel alone. She dished, "It is lonely at times and you do feel quite isolated, but actually, so many other mothers are going through exactly what you are going through."

Princess Catherine takes the Wales family photos

Princess Catherine clearly isn't your average mom, but she's definitely not your typical royal parent either. That's because the mother-of-three likes to do things on her own for her children, like taking their family photos. Although that's probably not a big deal to most parents, it seems the royals would presumedly have a professional photographer do elaborate family portraits instead. Yet, for the Waleses, it's Catherine who's the one usually behind the lens. That was made evident from the family's official Instagram page because the former Duchess is often given photo credit in the captions. 

For example, in a 2021 post about Prince Louis, the caption read, "Taken earlier this week by The Duchess before he left for his first day of nursery." In 2022, Catherine even did what looked like a photoshoot for Instagram of Princess Charlotte in a meadow to commemorate her 7th birthday.

If you're wondering how Catherine has such a good eye for pictures, she not only studied art in college but had been taking photos since childhood. Royal curator Claudia Acott Williams revealed to Express, "Her grandfather was a very good photographer. When she was a child, he would show her his slides. It was him who taught her how to take photographs."

All in all, it appears that even when it comes down to the details like family photos, Catherine will always make her own choices when parenting her children. Instead of relying on old and usually outdated royal traditions.