The Daily Telegraph

The Firm becomes the Gang

Cambridges are picture of the monarchy’s future as they mark children’s first day at the same school

- Hannah Furness royal editor

It is the look that says, “we’ve made it”. As relieved parents on the school run after the long summer holidays; as mother and father to three excited children in the most unusual of circumstan­ces.

And as something more than that: the picture of the modern Royal family as a self-proclaimed “gang” of five

– and the monarchy’s future.

As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, hand in hand with their children, made their way on the first of many school runs of this new era of their lives, they shared a brief glance to take it all in.

The photograph was intended to capture the milestone moment for Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis as they started at Lambrook, near Ascot, the first time they have all been at school together.

But rarely in recent memory has the monarchy needed such an image of stability, continuity and uncomplica­ted youth.

Hours after the picture was taken, the Queen was compelled to pull out of a virtual Privy Council meeting after being advised to rest.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, just a short journey away from the Cambridges at Frogmore Cottage, show little sign of relenting in their quest to tell the world of the Royal family’s shortcomin­gs.

The Cambridges, in other words, are keeping the show on the road.

However, the three small royals were unconcerne­d with such matters yesterday. Ready to meet new teachers and new friends, they had the smartly parted hair and polished shoes of any other child embarking on their school careers.

As they walked up the steps into school together, the headmaster’s wife Jenny Perry – waiting in the doorway as part of her pastoral role at the school – said to the Duke and Duchess: “Welcome back to Lambrook.” “With all the gang!” the Duke replied.

With Prince Louis, aged four and on his first day at school, positioned protective­ly in the middle with both his mother and father on hand, all three children were calm and confident as they approached Lambrook.

It is coincidenc­e that the first day of school comes a week after the Duchess of Sussex told an American magazine that royal children are faced by a barrage of 40 paparazzi in a pen every time they go to school in the UK.

In fact, this was a carefully controlled moment in front of one photograph­er and one television camera, authorised by the Cambridges to allow the public to celebrate their children’s milestone moments alongside them.

The family had travelled together in one car, driven by the Duke in the first of his many school runs from their new home at Adelaide Cottage, Windsor.

The Duchess waved enthusiast­ically through the window to the waiting headmaster, having got to know him well as she went through the long process of finding the right school.

As they stepped out of the car, the quintet walked in a line side by side with the Duke and Duchess keeping up a stream of conversati­on with the three children, punctuated by laughter.

The boys held hands with their mother, while Princess Charlotte stayed with her father.

The Duke stroked Louis’ hair reassuring­ly as they walked into sight of the entrance.

If he was fazed by counting a future king and his siblings among his pupils, the school’s headmaster did not show it. “Welcome to Lambrook,” Jonathan Perry told them, addressing each by their first name only as he shook their hands in turn.

“It’s lovely to have you with us. We’re very excited about the years ahead.

“Are you excited, children? Looking forward to it?”

All three nodded, piping up: “Yes!” The Duke said “They’re looking forward to it,” adding the children had “lots of questions”.

With that, they disappeare­d into the school to meet fellow new parents and

‘Rarely in recent memory has the monarchy needed such an image of stability, continuity and youth’

‘The Duke and Duchess will spend the rest of the week on parenting duty, hearing about their children’s days’

potential future friends over refreshmen­ts.

Prince George, nine, Princess Charlotte, seven, and Prince Louis, who is starting in pre-prep, were welcomed into their own classrooms by their teachers along with the other new starters of this year.

The Cambridge children were due to spend around 90 minutes at the school, before starting in earnest today.

It marks the start of a new stage of their lives, with a move to the Windsor Estate just a stone’s throw from the Queen’s home.

Her Majesty herself, ensconced at Balmoral, will see the photograph­s from afar after agreeing to rest following a flurry of activity during which she accepted the resignatio­n of Boris Johnson and received Liz Truss to appoint her as the new Prime Minister.

While the monarch postponed a Privy Council meeting yesterday, which had been intended to be conducted via videolink, she is not in hospital, a royal source said, emphasisin­g that there are no constituti­onal implicatio­ns for postponing the meeting.

At the age of 96, the Queen has been enduring ongoing “episodic mobility issues” which have forced her to miss a number of engagement­s and are understood to have got worse over the last few weeks. The rest of the senior working Royal family have spent the summer visiting her at her Scottish estate, enjoying picnics together in the Highlands.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are not known to have any plans to see her, unless a row over their security can be resolved.

The couple are currently in the middle of a short trip to Britain, in which the Duchess made a speech at a youth conference detailing how she had found confidence after once believing she did not belong on the world stage. Today they will attend the Wellchild Awards, at which Prince Harry, who is a patron of the charity, will speak.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who have made no secret of their focus on their children’s happiness and stability as they balance their duties, will spend the remainder of the week on parenting duty, hearing about George, Charlotte and Louis’s days.

When it comes to the next generation, little could be more important.

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 ?? ?? The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge walk Prince George, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte to their new school, Lambrook, near Ascot, for a ‘settling in’ session
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge walk Prince George, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte to their new school, Lambrook, near Ascot, for a ‘settling in’ session

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