You only have to think back to the royal wedding and Prince Charles tenderly lifting up his wife’s granddaughter on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, to know what a loving grandfather he will be to Kate Middleton and Prince William‘s baby.
When the pregnancy was announced, the future King said he was “thrilled”, adding: “It’s a very nice thought to become a grandfather in my old age.”
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Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall with her granddaughter Eliza Lopes
Meanwhile, the Duchess of Cornwall said she couldn’t “wait to spoil” the new royal baby. Camilla has had plenty of practice as she has five grandchildren – including royal bridesmaid Eliza Lopes.
There is always such a fun, cosy atmosphere when Charles and Camilla are around as is clear from the giggles on their public engagements. Her son Tom Parker-Bowles has also said the doting grandma sometimes babysits for him and his wife Sara Buys; on one occasion giving them the night off to catch Bruce Springsteen in concert.
He tenderly makes sure she doesn’t feel left out at the royal wedding
Underlining how much importance Tom’s stepfather attaches to their role, he recently asked well-wishers on an engagement for tips on grandparenthood.
One lady in the crowd told the Prince: “Spoil them and enjoy it, but give them back at the end of the day. She added: ” You tend to have more time for your grandchildren than you had for your children.”
Smiling he agreed, adding: “The great thing is to encourage them. Show them things to take their interest. My grandmother did that, she was wonderful.”
Charles who had a very outdoorsy upbringing and loves nothing more than pottering around his Highgrove garden will have plenty of knowledge to pass on to the new baby. He is also the one person who can talk to William and Kate’s child about their eventual destiny as monarch.
Charles and Camilla always throw themselves into the fun on engagements
Yet in reality the royals won’t be able to spend as much time bringing up Baby Cambridge as perhaps they’d like. For one thing their packed agenda leaves little room for downtime. The heir to the throne “works his socks off”, explains royal author Penny Junor.
With her natural discretion, his wife will also be wary of being seen to hog the baby especially in those precious early months. “Camilla won’t try to step in – unless she’s asked to. She’s always been very respectful of William and Harry’s feelings because of their mother.”
Luckily, Carole Middleton and her husband Michael will also be able to step in when needed. That the Bucklebury matriarch should take such a key role seems to have surprised some observers.
Carole and Michael Middleton will also be very involved with the new baby
William, who is very much his own man and wants what’s best for Kate, will ignore their comments. He has always made it clear that the Middletons are his family now.
What then could be more natural than encouraging their involvement with his and Kate’s little boy or girl, especially since he thinks Carole and Michael have done a great job with their own children.
“William is very fond of his in-laws. He appreciates their home and lifestyle because it’s so different from the way he was brought up and loves the fact that there aren’t loads of footmen and butlers everywhere, ” says Penny Junor. “It’s a normal house, where everyone sits down to lunch together. And it’s a happy home.”
It’s the kind of home where the Prince is likely to be given a gentle joshing if he misses his turn at making tea, usually by Pippa or James Middleton, who regard him affectionately like a big brother.
That’s what he wants for his own child – the chance to be brought up as normally as possible. And he’ll rely on grandparents from both sides to achieve that.
Prince William: Born to be King – An Intimate Portrait by Penny Junor is out now.