Prince William and Kate Middleton are "seriously considering" having a country home in Windsor, which will bring them a lot closer to Queen Elizabeth II.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have a country home named Anmer Hall located on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, a few hours drive from the Queen's Windsor Castle residence in Berkshire. They currently split their time between the Anmer Hall which was a wedding gift from the Queen, and their official residence Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace in London. Both of the properties have offices and living spaces designed according to the couple's needs.
According to a report in Mail On Sunday, the future monarch couple have now started looking at possible accommodation options near the Queen, where they hope to get extra guidance as they take on more senior roles in the monarchy. Another reason behind their decision is that their three children, Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 6, and Prince Louis, 3, attend school in London which makes their weekend journey to their country estate in Sandringham very difficult.
A source told the outlet, "Anmer Hall made sense while William was a helicopter pilot in East Anglia and it was useful for Christmases at Sandringham, but it doesn't really work anymore. It's a little too far away for weekends, but Windsor is a perfect compromise. They are eyeing up options in the area."
Meanwhile, the Queen has been spending a lot of time at her Windsor Castle, instead of her official residence Buckingham Palace in central London. She still visits the main office of the monarchy for work-related matters but shies away from spending the night.
The 95-year-old had visited Windsor castle with her husband Prince Philip in March last year for their annual winter break, which came around the same time as the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. She has mostly stayed there since then, except for spending the annual summer break with her family at Balmoral estate in Scotland and a few occasional visits to Buckingham Palace. Prince Philip also breathed his last at Windsor Castle in April this year, with his wife by his bedside.
Prior to the pandemic that induced a lockdown leading the Queen to isolate at the castle, she used to stay there only over the weekends, leaving Buckingham Palace on Thursday afternoon and returning there on Monday.
William and Kate want to do something similar with their main residence and country home, basing their family full time in their secluded estate and commuting to London when required. However, Sandringham is much farther away than Berkshire.
One of the places the couple could be considering for their new home is Fort Belvedere, a Grade II listed house with a tower towards the southern end of Windsor Great Park, where King Edward VIII – the Queen's uncle – signed his abdication papers in 1936. The fort, owned by the Crown Estate, is currently leased to the Weston family, close friends of the royals. However, palace aides dismissed the fort as a suitable option.
Apart from the Queen, moving to Windsor will bring the Cambridges closer to Kate's side of the family as well. Her parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, live 40 miles away in Bucklebury, Berkshire, while her sister Pippa and her husband James Matthews and their two children also have a home in the village.