In Brief

Prince George ‘played sheep in school nativity’

Duke of Cambridge describes ‘funny’ performance at son’s London school

Prince George's first day at nursery - in pictures

7 January

Photographs of Prince George's first day at nursery, snapped by his mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, have been released to mark the occasion.

The two-year-old royal started at Westacre Montessori School, near King's Lynn, Norfolk, yesterday and was photographed outside the nursery building .

The media and Twitter cooed over the photos, with one word in constant use - "adorable".

E! Online described the Prince as a "blond cherub… too cute for words", while the Daily Mail wondered what items were in his backpack. It may have "carried all the essentials for such a big day, including a comfortable pair of slippers," speculated the report, adding that, as George is not doing full days, "he is unlikely to have brought a lunchbox".

The newspaper also noted how George pointing his finger in one of the photographs is "reminiscent" of his grandfather, the Prince of Wales.

Several reporters and tweeters focused on the royal's blue coat. With so much fuss about the garment, the Daily Mirror tracked down its source - it came from John Lewis, it announced, before dropping the devastating news that it is out of stock.

The Daily Telegraph contrasted George's first-day arrival to that of his father, the Duke of Cambridge, on his debut at nursery in 1985, back when "TV cameras and journalists were invited to record the moment and were even allowed inside to film his classroom and his coat hook with his name on it".

As for George himself, he seems to have enjoyed the momentous milestone. "From what I heard, he had a good day," said an aide.

Prince George: the secret musings of the royal toddler

3 December

With all eyes on the newly-released photographs of Princess Charlotte, Prince George's thoughts about his little sister remain a mystery to the nation.

But thanks to Clare Bennett, a writer and contributing editor at Tatler magazine, the imagined musings of the two-year-old prince have been published in the form of a "hilarious" book.

The Prince George Diaries, published last month, largely focus on real-life events in George's second year, such as the birth of his sister Princess Charlotte, but with his thoughts on the experiences satirised in an imagined diary.

It begins with his first birthday. The prince is briefed by his press secretary, stylist, zoologist, mood analyst and head of global strategy, and watches his granddad, Prince Charles, singing his favourite Leonard Cohen song to his vegetables.

George muses about GG (his great-grandmother, the Queen), G-Pop (the Duke of Edinburgh, who is described as "the oldest human on earth") and Spike (Prince Harry).

As fourth-in-line to the throne, Princess Charlotte is dubbed "Ringo" and causes much concern for the little prince: "What if the baby has hair like Mummy and I have hair like Daddy? #PANIC Stay cool, George. Remember who you are… You're the heir – they're the spare. Chill."

He also witnesses David Cameron's regular meetings with "GG", in which the prime minister worries about his growing waistline but cannot resist the sandwiches and cakes on offer.

"Move over Adrian Mole!" says the Daily Mail, describing the book as a "hilarious parody".

Other critics say Prince George has been given the "Bridget Jones treatment", which is apt as Bennett worked for Richard Curtis when he wrote the screenplay for Helen Fielding's novel.

The Sunday Times points out that the book follows in the footsteps of other such diaries, often featured in Private Eye, ranging from Mrs Wilson's Diary, the fictional writings of prime minister Harold Wilson's wife Mary, to The Secret Diary of John Major (aged 47¾).

"George is far from the first public figure to be satirised in an imagined diary," says the newspaper, "though he is among the youngest."

Prince George 'very lively' while Princess Charlotte is 'lady-like'

16 October

Prince George has been described as "very lively" by his father Prince William, who yesterday opened a new archive centre at Cambridge University.

The Duke of Cambridge returned to St John's College, where he undertook a ten-week course in agricultural management last year, and revealed the differences between his two children to Professor Christopher Dobson, master of the college.

"We talked a little bit about the children and he did make a couple of comments about their different temperaments," said Dobson. "He said George is very lively and Charlotte is very lady-like. He said they were both delightful of course."

The professor gave Prince William a book to read to the children, called Fitz and Will the Cambridge Cats, and pointed out that a dog in the story looked like the Duke's cocker spaniel Lupo – although William apparently said: "There wouldn't be any of the lawn left if it was Lupo."

Asked if he would like the young royals to follow Prince William's footsteps by studying at St John's, Dobson said: "We take them younger and younger, so you never know!"

The Daily Express suggests Prince George might be turning into the "new Harry", pointing out that Prince William has previously described his son as a "little monkey" and his daughter as a "little joy of heaven". In an interview earlier this year, the Duke said it was "more responsibility looking after two little ones, especially when George is around", but added that it was "fantastic" and that the Duchess of Cambridge has been doing an "amazing job as a mother".

William also gave a public speech last night at the 21st anniversary dinner of Child Bereavement UK, in which he spoke about his mother Princess Diana, reports the Daily Telegraph.

He said his mother had recognised that grief is "the most painful experience that any child or parent can endure" and praised the charity for embracing strangers at the darkest moment in their life.

He added: "As a father to two young children myself, I now appreciate it all the more."

Prince George: paparazzi using 'extreme' tactics to snap royal baby

14 August

Paparazzi photographers are harassing two-year-old Prince George with "increasingly dangerous" tactics, Kensington Palace has said. A Palace statement says "a line has been crossed", with snappers now going to "extreme lengths".

The statement appeals to editors around the world not to buy unauthorised photographs of the future king. According to the BBC, a small number of media organisations in Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand and the US have being doing just that.

The palace says that, while such pictures are "usually dressed up with fun, positive language about the cute, adorable" Prince, readers deserve to know they have been taken in "unacceptable circumstances".

The statement says photographers have:

  • Used long lenses to shoot George and his mother in private parks
  • Monitored the movements of George's nanny and other staff
  • Photographed the children of friends of the Duke and Duchess
  • Used other children to lead George into view in playground
  • Been found hiding on private property
  • Hidden in public sand dunes to photograph George and his grandmother
  • Kept locations near the Middleton family home under constant watch
  • Chased cars as they left family homes 

The last of these accusations has perhaps the most resonance. Prince George's paternal grandmother Diana, Princess of Wales, was being pursued by paparazzi through Paris when a car crash ended her life in 1997.

The statement says it hopes to "inform the public discussion" of the unauthorised photograph of children.

It adds that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge want both their children "to be free to play in public and semi-public spaces with other children without being photographed".

Highgrove Gardens: Prince George's luxury playground

29 July

The Prince of Wales has pulled out all the stops in the grounds of his Gloucestershire home to turn the gardens of Highgrove House into a playtime paradise for Prince George.

Royal duties and foreign tours keep Prince Charles busy, and with over 500 engagements to attend a year it's understandable that he wants to make the most of his time with his grandchildren.

To this end, the Daily Telegraph says Prince Charles has had a treehouse, once used by his own sons, refurbished. Originally built in 1989 for Prince William's seventh birthday, the lofty hideaway is having its roof rethatched and the door replaced to welcome the new generation.

The Times reports that the gardens have been further enhanced for the two year-old royal's visits with an £18,000 wendy house equipped with its own stove and bed. The wheeled shepherd's hut was a gift from the manufacturer, Richard Lee, in recognition of the help he received from the Prince's Trust charity.

Prince Charles's plan to turn the grounds into a haven for his grandchildren appears to be working, with Prince George reportedly enjoying play tea parties in the grounds, as well as helping his grandfather plant trees – an inclination that's sure to please his horticulturalist grandfather.

Kate Middleton and Prince William have made no secret of their desire to give their children as normal an upbringing as possible, far away from the glare of media attention. The private play area reflects the difficulty of allowing Prince George to play in public, where the toddler is apparently dressed in casual clothes to reduce the risk of being spotted by paparazzi. In 2014, a legal warning was issued to a photographer caught following Prince George and his nanny during an outing to Battersea Park.

Prince George's outfit under attack – but is it a disguise?

23 July

Television presenter Janet Street-Porter has sparked outrage after describing Prince George a "cross-dressing millionaire" – but a new theory has emerged about the toddler's outfits.

As the young royal celebrated his second birthday at Anmer Hall yesterday, Street-Porter appeared on ITV's Loose Women and took aim at his "girl's blouse".

Her comments came as the rest of the show's panel admired the Prince's latest official picture, taken by fashion photographer Mario Testino at Princess Charlotte's christening. Street-Porter told them:  "Don't go on. Quite frankly he looks like a cross-dressing millionaire. He does, he's a millionaire, and he's got a girl's blouse on."

Viewers took to Twitter to complain, pointing out that he was just a little boy and urging the presenter to cheer up. "As if Janet Street-Porter just called Prince George a cross-dressing millionaire. He's a baby boy. Off with her head!" wrote one.

But Street-Porter is not the only one to question Prince George's style. Peter Bradshaw at The Guardian says the red knickerbockers and white embroidered chemise combo "looked like something Pinocchio might angrily refuse to wear".

However, Tom Sykes at the Daily Beast suggests there is a meticulous strategy behind the "deeply anachronistic" look.

Why does Kate Middleton dress Prince George in long socks, shorts and blousy shirts? he asks. "The answer has less to do with Kate's personal style or an honouring of the royal tradition of dressing royal children as mini lords and ladies than it does with an inventive strategy by Kate for securing an element of private life for Prince George. Put simply, this is not how George dresses all the time."

Sources say that George's public appearance is "actually a disguise", to throw the general public and photographers "off the scent". When the family want to go out and about "off duty", George is apparently dressed like other toddlers.

"Kate went into the business of being a Royal with her eyes wide open and of her own volition," says Sykes. "George (and his little sister Charlotte) have made no such choice, and his public dress code is one of the ways Kate is trying to claw a few degrees of privacy back for her kids as she rears them."

Prince George turns two: how will he celebrate birthday?

22 July

Prince George turns two today, and his parents are determined to keep the birthday celebrations low-key in keeping with their efforts to give their children as normal a childhood as possible.

The future king's first birthday was marked with much royal fanfare, with the Queen as the guest of honour and a military band serenading the prince with Happy Birthday outside Kensington Palace.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the Cambridges are planning a far more "normal" party for their son and heir's second birthday. In fact, the plans sounds just like any other toddler's birthday, with a few friends and family invited to the family home for finger food and cake. Of course, in this case 'home' means Anmer Hall, the ten-bedroom country manor on the royal Sandringham Estate where the Cambridges spend most of their time.

So simple are the arrangements, it seems, that the Duchess of Cambridge has organised the day with minimal help from staff and her sister, self-styled party planner Pippa Middleton. Having parents who run a business selling children's party supplies must certainly have made the Duchess of Cambridge's preparations a little easier.

The Middletons will be in attendance to wish their grandson a happy birthday, but his other grandparents will be absent – Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are on an official visit to the West Country, but plan to see George later in the week.

Prince William may also be otherwise engaged on his son's birthday, as his new job as an air ambulance pilot might call him away from home. Prince George is unlikely to be too upset to see his father flying off, according to a New Zealand news website, as the young royal is obsessed with helicopters and will be getting a helicopter birthday cake.

"George rarely misses a chance to wave off Harry or William if they're flying their helicopters," Jessica Hay, a friend of the Duchess, said. "He loves them and already says he's planning to be a pilot himself when he's a big boy."

Another official photograph of Prince George at his sister Princess Charlotte's christening has been released to mark his birthday. Four official pictures of the royals, taken by fashion photographer Mario Testino, were released earlier this month. A fifth, showing Prince George smiling in the arms of Prince William, was saved for this week.

"This photograph captures a very happy moment on what was a special day for the duke and duchess and their family," said a Kensington Palace spokeswoman.

"They are very pleased to share this picture as they celebrate Prince George's second birthday."

Prince William recently let slip that, while baby Charlotte is a "little joy of heaven", Prince George is "a little monkey".

According to Richard Kay at the Daily Mail, the toddler enjoys opening and slamming doors and has been known to empty the contents of at least one visitor's bag.

However, Kay points out that his father was described by Prince Charles as "whirlwind Will" when he was little and had a habit of "flushing shoes down the royal loo, pushing the palace panic buttons and threatening to behead his friends or lock them up in the Tower of London".

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