Don’t be fooled by the uniform
Maria lives-in with the Cambridge family at Kensington Palace and accompanies them on family holidays and to engagements where they attend with the children. You’ve most likely spotted her in photos taken of George, Charlotte and Louis out and about. Nanny Maria has been with the family for about five years – since Prince George was a baby.
Hailing from the Norland school of nannies – which harks back to 1892 – Maria often wears a distinctive brown uniform when she’s on duty. And while that seems old-fashioned and quaint, nanny buff Louise Herren told British newspaper The Mirror the Norland method is more practical than anything else.
“It doesn’t have to be strict. Just because Norland nannies wear the brown uniform, they look quite old-fashioned, that doesn’t mean their message is old-fashioned. [Rather] it’s no nonsense,” said Louise.
Read more about the royal family:
- Kate’s best photos of Prince George
- Prince Charlotte in her first official Christmas photo
- Duchess Kate on motherhood: “It’s so hard”
Interestingly there’s one word you’ll never hear Maria shouting across the playground – and no, it’s probably not the word you think!
The word that’s banned at Norland nanny school is … ‘kid’. Yes, kid!
According to Louise, the royal nanny and all her Norland counterparts are told to refer to their charges as, “children” or by their names as a “mark of respect for the children as individuals.”
What a nice sentiment that is, and certainly a pretty modern one, too.
A pretty normal childhood for the Cambridge kids
So what’s life like with Nanny Maria? By all accounts, pretty normal. Despite their enormous privilege, George, Charlotte and eventually Louis (who turns 1 in April) would be expected to “get up, have breakfast, go to school and wear a school uniform whether you like it or not.”
A routine “not too unlike the childhood of other British children,” says Louise.
Duchess Kate’s very hands-on public role with her children is also a good indication of the children’s down-to-earth upbringing and her “good” relationship with nanny, Maria.
“There’d be ‘no messing’ because they have to learn to step off planes, holding mum’s hands, smiling and waving to the crowds, there can’t be any crying or terrible twos or tantrums, “said Louise.
William and Kate’s hands-on parenting philosophy
The ‘hands on’ approach to parenting is definitely something that both Kate and William have mentioned several times in the public arena. On a recent charity engagement, William remarked on the trials of having a teething baby Louis, claiming he’d soon be “chewing” the cute helicopter toy he was gifted. Duchess Kate has spoken candidly about just how tough motherhood can be:
“You get a lot of support with the baby as a mother particularly in the early days, but after the age of one, it falls away. After that, there isn’t a huge amount … Lots of books to read… Everybody experiences the same struggle,” said Kate.
With three children under six, it’s easy to believe the pace would be very speedy for the royal couple. Lucky they’ve got Maria on hand to help, too! (Just as long as she avoids that word, of course.)
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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are pleased to share a new photograph of their family. The photograph, taken by Matt Porteous, shows The Duke and Duchess with their three children at Anmer Hall. This photograph features on Their Royal Highnesses’ Christmas card this year.