For a long time, Prince George had no idea he’d one day be a king.

“As far as we are concerned within our family unit, we are a normal family,” Prince William explained of his and Princess Kate’s decision not to tell their first-born, who was still a toddler at the time, about his destiny too early. “There will be a time and a place to bring George up and understand how he fits in in the world. But right now, it’s just a case of keeping a secure, stable environment around him and showing as much love as I can as a father.”

Kate and William Are Easing George In

William, 41, and Kate, 42 have done their best to stick to that plan. However, with the death of Queen Elizabeth II in 2022, as well as King Charles III’s and Kate’s cancer diagnoses this year, they’ve had to begin having some important conversations with George.

“The family’s been through a lot of changes lately, and it’s naturally led to conversations about George’s future duties. They’re helping him comprehend the situation better,” a royals source exclusively explained to Life & Style, confirming that William and Kate have sat the 10-year-old down to talk about succession and “what is and will be expected of him. It’s a daunting prospect, but George is a smart boy. He understands that one day he will be king.”

It’s been a delicate balance.

“William is torn,” says the source. “He’s beginning to prepare George, but he still wants his son to have as carefree a childhood as he can — like his mother, [the late Princess] Diana, allowed him to do.”

Thankfully, adds the source, “Kate’s great at knowing how to let George be a kid” alongside his siblings, the “spares” — Princess Charlotte, who turns 9 in May, and Prince Louis, who turns 6 in April. “He isn’t treated any differently around their house.”

Prince William, Kate Middleton Helping George With Future Role
Karwai Tang / Getty Images

Though William once famously called baby George “a right little rascal sometimes,” his “sweet boy” has been growing up nicely. A few years ago, he began guitar lessons, Kate revealed, and he “was straight in there,” William proudly said, when the opportunity to help deliver lambs on a farm near their country home, Amner Hall, emerged a few years back.

These days, he’s enthralled by sports: He’s attended championship soccer, rugby and tennis games, and last fall “[William] was telling me how George has been doing a triathlon at school,” retired world triathlon champion Non Stanford revealed.

“They are growing and trying out different sports,” Kate confirmed in 2023 of all three of her children. “It’s going to be interesting to see how that grows and develops.”

Prince George Is Learning the Ropes

George is also learning many of the skills he’ll need to be a working senior royal someday.

“He already has great manners and knows the proper protocol while in public with dignitaries,” says the source. “But George doesn’t like all the traditional rules — he hates the bowing and formality. He rolls his eyes and thinks it’s quite silly. Yet he doesn’t complain.”

Even amid her health crisis, Kate and William have been helping George balance school with the extra lessons he’s starting to need. And it’s made them more grateful than ever that they bucked royal tradition and kept their little boy close.

King Charles III sent both of his sons, William and Prince Harry away to boarding school when they were just eight. In 2022, the Prince and Princess of Wales instead enrolled their kids at the $30,000-a-year coed Lambrook School, near their new home on the Windsor Castle estate.

“Kate’s always wanted them to have more of a normal upbringing than William did,” an insider previously told Life & Style, “and didn’t necessarily want them to follow every royal tradition.”

Royal Duty Requirements Are Creeping Up for Prince George

Kate knows the clock is ticking, though.

“In a few short years, George’s life is going to drastically change” as he takes on more responsibilities, says the insider, and “Kate thinks he should be out having fun, not living away from his family” — at least until he’s older.

For now, says the first source, “George is really just a regular kid … who just so happens to be second in line to the throne.”