In July 2021, an eight-year-old Prince George stood in the stands at Wembley Stadium with his parents, watching the European Championships. He wore a suit and striped tie almost identical to his father, Prince William. He clapped and cheered—especially when England scored a goal. At one point, he gave a warm hug to his mother, the Duchess of Cambridge.
It was an adorable—and public—appearance.
By all accounts, Prince William and Kate Middleton try to give George, as well as his siblings Charlotte and Louis, a normal life. George goes by the name “George Cambridge” while at school. George reportedly does chores around the house and makes his own bed each morning. Oftentimes, his parents do the school drop off and pick up.
But, of course, George isn’t normal. He’s the heir to the British throne—although due to shrinking monarchies across Europe and the worldwide nature of the news cycle, it feels more like a global position. And quite a long one at that: George, like his father Prince William, will likely become a full-time working royal by age 35 (if not earlier). To assume a position this important, prolonged, and public, one must, well, be prepared.
According to royal historian Robert Lacey’s Book, Battle of Brothers, Prince George learned of his inherited role around the age of seven. “William has not revealed to the world how and when he broke the big news to his son,” Lacey wrote. “But sometime around the boy’s seventh birthday in the summer of 2020 it is thought that his parents went into more detail about what the little prince’s life of future royal ‘service and duty’ would particularly involve.”
Lesson one? Starting service—early. During the coronavirus pandemic, William and Kate had their children volunteer delivering meals to their at-risk neighbors. They also were said to have stressed the important sacrifice made by heath care workers during the pandemic—and had the family participate in the “clap for carers” initiative. George has also been picking up litter through his school. His father described his son as a budding environmentalist as a result: “[He was] a bit sort of annoyed by the fact they went out litter picking one day and then the very next day, they did the same route, same time and pretty much all the same litter they picked up was back again,” Prince William recently said in an interview with the BBC.