July 24, 2013 at 9:36 AM ET
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are not believed to have hired a nanny yet, and it remains to be seen whether they will break with royal tradition and raise the future king without one.
However, if they need a 21st-century Mary Poppins who can perform martial arts and driving stunts as well as change nappies, a school in Bath, England, has plenty of candidates for them.
At Norland College, prospective nannies learn traditional child care and cooking skills that have been taught at the school since it was founded in 1892 — but they also learn modern techniques to help protect the rich and famous.
They may still dress in their old-fashioned brown uniforms with felt hats and white gloves, but they also can handle hand-to-hand combat with an attacker and outrace aggressive paparazzi in a car. The nannies are trained in martial arts to fend off potential kidnappers and also learn evasive and stunt driving skills to deal with everything from dangerous weather conditions to dodging the press.
“We are creating the most prepared nanny that we can for the modern-day family,’’ Claire Burgess, an early years consultant at Norland College, told TODAY Wednesday.
When the couple return to their royal duties, which require extensive travel, they will likely have to consider hiring a full-time nanny to raise their son. If they decide to bring on a nanny, they will know where to look for ones with modern and traditional skills.
“I think ‘supernanny’ is definitely the term or would be in the job description,” NBC royal expert Camilla Tominey said on TODAY. “Looking after the royal baby Cambridge, it couldn’t be more high-profile.”
Trainees pay $55,000 for the four-year course, learning skills like first aid, sewing and cooking in addition to self-defense and driving. In the second year of the course, students learn from a stunt driver on the Castle Combe Racing Circuit in Wiltshire about how to handle a car in all kinds of situations, from icy roads to potential kidnappers to pursuing paparazzi.
Nannies are part of the fabric of British society and have been a fixture in the royal family over the years: Prince Charles had two nannies, and Prince William and Prince Harry each had three. Thus far, William and Kate have not announced any decision on whether they are hiring a nanny for their young prince. William has taken paternity leave from his job as a helicopter pilot to help care for the boy.
“They have said, ‘Look, we don’t want to have huge amounts of people around us for these first weeks and months, we’d like to be hands-on,’’’ Tominey said.