Royal couple to hire nanny? Kate wants to be 'hands-on'

Max Mumby / Indigo via Getty
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will likely take a modern approach to parenting.

Prince William and Duchess Kate appear intent on becoming hands-on parents, dramatically more modern than the generations before them.

Just weeks away from the mid-July due date of their first child, they have yet to hire anyone recently beyond household help.

Like many commoners, they initially plan to get by with an assist from the in-laws – in this case, Kate’s parents, according to royal experts. Ultimately, however, they will likely resort to what every royal couple before them has relied on to bring up baby: a nanny.

The role of royal nannies and others who helped raise the children of the royal family has changed significantly over the years, from Queen Elizabeth’s childhood to the most recent era of Prince William and his younger brother, Prince Harry.

“Previously, the royal nannies would have been very much taking on board the royal protocols and expectations from parents, and following those to the T,” said Rosemary Albone, a royal nanny expert for Care.com, a service that matches families with caregivers. “That meant instilling in children the expectations of how they should behave and the sorts of things that would be appropriate for the children to be demonstrating in public.”

Tim Graham / Getty Images
Olga Powell was viewed as a firm, but kind nanny to Prince William and Prince Harry, with whom she cared for more than a dozen years.

In the past, it was common for royal families to hire an entire team to help the nanny. Clara Knight, for example, served as nanny to then-Princess Elizabeth and her sister, but was helped by a team of nursemaids and other assistants so she could focus on overseeing daily routines.

One of Knight’s aides was Marion “Crawfie” Crawford, a governess who later shared nanny responsibilities until her retirement. But Crawford broke the ultimate nanny code by writing a tell-all book about her royal experiences. Although she revealed nothing salacious, Buckingham Palace severed all ties with Crawford afterward.

Less controversial was Olga Powell, the strict but loving nanny who helped raise Prince William and his brother, Harry. She stayed with the royal family for 15 years, guiding the two young princes through emotionally rocky milestones like their parents' divorce and the death of their mother. Powell, who was credited with helping the boys become grounded young men, passed away last Oct., and William canceled several official appearances to attend her funeral.

Princess Diana Archive / via Getty Images
The Prince and Princess of Wales with their newborn son Prince William on the steps of St Mary's Hospital, London, June 1982. The couple took their son on a trip abroad with them eight months later, breaking with royal tradition.

The prince’s early years with his mother are often viewed as a turning point in royal childcare. In March 1983, when William was just 8 months old, Princess Diana broke from tradition and brought the infant with her on a six-week tour of Australia and New Zealand.

Previously, royals often left their babies behind with the nanny while traveling for business, noted British monarch expert Arianne Chernock, a history professor at Boston University.

“Queen Elizabeth was really criticized at times for being perceived as a distant parent, and for not bringing her children with her,” she said.

Prince Charles and his siblings were left for months at at time under the care of their two nannies – Helen Lightbody and Mabel Anderson – while their mother traveled on official business. Queen Elizabeth reportedly missed her son’s first three birthdays because of travel, something unimaginable in today’s world.

“But it was also a different moment. It was the ‘50s,” Chernock said. “In 2013, there are different expectations attached to parenting. The idea of the monarch is changing.”

And Duchess Kate is doing her best to force that change.

  • Slideshow Photos

    John Stillwell / Getty Images Europe

    Image: Queen Elizabeth II Hosts A Garden Party At Buckingham Palace

    Duchess Kate's maternity style

    From the moment the royal couple announced in December 2012 that they were expecting, the world has been captivated by Kate's many maternity looks.

  • Image: British Royal Baby Birth

    Duchess Kate's maternity style

    of

    Duchess Kate's maternity style -

    With husband Prince William by her side, Duchess Kate — wearing a custom-made dress by British designer Jenny Packham — revealed her newborn son to the world on July 23, 2013 at St. Mary's hospital in London. Take a look back at the new royal mom's chic and sophisticated maternity style.

    EPA / EPA
  • Image: BRITAIN-ROYALS

    Duchess Kate's maternity style

    of

    Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives to attend a ceremony to officially name Princess Cruises's new ship 'Royal Princess' in England on June 13, 2013.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
  • Image: Queen Elizabeth II Attends Westminster Abbey Service To Mark 60th Anniversary Of Her Coronation

    Duchess Kate's maternity style

    of

    Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend a service of celebration to mark the 60th anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on June 4 in London.

    Indigo via Getty Images / Indigo via Getty Images
  • Image: BRITAIN-ROYALS-GARDEN PATY

    Duchess Kate's maternity style

    of

    Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, left, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge attend a Garden Party in the grounds of Buckingham Palace in London on May 22.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
  • Image: The Duchess Of Cambridge Visits Naomi House

    Duchess Kate's maternity style

    of

    Kate arrives in a peachy perfect outfit at Naomi House on April 29, 2013 near Winchester, England.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge And Prince Harry Attend The Inauguration Of Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden

    Duchess Kate's maternity style

    of

    From left, Prince Harry, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge raise their wands on the set used to depict Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter Films during the Inauguration Of Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden on April 26 in London.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: The Duchess Of Cambridge Visits The National Portrait Gallery

    Duchess Kate's maternity style

    of

    Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attends an evening reception to celebrate the work of the charity at the National Portrait Gallery on April 24 in London.

    Getty Images Contributor / Getty Images Contributor
  • Image: The Duchess Of Cambridge Visits Manchester

    Duchess Kate's maternity style

    of

    Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives to visit The Willows Primary School in Manchester to help launch a counseling program for kids whose parents suffer from addiction on April 23.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: The Duchess Of Cambridge Attends The National Review Of The Queen's Scouts At Windsor Castle

    Duchess Kate's maternity style

    of

    Kate, with the first real signs of a baby bump, attends the National Review of Queen's Scouts at Windsor Castle on April 21.

    WPA pool via Getty Images / WPA pool via Getty Images
  • Image: The Earl And Countess Of Strathearn Visit Scotland

    Duchess Kate's maternity style

    of

    Duchess Kate looks dashing in red as she helps Maizie Yeardley adjust her dress during a visit to BAE Systems in Barrow-in-Furness, United Kingdom on April 5.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: BRITAIN-ROYALS-CGAMES-2014

    Duchess Kate's maternity style

    of

    Duchess Kate doesn't sacrifice style as she plays table tennis against hubby Prince William during a visit to the Donald Dewer Leisure Center in Glasgow, Scotland on April 4.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
  • Image: Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge holds a "Baby on board!" badge given to her during her visit to Baker Street underground station in London

    Duchess Kate's maternity style

    of

    Duchess Kate holds a "Baby on board!" badge given to her during a visit to a London Tube station March 30.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Image: The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit the 1st Battalion Irish Guards On St Patrick's Day

    Duchess Kate's maternity style

    of

    Kate presents sprigs of Shamrock to the 1st Battalion Irish Guards during a St Patrick's Day Parade.

    Getty Images Contributor / Getty Images Contributor
  • Image: The Duchess Of Cambridge Makes An Official Visit To Grimsby

    Duchess Kate's maternity style

    of

    Kate visits The National Fishing Heritage Centre on March 5 in Grimsby, England.

    Getty Images Contributor / Getty Images Contributor
  • Image: Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visits the Hope House residential treatment centre in London

    Duchess Kate's maternity style

    of

    Kate visits the Hope House residential treatment center for recovering addicts on February 19.

    Pool via Reuters / Pool via Reuters
  • Image: Duchess Of Cambridge Leaves The King Edward VII Hospital

    Duchess Kate's maternity style

    of

    Prince William and Kate leave London's King Edward VII hospital where the duchess was being treated for acute morning sickness on December 6, 2012.

    Getty Images Contributor / Getty Images Contributor
  • Image: British Newspapers Report Duchess of Cambridge Pregnancy

    Duchess Kate's maternity style

    of

    British newspapers shower their front pages with the news of Kate's pregnancy on December 4.

    EPA / EPA

Even her recent departure from public duties, a royal maternity leave of sorts, is being viewed as a something of a break from the past.

“We know she wants to be quite hands-on with the baby. She and the prince haven’t even hired a nanny yet, because she wants to be bringing up this baby personally, and that requires her to be off work,” said Camilla Tominey, royal editor of London’s Sunday Express.

So how will the duke and duchess eventually go about hiring a nanny?

They will look for someone with a combination of experience and training, probably from an elite institution like Norland, often considered the Harvard of nanny colleges and the training ground for many royals, celebrities and other high-profile clients.

“I think there would be a cache of individuals used to that level of intensity, in terms of public scrutiny, and working with that high level of security and those sorts of things,” said Albone, a Norland graduate herself.

While the duchess has kept mum about her plans for child care, Albone is certain she and Prince William will hire help.

“I’m absolutely certain they will have a nanny. It’s completely inevitable that with the amount of work they both do,” she said. “But where possible, they will do as much as they can and spend time with their child. It will definitely be a shared care kind of arrangement.”

  • Slideshow Photos

    Kate Gabor / AFP

    This handout picture released by Kungahu

    Toddlers in tiaras: Royals and their babies

    Kate and Will brought their first child into the world on July 22, but they aren't the first royals to welcome a bundle of (titled) joy. Click through to check out other mini-majesties and their proud parents.

  • Badminton Horse Trials 2013 - Day 4

    Toddlers in tiaras: Royals and their babies

    of

    Royals and their babies -

    As the world celebrates the birth of Duchess Kate and Prince William's first baby on July 22, we take a look back at other mini-majesties and their proud parents.

    Peter Phillips, the eldest grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, carries his daughter Savannah on his shoulders as his wife Autumn Phillips carries their other daughter Isla on May 5, 2013 in England.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • This handout picture released by Kungahu

    Toddlers in tiaras: Royals and their babies

    of

    Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria holds her 3-week-old baby, Estelle, on March 13, 2012 in Haga Slott, Stockholm.

    AFP-Getty Images / AFP-Getty Images
  • Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark Introduce Newborn Royal Twins

    Toddlers in tiaras: Royals and their babies

    of

    Princess Mary of Denmark and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark hold their newborn twins, Prince Vincent Frederik Minik Alexander and Princess Josephine Sophia Ivalo Mathilda, on January 14, 2011 in Copenhagen. The boy and girl joined the couple's other children, Prince Christian Valdemar Henri John and Princess Isabella Henrietta Ingrid Margrethe.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Princess Alexia Celebrates 2nd Birthday

    Toddlers in tiaras: Royals and their babies

    of

    (L-R) Dutch Princess Alexia poses for a photo on her second birthday with her mom, Princess Maxima, her father, Crown Prince Willem Alexander, her baby sister Princess Ariane and her older sister Princess Catharina-Amalia on June 26, 2007 in The Hague, Netherlands.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Princess Martha Louise,  Emma Tallulah Behn, Ari Behn   Maud Angelica Behn,  Leah Isadora Behn

    Toddlers in tiaras: Royals and their babies

    of

    Norway's Princess Martha Louise, left, holds her baby daughter Emma Tallulah Behn, with her husband Ari Behn and her two other daughters, Maud Angelica Behn (R.) and Leah Isadora Behn in Oslo on Jan. 19, 2009.

    AP / AP
  • AP I JPN JAPAN BABY PRINCE

    Toddlers in tiaras: Royals and their babies

    of

    Two-month-old Japanese Prince Hisahito, in the arms of his mother Princess Kiko, center, and with his father Prince Akishino, left, visits his grandparents' residence, Tokyo's Imperial Palace, on Nov. 14, 2006. Hisahito is the first male heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne in four decades.

    AP / AP
  • Christening Of Her Royal Highness Princess Ingrid Alexandra

    Toddlers in tiaras: Royals and their babies

    of

    Norway's Crown Princess Mette-Marit (holding Princess Ingrid Alexandra) poses with her son Marius Hoiby and Crown Prince Haakon to greet the public from the balcony of the royal palace on April 17, 2004 in Oslo, Norway. Princess Ingrid Alexandra is second in line to the throne.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Toddlers in tiaras: Royals and their babies

    of

    Jordan's King Abdullah II, right, and Jordan's Queen Rania, left, pose with their son Prince Hashem in Amman, Jordan, on Jan. 31, 2005. He is their fourth child.

    AP / AP
  • Belgium Crown Prince Philippe, Princess

    Toddlers in tiaras: Royals and their babies

    of

    Belgium's Crown Prince Philippe and his wife, Princess Mathilde, pose with their kids, Princess Elisabeth and baby Prince Gabriel Baudouin Charles Marie, on August 22, 2003 in Brussels.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
  • Moroccan Royal Palace Announced Birth Of Son

    Toddlers in tiaras: Royals and their babies

    of

    Moroccan Princess Laila Salma holds her son, Moulay Al Hassan, as King Mohammed VI looks on May 15, 2003 in Rabat, Morocco. King Mohammed VI, 39, ascended the throne in 1999 following the death of his father, who had ruled for 38 years.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • PRINCESS AIKO, NARUHITO, MASAKO

    Toddlers in tiaras: Royals and their babies

    of

    Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito holds Princess Aiko as he strolls with Crown Princess Masako through the gardens of their Togu Palace residence in Tokyo on March 1, 2002.

    AP / AP
  • Duchess of York

    Toddlers in tiaras: Royals and their babies

    of

    Britain’s Sarah, Duchess of York, left, holds her daughter, Princess Beatrice Elizabeth Mary, after her christening in London’s St. James’s Palace on Dec. 20, 1988. The Duke of York, at right (they divorced in 1996), gets a closer look at the baby.

    AP / AP
  • PRINCESS DIANA

    Toddlers in tiaras: Royals and their babies

    of

    Princess Diana poses with sons Prince William, foreground, and Prince Harry, in her arms, in 1984.

    AP / AP
  • PRINCESS CRISTINA,INAKI AND JUAN

    Toddlers in tiaras: Royals and their babies

    of

    Spanish Princess Cristina and her husband Inaki Urdangarin smile as they leave a hospital in Barcelona on Oct. 1, 1999 with their newborn baby Juan.

    AP / AP
  • Retrospective On Prince Rainier

    Toddlers in tiaras: Royals and their babies

    of

    Prince Rainier III of Monaco watches as Princess Caroline holds her baby, Pierre Casiraghi. Prince Albert (far left) holds her other son, Andrea, and husband Stefano Casiraghi holds daughter Charlotte at the Princess Grace Hospital in 1987 in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Toddlers in tiaras: Royals and their babies

    of

    Prince Juan Carlos of Spain and his wife, formerly Princess Sophia of Greece, soon after the birth of their first child, Infanta Elena, in Madrid, on December 23, 1963. The Princess's full name is Elena Maria Isabel Dominica de los Silos de Borbon y de Grecia.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • NAGAKO AKIHITO

    Toddlers in tiaras: Royals and their babies

    of

    Late Empress Nagako embraces one-year-old Crown Prince Akihito, current emperor, at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo in this 1935 photo.

    AP / AP
  • Toddlers in tiaras: Royals and their babies

    of

    Britain's Royal family sits on blanket on the grounds of Balmoral Castle, Scotland, on Sept. 8, 1960. Prince Andrew, in the lap of his father, Prince Philip, reaches for a trinket presented by his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, as Princess Anne and Prince Charles try to catch the baby's attention.

    AP / AP
  • Toddlers in tiaras: Royals and their babies

    of

    In this balcony scene, from Monte Carlo, Monaco in 1958, Princess Grace carries Prince Albert while her husband, Prince Rainier, holds Princess Caroline in his arms.

    AP / AP
  • Royal Babies

    Toddlers in tiaras: Royals and their babies

    of

    That's the queen of England on the left, holding her daughter, Princess Anne, seated on the couch with her mother, who's grabbing Prince Charles's hand in this photo, taken on Oct. 21, 1950.

    Getty Images / Getty Images


0:00
 
0:00
Your video begins in
0:00
TOP