Royal baby: what happens in the next few months

With so many palaces to choose from, how will Will and Kate decide?
Britain’s Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge hold the Prince of Cambridge, Tuesday July 23, 2013, as they pose for photographers outside St. Mary’s Hospital exclusive Lindo Wing in London where the Duchess gave birth on Monday July 22. The Royal couple are expected to head to London’s Kensington Palace from the hospital with their newly born son, the third in line to the British throne. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

On Tuesday, William and Kate appeared with their bundle of joy on the steps of St. Mary’s Hospital in London for the obligatory photo op. But from the moment they drove away, their son securely fastened in his car seat, the couple will try to keep the future monarch out of the public eye, at least during the early months.

After the hospital: The first night was spent at their cozy two-bedroom Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace. There, they welcomed Kate’s sister, Pippa, and brother, James, as well as Prince Harry, who rushed back from his military base. And the next day Queen Elizabeth II, the boy’s great-grandmother, came over from nearby Buckingham Palace to see the baby.

Next few weeks: After the visits, William and Kate took their son to her parents’ place in Bucklebury in the Berkshire countryside. It’s relatively secluded and most importantly, has a pool to help deal with the heat wave that’s gripped Britain lately. Given the cost of securing the estate has to be born by the local police—and it’s sure to soar as foreign paparazzi try to get a money-making shot of the new family—it’s unlikely Kate and her son will spend the entire summer there, so as to not strain the already-tight police budget. The family could also spend some time at Charles’s estate of Highgrove. And Kate may pop back into the city to visit friends and shop.

After William’s two-week paternity leave ends, he’ll return to his RAF search-and-rescue base on the Welsh island of Anglesey, where the couple has lived for the last five years. Kate will probably split her time between Bucklebury and living with him at their secluded house, nestled on the estate of Sir George and Lady Meyrick. When he’s pulling a 24-hour shift, Kate can rely on her mother and sister, who will be more than happy to come to Wales to help her out.

Mid-August: At the invitation of great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, the family will likely decamp to Balmoral in Scotland for a few days. The remote and private 19,000-hectare estate is a beloved family retreat from prying eyes. William and Kate spent a lot of time at the three-bedroom Tam-na-Gha cottage during their courtship at the University of St. Andrews.

Summer: The palace will placate the public and attempt to fend off the worst tabloid intrusions by releasing an official family photo, and perhaps one showing four generations of monarchs, current and future: the Queen, Charles, William and his son.

Autumn: With William’s stint in the RAF complete in September, they’ll move to Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace, once $1.6 million worth of interior renovations, roof repair and asbestos removal have been completed. Far more comfortable than the tiny Nottingham Cottage, the 20-room, four-storey house comes with its own walled garden.

October: Royal christenings usually occur a few months after the birth, so it will likely take place after the Queen returns from Balmoral. It will be a grand, but private, affair in the music room of Buckingham Palace. While the baptism won’t be filmed, there will be a photo op with the baby’s extended family and godparents.

December: The Windsors travel to the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk, where William and Kate will check on renovations to Anmer Hall, the Georgian house given to them by the Queen.

Christmas: As has become their custom, the holiday season will be split between the Middleton and Windsor families. Royal watchers can hope for a glimpse of the new babe in the Queen’s annual televised Christmas message, which always contains lots of video.

New Year’s Eve: Carole Middleton gets to show off her grandchild to neighbours and friends at home in Berkshire.