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The Life of a Royal Nanny

Tiffany Smith
July 24, 2017

What will it be like to care for the new royal baby and work for Prince William and Duchess Catherine?

Clara Knight, Mabel Anderson, Helen Lightbody, Tiggy Legge-Bourke ... do you recognize these names? They are only a few of the amazing women who dedicated their lives to caring for the British royal family. Who will be the new royal nanny?

Many royal sources and experts are claiming that William and Kate don't plan to hire a nanny because they want to follow in Princess Diana's footsteps and be more hands-on parents. 53 percent of people think that the royal couple should not hire a nanny, but care for the baby themselves, says a poll from British newspaper The Mail. But is that feasible?

William only gets two weeks of paternity leave before he returns to his job with the Royal Air Force, and Kate is expected to start back up with public engagements a few short months after the birth. Considering the busy lives of the couple and their extended family, a nanny is essential.

But the job of being the nanny for Baby Cambridge won't be easy. (Can you imagine the Queen being one of your employers and a prince or princess being your charge?)

With the royal baby due any day now, we thought we would take an in-depth look at what it means to be a royal nanny.

Want to be inspired by Wills and Kate? Hire your own nanny to care for your little prince or princess.

Hiring a Royal Nanny
Last January, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge advertised for a housekeeper to walk their cocker spaniel Lupo and deal with cleaning and laundry. They said that "attention to detail, together with a flexible and pro-active approach is essential."

The couple ended up hiring a 42-year-old Italian woman named Antonella Fresolone for the role. She had been one of the Queen's housemaids and, as a royal source told Hello magazine, "is renowned for being very hard working. She is extremely dedicated and fully intends for this job to become her whole life."

The nanny that William and Kate hire will probably have similar qualities.

"I would assume that a qualified nanny, who has worked with babies and very young children, and has experience with high-profile families, will be appointed," says Rosemary Albone, Care.com's nanny expert, who trained at the prestigious nanny school Norland College and has been working as a nanny and child care expert for over 20 years.

"But most importantly, Kate and William should find someone who shares their same values and who they feel comfortable with -- nannies look after the whole family -- not just the children."

Caring for a Royal
Yes, the royal nanny will live in a palace and have to practice her curtsey, but caring for a future monarch isn't that different than caring for any child. You're still mainly concerned with things like bathing, dressing, feeding and entertaining the little one -- and giving lots of hugs!

"The nanny will make sure that the child has time dedicated to play, learn, rest and interact with other people and other children too, as this helps with overall development," says Albone.

She will be responsible for teaching the child manners, managing the child's daily routine, noticing and alerting others of any changes in the child's health and well-being, and talking to the parents about what activities they did that day.

"The royal nanny -- as with all nannies -- needs to exercise good communications skills. It is as important to share the news of a snail discovered in the garden on a walk as it is to talk about meals eaten and naps taken," she says.

Whether a family is made up of working parents or royal parents, it can be tricky to find time together. The royal nanny can help. One of her responsibilities will be to "work together with Kate and William to identify every possible opportunity for the new royal family to spend time together," says Albone.

Relying on a Team
But the Duke and Duchess' nanny won't be caring for the child alone. She'll be a part of a team of people devoted to caring for the infant as he or she grows up.

There will be a team of nursemaids and domestic staff to assist in the day-to-day running of the nursery area and help with things like security, travel, publicity and event planning. There will even be footmen to help lug all the baby equipment, such as the light blue Bugaboo stroller Kate purchased -- now aren't you really jealous?

The nanny will also have to work closely with the royal chef to plan meals for the child -- with or without a silver spoon. Darren McGrady was the chef at Kensington Palace while Princes William and Harry were growing up. As he told TODAY, "I'm sure Kate will have input into what dishes the baby will have, but the nanny will have the ultimate say."

Like the two princes, the new baby will likely start out with a menu of breast milk, before moving on to fresh purees. He or she may even develop William's taste buds and start liking bacon, peanut butter and jelly muffins!

Dealing with Privacy Issues
Another major issue that the nanny will face is privacy. When you're caring for a celebrity baby, especially a future heir to a crown, the paparazzi will always be watching you.

"As the nanny has the most contact with the royal baby, she will need to be particularly tuned into issues of confidentiality and privacy," says Albone.

In 1950, Marion Crawford wrote a book called "The Little Princesses: The Story of the Queen's Childhood by her Nanny." It was a tell-all tale about caring for the current Queen Elizabeth II and her sister Princess Margaret and caused in a huge scandal. This will certainly be on the list of things the new royal nanny should not do.

She will probably be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement and avoid any social media. "The nanny's own private life will be closely looked at and observed," says Albone, "and so she may need to put her own personal life on hold for a while."

Hiring your own non-royal nanny? Learn about the 9 Social Media Rules Your Nanny Should Follow

Working With Wills and Kate
All new parents have a lot of learning to do, but Kate and William will always be in the spotlight -- while the majority of us can make our mistakes quietly at home! But what type of parents will they be?

"Because they are young and demonstrating some level of independence, they will apply this to their parenting and wherever possible do things in a way that instinctively feels right to them, whilst acknowledging the legacy of royalty and heritage," says Albone.

Former royal nannies have been able to offer their views, make suggestions and use their professional skills, but today's modern nannies are freer to play a more significant part in the equation -- drawing on their experiences and qualifications.

"Kate and William are going to be great employers and want their nanny to work alongside them, offering advice as appropriate," she believes.

Working With the Family
Earlier this year, Kate reportedly said that she wanted her mother Carole Middleton to be her nanny. She even plans on living with her parents after the baby arrives, while William is stationed in Wales. While stepping into a full-time royal nanny job might be too much to ask of any doting grandparent, the new parents will benefit from having the support of both their royal and Middleton families.

"The royal nanny will need to establish relationships with the whole family and sensitively make time for everyone to be connected to the baby, says Albone. "My advice would be to stand back and see this new family as any new family and help them all to enjoy this wonderful new phase in their lives -- away from the immense public interest and pressures -- as they will be experiencing the whole range of emotions, physical tiredness and wonder of all new parents and grandparents."

Despite all of these rules, paparazzi, scheduling and other royal headaches, 60 percent of people said they would want to nanny for Kate (compared to only 8 percent for Kim Kardashian), according to a Care.com survey.

Would you?

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