The Queen’s training program for preparing Prince William to be king included lots of tea and cake

The Queen began training Prince William to be king from the age of 13

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 07: Queen Elizabeth II holds up her glasses after joking with Prince William, Duke of Cambridge in the Royal Box at the Royal Albert Hall during the Annual Festival of Remembrance on November 7, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Queen began training Prince William to be King in childhood, but it was far from the royal boot camp one might expect.  

The Queen began training Prince William to be king as a child, but that doesn't mean he was treated like an adult. 

The Duke of Cambridge enrolled in the lessons from the age of 13, visiting Windsor Castle every Sunday to learn how to one day rule his country. The regular classes were fundamental to forging a bond between the prince and his grandmother, who was concerned about the young heir's attitude towards royal life. She reportedly became a confidant for Prince William during his adolescence, offering a listening ear over tea and cakes every weekend. 

"The Queen plays a very special dual role in William’s life," explained Katie Nicholl, author of Kate: The Future Queen. "She is his sovereign, but also a very loving grandmother who wants to prepare him for the future." 

BRAEMAR, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 03: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Queen Elizabeth II and Prince William attend the 2005 Braemar Highland Gathering at The Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park on September 3, 2005 in Braemar, Scotland. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

The Queen and Prince William at the Braemar Highland Gathering at The Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park in 2005

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

“He would have one-on-one time with his grandmother to talk about whatever was on his mind. She was there for him to unload on," she added. 

However, that doesn't mean the young William could kick his feet up. Once the heart-to-heart was over, it was time to get down to business. 

"Those sessions were also an opportunity for her to mentor and teach him, as her grandfather, George V, did with her,” Katie said. “They became incredibly close and as his respect for her grew he began to embrace his destiny.”

As he was still at boarding school in his teens, William's monarch training was fairly elementary at this time. The Queen was focused on building the foundation for her grandson's constitutional knowledge, rather than overloading him with royal duties. 

"When William became a teenager, she would have him at Windsor Castle and would open the state boxes and guide him through the papers," explained Robert Lacey, historian and royal consultant to The Crown

It wasn't until Prince William was in his twenties that the real work began. 

In 2009, he entered an intensive two-year training course to prepare for his role as king. Designed by the Queen and Prince Charles, the program required Prince William to work directly with the British government and receive lessons on constitutional law from legal experts. It also equipped him with the tools to navigate high-profile meetings, introducing him to political heavyweights like the former Prime Minister, Sir John Major. 

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.