Four-year-old Prince George is third in line to the throne of Great Britain, so does he even need to write a Christmas list? Well, it turns out that he does. Moreover, his loving father, Prince William, is luckily in a position to be able to deliver the list to Santa Claus personally. But has the little royal been naughty or nice this year? And what does he want for a present?
When George was born in July 2013, it was into a far more modern royal family than any that had come before them. Gone, it seemed, were the stuffy traditions of the past. Yes, it hadn’t been that long since royal children were supposed to be “seen and not heard” – but that has all changed.
In the past, royal children were essentially seen as smaller adults. And indeed, in her earlier years, Queen Elizabeth II would shake the hands of her young children rather than hug the little ones. It was Princess Diana, William’s mother, who seemed to turn such customs on their head. She insisted on raising her children herself – and even took them out to theme parks and beaches like regular parents do.
No matter how good your parents are, however, growing up as a royal isn’t always easy. In today’s social-media age, every photo of George that the paparazzi take is dissected and analyzed – and sometimes laughed at. For example, whenever George throws a tantrum in public, as kids his age often do, photos of it can be online within minutes.
But, of course, there are many good things about being a royal child, too. For instance, George and his younger sister, Princess Charlotte, have gotten to see more of the world in their handful of years than many people will in a lifetime. And in September 2017 the little prince started his education at the prestigious – and very expensive – Thomas’s Battersea School in London.
What else? Well, while Christmas is an exciting event for most children, it’s a very exciting one for royal kids. Every Christmas, the Queen invites the whole family to her imposing Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. And what’s more, the children get to open their presents a day early, on Christmas Eve.
That said, although the royals are surrounded by finery at their luxurious estate, apparently the only gifts that the adults give one another are jokey ones. What do you buy, after all, for people who pretty much have everything already? Well, according to British tabloid The Sun, silly gifts such as toilet seats are popular.
Meanwhile, when it comes to scrubbing up well in public, William and Kate always make sure that their children are dressed impeccably for the Christmas service and for royal Christmas cards. They release one every year, with 2017’s edition seeing the family smiling happily together while wearing matching blue. And just as is the case with their mother, anything that George and Charlotte are photographed wearing tends to sell out in stores very quickly indeed.
George’s Christmases are, then, always picture-perfect affairs. But one thing’s been missing so far: Santa. Until now, that is. In November 2017 William visited Finland for two days to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the country’s independence. And while checking out a Christmas market in Helsinki’s Esplanade Park, he stumbled across a very familiar face.
It was Father Christmas himself – and William had a letter for him. So, the prince pulled the note out of his suit and handed it over. “I’ve seen you, and I had to give you this letter,” cameras captured him saying. The letter was from George, and it was a homemade Christmas wish-list. What’s more, the photographers craned their necks to get a closer look and found that it was utterly adorable.
At the top, George had carefully circled “nice” when asked if he had been naughty or nice. “He’s been a nice boy, a nice boy,” William told Santa, who nodded. Interestingly, too, the printed part of the letter had space for five gift requests, although George had asked for only one. In the space for present three – he may not have fully grasped numbers yet – George had written “police car.”
“He hasn’t written down many requests, so I think one request is probably okay,” said William. And while toy police cars are, of course, popular gifts for young boys and can be found in most toy shops, this interest of George’s may actually be something that he’s picked up from his dad. You see, back when he was a child himself, William had dreamed of being a police officer.
“A long time ago I wanted to be a policeman, when I was younger,” the prince told a ten-year-old cancer patient in 2009 when visiting a London hospital. “[But] I soon learnt that probably wasn’t a good idea.” Indeed, an old anecdote claims that when the young William announced his intentions to join the police, his little brother, Harry, told him that he couldn’t – as William has to be King.
And George, too, will most likely be King one day. That said, being an heir to the throne doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t have other interests or even other jobs. William actually did end up joining the emergency services, after all – just not as a policeman. From 2015 to 2017, he served as an air ambulance pilot – and donated his paycheck to charity.
Such considerations are a long way off for George, however. At the moment, his parents appear to be focused on making sure that he has as normal a childhood as possible. For instance, according to William, in 2017 George took part in a school nativity play. And he didn’t play any of the kings; he played a sheep.
Meanwhile, back in Finland, William received a gift for George – although it wasn’t a police car. Finnish officials from a children’s campaign called Brave Enough To Ride presented the prince with two hobbyhorses. They’re very popular toys in Finland, you see, and two of them would be going back to Britain as presents for George and Charlotte.
In fact, George has been given countless gifts from well-wishers and ambassadors over the years. Some of the most memorable include a large cuddly wombat from the Governor-General of Australia, a lapis lazuli orb from the Pope, a tiny pilot’s jacket from the Canadian government and an actual baby crocodile that currently lives in an aquarium.
William, though, has sometimes shown concern about all the presents that George is given. In 2016, for instance, he was heard telling a young boy at a sporting event that George had received “too many” gifts. “What did he get for his birthday? I’m not telling,” William said – before confessing that he thought George had been “far too spoilt.”
And as an heir to the throne, George is going to have to learn how to be charitable, too. The Royal Family actually support hundreds of charities and devote both time and money to all of them, though. So it seems that young royals are likely to be taught the importance of sharing.
Perhaps, then, George’s parents will tone things down this year. But there is one gift that we know for sure he will be getting: a new brother or sister. At the time of writing, Kate Middleton is pregnant for a third time, and the baby is due in April 2018. So hopefully, George will find his new playmate even more fun than a toy police car.