The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have done their best to raise their children as normally as possible, despite the palatial roofs over their heads.
And that's especially the case for their eldest, Prince George, who has spent his childhood kicking a soccer ball and playing in the mud without the pressure of his future looming before him.
It's believed the eight-year-old has been told "as little as possible" about the fact that he will one day become king – until very recently.
"Kate and William wanted him to have a happy, easygoing childhood," says a source. "They felt he had plenty of time to feel the weight of the monarchy on his shoulders."
Woman's Day understands that with William stepping into more "king-like" roles in support of Prince Charles and the Queen, including a leading role at Trooping the Colour this week, the Cambridges have decided the time has come for them to brief George on his future.
"George already knew he was privileged. He might go to school with some well-off families but none of them were getting box seats at the football and rugby finals," says a source.
"As soon as he started asking questions, and knowing that he's about to see his dad dressed up in full regalia front and centre of a national celebration, Kate and Wills knew it was time to tell him he's a future king."
Our insider says the couple, with little fanfare, sat George down on a recent weekend at Anmer Hall and filled their son in on his destiny.
"Kate and William made it clear that they will be there to help him, but added that it might mean he will one day be treated differently to his little brother and sister," says a source.
"George is a very serious, highly intelligent little thing and took it all in his stride. He wanted to know if he'll still be able to go to the football when he's king, which was a relief to his parents, who got a good laugh out of it."
William, 39, and 40-year-old Kate's talk with their son is a far cry from Wills' own introduction to the reality of his status in life.
"Charles and Princess Diana made it very clear from as early as he can remember that he is the heir to the throne," says a source.
"When Diana and Charles divorced she told anyone who would listen, including William himself, that she thought her son should leapfrog her ex to the throne.
"William was the opposite of being eased into it, and he blames that for the resentment he once felt as a teenager. He swore he would never do the same to his firstborn, and so far he's stuck to that."
Insiders say the Cambridges' reported move to Windsor is being designed with George in mind.
"Wills wants George to go to Eton just like he did, but as a day boy rather than a boarder like he was," says a source.
"This way, he'll have a short walk home each night to his parents. William wants to take a much more hands-on approach with raising his kids than his parents and grandparents did. There are some big changes ahead for young George, but his dad will be there to protect him every step of the way."
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