Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales, have sought to give their children as normal an upbringing as possible despite their abnormal circumstances as heirs to the throne.
By all accounts, the pair are far more involved in their three children’s upbringing than their royal predecessors. Tom Quinn, writing in his book Gilded Youth published earlier this year, told how Kate is “really hands-on” when it comes to her children.
But as “much as she would like to be a normal mother who spends most of her time with the children, the huge pressure of royal tradition cannot be ignored”, he added.
A great deal of the couple’s time is swallowed up by royal duties and engagements and thus a nanny is needed, who therefore spends a significant amount of time with the royal youngsters.
Now, royal commentator Pauline Maclaran has said nanny Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo will have a “strong influence” over Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis’s development, with an increasingly important role in grounding them as they grow into young people under the spotlight.
Maria, from Spain joined the family in 2014 when Prince George, now ten, was just a few months old. Ms Maclaran believes she will have a fundamental impact on Kate and William’s children.
The author of the 2015 book Royal Fever, told Express.co.uk: “I think royal nannies play important roles in the lives of royal children.
“Apart from looking after their everyday needs and security, they can also offer a lot of support in developing the children’s cognitive and social skills.”
Princess Charlotte, eight, is reportedly learning Spanish and in 2017, during a visit to Wick Court, Gloucestershire, Kate revealed that Prince George had learned the basics and could count up to ten.
Ms Maclaran added: “Importantly too, they can offer important emotional support that ensures strong bonds will remain even when the children are adults.”
These bonds will become increasingly valuable as the children grow older, with one expert describing the heir, Prince George, as walking a “tightrope” between his personal and public life, a role that will become ever-more prolific in the wake of the Queen’s death.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dr Ramya Mohan, a child and adolescent senior consultant developmental psychiatrist at Harley Street, explained that the impact psychologically has already begun for George.
He said: “It starts now — from the focus on him during the [King’s] Coronation to a lifetime of being in the public eye in a role with rich historical connotations, expectations, and gravitas.
“Needing to adapt in every aspect of his life in parallel with the pressure of being in the public eye in a more evident, scrutinised manner can feel like a tough tightrope walk on his own, despite access to the considerable, planned support and guidance one can expect.”
Although William and Kate are more “hands-on parents” than the late Queen and King Charles, Ms Macalaran believes Maria will also have a strong influence over the future king.
Maria was formerly a student at the 125-year-old Norland College, Bath, a prestigious three-year-long programme where the training has been described in popular culture as that taken by both “Mary Poppins and James Bond”.
Not only do the soon-to-be caretakers learn how to look after children of the country’s most notable families, but they also learn self-defence, martial arts and getaway driving. Graduates can be spotted by their trademark brown uniforms and bowler hats.
Royal commentator, Victoria Murphy, told ABC News in 2015: “The nannies are taught everything from defensive driving to security issues to how to care for a future king or queen. So [Maria] just really knows everything that you could possibly need to know about bringing up a child.”
Ms Maclaran continued: “William and Kate are much more hands-on parents than Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip or King Charles were.
“However, we can expect that, as a Norland College-trained nanny, Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo will certainly exert a strong influence over the royal children’s development that will ensure lasting bonds with them.”
The King, the future Monarch and his younger brother all formed enduring bonds with their respective nannies.
Helen Lightbody, who joined the royal household a month after King Charles was born in 1948, cared for the Monarch for eight years.
As an adult, Charles continued to visit his nanny — who was known as “No-Nonesense Lightbody” — and invited her to his 21st birthday party as well as his investiture as Prince of Wales in 1969.
Similarly, William and Prince Harry forged a strong bond with Alexandra “Tiggy” Pettifer, who Ms Maclaran said provided a “sense of emotional stability” during the roller coaster years of their parent’s marriage and Princess Diana’s death in 1997.
Tiggy was hired by Charles in 1993, soon after he separated from Princess Diana and she became the boys’ “favourite” nanny according to Harry, who described her in his memoir as like his “surrogate mum”.
She had a close relationship with the boys, who she described as “her babies”, and was particularly close with Harry, attending key moments in his life from his passing out ceremony when he joined the army to his wedding to Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
It has not been officially confirmed, but it has been widely reported that she is Harry’s four-year-old son Archie’s godmother.
Pauline Maclaran’s 2015 book, Royal Fever: The British Monarchy in Consumer Culture, published by the University of California Press, is available here.