Home Australia Inside William’s special bond with ‘second mother’ Carole Middleton, built on ‘tennis, television and cheese toasties’ in their safe haven in Bucklebury, and the loving family normality he and his brother Harry so craved

Inside William’s special bond with ‘second mother’ Carole Middleton, built on ‘tennis, television and cheese toasties’ in their safe haven in Bucklebury, and the loving family normality he and his brother Harry so craved

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Carole Middleton grabs her son-in-law Prince William's hand as her heel gets stuck in the grass at Royal Ascot yesterday.

When Carole Middleton’s heel got stuck in the grass at Royal Ascot yesterday, it was fitting that it was her beloved son-in-law who came to the rescue.

Prince William offered a hand to “second mother” Carole as she steadied herself before the couple chatted jovially among other guests.

The natural moment, captured in a charming series of photographs, was a touching reminder of the close bond the Prince has forged with the Middletons and, in particular, matriarch Carole.

She has fondly watched him grow from the young and occasionally impulsive Prince to the loyal husband, father, and king-in-waiting he is today.

In what was her first public appearance since her daughter Kate’s cancer diagnosis, Carole was at Ascot yesterday with her husband Michael.

With the Princess of Wales away while her treatment continues, William’s closeness to his in-laws was on display.

The Prince of Wales is said to have “adopted” the Middleton family shortly after he began dating Kate in the early 2000s, and Carole is now an indispensable part of the close-knit Welsh family unit.

She likes to make Prince William his favorite snack of cheese on toast and stocks up on the sea salt chocolates he likes.

Carole Middleton grabs her son-in-law Prince William’s hand as her heel gets stuck in the grass at Royal Ascot yesterday.

Carole clings to Prince William for support as she chats to him and her husband Michael at Royal Ascot yesterday.

Carole clings to Prince William for support as she chats to him and her husband Michael at Royal Ascot yesterday.

This is evidenced by how he was constantly available to the family when Kate was expecting Princess Charlotte.

He spent many days living with them at Anmer Hall, their home on the Sandringham estate which they traded for Adelaide Cottage in Windssor in 2022.

Carole sourced fabrics and wallpaper for the family nursery and made William his favorite cheese toast sandwich, which he ate in front of the television.

She also stocked up on the Prince’s favorite sea salt chocolates.

According to a source, Kate and William formed an “island unit” with Carole and her husband Michael.

They added: “You could say that Kate and William, unlike most in-law couples, feel more comfortable and happy with her parents around.” Tensions dissipate and a festive atmosphere reigns.’

When Kate felt sick and exhausted during pregnancy, she relied on her mother to support her.

Carole was also said to help William decide what he should wear to engagements.

Another source said of William’s love for Carole: “He is captivated by her capabilities, her tenacity, her high energy levels, her superb organizational skills and her networking.”

“She, more than anyone, knows what makes Kate happy, what kind of staff she will associate with, and understands her strong need for loyalty and privacy. Carole leaves nothing to chance.

William's closeness to Carole was evidenced by the fact that she joined Kate when she made her first official public appearance at William's passing out parade at Sandhurst in 2007.

William’s closeness to Carole was evidenced by the fact that she joined Kate when she made her first official public appearance at William’s passing out parade at Sandhurst in 2007.

Kate and Prince William wave to the crowds from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on their wedding day, as Carole Middleton smiles alongside them.

Kate and Prince William wave to the crowds from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on their wedding day, as Carole Middleton smiles alongside them.

William with Kate, his brother James and mother Carole on a chairlift during a skiing holiday in 2012.

William with Kate, his brother James and mother Carole on a chairlift during a skiing holiday in 2012.

Kate walks between her mother and father at William's passing out parade at Sandringham in 2007.

Kate walks between her mother and father at William’s passing out parade at Sandringham in 2007.

William and Kate walk past Carole and Michael Middleton and Kate's siblings, Pippa and James, at the carol service inside Westminster Abbey, 2021.

William and Kate walk past Carole and Michael Middleton and Kate’s siblings, Pippa and James, at the carol service inside Westminster Abbey, 2021.

Carole and Michael before making a statement about their daughter Kate's engagement to Prince William, 2010

Carole and Michael before making a statement about their daughter Kate’s engagement to Prince William, 2010

In her 2022 book The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor – the Truth and the Turmoil, royal commentator Tina Brown described how William “adopted” the Middleton family after just a year of dating Kate.

An acquaintance told Brown: ‘Not only did he fall in love with her, but he fell in love with them too. A warm nest with a complete nuclear family and seemingly wonderfully simple.

“The father played the father, the mother the county tiger mother, but he also saw the daughters and James get along (and want to get along) with their parents. What a contrast!

William, who could choose between palaces to spend his weekends, enjoyed nothing more than “tennis, television and Carole’s comforts at the Middleton mansion,” Brown said.

The Prince’s love for the entire Middleton family was evidenced by his decision in 2011 to spend Christmas at his mansion in Bucklebury, West Berkshire, rather than with the Royal Family.

William was such a regular guest at the Middleton home that he moved his quad bike there from Highgrove.

He also joined the family on vacations, including to the island of Mustique, once a favorite of Princess Margaret.

And her closeness to Carole was evidenced by the fact that she joined Kate when she made her first official public appearance at William’s passing out parade at Sandhurst in 2007.

Meanwhile, Michael became a “surrogate father” of sorts, according to Brown.

An acquaintance said: ‘If your own father always hosts dinners for fifty people on Catherine the Great porcelain or whatever, it’s not very relaxing.

“Whereas the Middletons were like a pipe and slippers, with the radio on, which is a bit of a William and Kate kind of world.”

Carole and Michael have also formed a very close bond with their grandchildren.

They were the first family members to visit Prince George when he was born in 2013 and have been a constant presence in his life ever since.

A month after the young royal was born, Michael volunteered to take the first photo of his new grandson so William and Kate wouldn’t have to hire an outside photographer.

In 2014, Carole joined William and Kate on their tour of Australia and New Zealand so she could help care for George along with the couple’s nanny, Maria Borrallo.

And the Middleton mansion in Bucklebury is just a 45-minute drive from Adelaide Cottage.

It means Carole and Michael are available to help raise the children of Wales.

While King Charles and Camilla are close to George, his maternal grandparents have more free time for obvious reasons.

Following Kate’s cancer diagnosis earlier this year, it was Carole and Michael’s continued support that allowed William to continue taking on some royal duties, even as his father, the King, also battles the disease.

In April, William was spotted in a Norfolk pub with his mother-in-law. It was another sign of how close they are.

During the Easter school holidays, Carole stayed with Wales again, according to the Mail’s Richard Eden.

Carole had her own Cinderella moment when she lost her heel, but luckily she had a Prince Charming on hand.

Carole had her own Cinderella moment when she lost her heel, but luckily she had a Prince Charming on hand.

Prince William, Sir Francis Brooke and Carole Middleton smile as they attend the second day of Royal Ascot 2024.

Prince William, Sir Francis Brooke and Carole Middleton smile as they attend the second day of Royal Ascot 2024.

Carole takes William's hand.

Carole Middleton speaks with Prince William, Prince of Wales, as they attend the second day of Royal Ascot

Carole Middleton talks to Prince William as they attend the second day of Royal Ascot

Prince William chats deeply with Carole Middleton and Zara Tindall at Royal Ascot today

Prince William chats deeply with Carole Middleton and Zara Tindall at Royal Ascot today

Carole seen yesterday at Royal Ascot, as Prince William laughs behind her

Carole seen yesterday at Royal Ascot, as Prince William laughs behind her

Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty Magazine, previously said: ‘Carole and Michael are as family to William as they are to Catherine.

‘He loves that Carole is around to help as she has been with the children from the beginning and it is easy and comforting to have her invaluable help.

‘Both with the children and to keep Catherine’s spirits up. She is a strong woman!

Yesterday, after William helped his mother-in-law remove her heel from the grass, the couple left together to join other guests.

The Prince of Wales was later seen in jovial conversation with Carole, Michael and Zara Tindall.

William arrived at Royal Ascot alongside Queen Camilla in what was a rare joint outing for the couple on a social occasion.

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