How Prince George's Year of Royal Firsts Is Preparing Him for Future Role

Prince George's year has been filled with a round of royal firsts, from celebrating a historic jubilee to his debut at Wimbledon. As the prince turns nine, the increase in his public appearances is seen as an important contribution to the preparation for his role as the future monarch.

Born in 2013, George is the eldest child of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The prince was born third in line to the British throne after his grandfather, Prince Charles, and William. As such, if he takes the throne after William's reign, he will accede as King George VII.

Since the birth of their children, both William and Kate have tried to keep their children out of the public eye as much as possible, releasing regular photographs in exchange for the British tabloid press' agreement that intrusive images captured by members of the paparazzi would not be published.

However, as George is getting older, the Cambridges have been introducing him to a number of important royal milestones. Here, Newsweek looks at how over this year, George has undertaken a diary full of important royal firsts and how they are preparing him for his future.

Prince George's Year of Royal Firsts
As Prince George turns 9, he has undertaken an increased number of public appearances including sports matches, the Platinum Jubilee celebrations and a royal memorial service. Photographed with the queen on June 5, 2022. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

England v. Wales Six Nations Match, February 26

Having previously attended the England v. Italy European Championship soccer final last year, in 2022, William and Kate introduced George to his first official taste of another of Britain's most popular ball sports—rugby.

The match posed a difficult challenge for the Cambridges as England was playing Wales. William is patron of the Welsh Rugby Union and Kate is patron of the England Rugby Union, recently picking up the patronage which had been relinquished by Prince Harry when he stepped down as a full-time working royal in 2020.

This friendly but diplomatic rivalry set an example for George on how to navigate the sometimes tricky relationships between the countries that make up the United Kingdom.

George arrived at Twickenham Stadium with his parents and was seen being talked through the game by his mother and father. England took the victory over Wales with Italy taking home the championship later in the tournament.

Prince George Six Nations Rugby Match
Prince George attended his first public rugby match in 2022, watching England play Wales in the Six Nations tournament. George pictured with his mother Kate Middleton during the match on February 26, 2022. David Rogers/Getty Images

Prince Philip's Memorial Service, March 29

Perhaps the most poignant public appearance that George has made over the course of the last year was for the service of thanksgiving for the life of his grandfather Prince Philip on March 29, 2022.

Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II for 73 years, died in April 2021, but owing to COVID measures, the number of mourners at his funeral was limited to just 30. A large thanksgiving service was planned with over 1,000 invited guests for the following year.

The idea that royals mourn in public is a new but important lesson that George will slowly learn and which was drawn into clear focus in 1997 when the queen was criticized for her, at first, private reaction to the death of Princess Diana.

George attended the memorial alongside his sister, Princess Charlotte, 7, and along with being the first royal memorial he has attended in public, also marked his first visit to Westminster Abbey, the space in which coronations are held.

Prince George Attends Prince Philips Memorial Service
Prince George accompanied his parents and sister, Princess Charlotte, to the service of thanksgiving for the life of Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey, March 29, 2022. Samir Hussein/WireImage

Royal Easter Sunday Service, April 17

Since 2017, Prince William and Kate Middleton have spent Easter at Windsor Castle with the queen where on Easter Sunday, a royal church service is held at St George's Chapel.

Each year the couple has attended the service alongside the queen and other royals, however, in 2022 it was announced that the queen would not attend the service owing to a series of recent health scares.

On Easter Sunday, William and Kate led the royals as the most senior members of the family representing the queen down to the chapel, and alongside them, for the first time, they were accompanied by Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Cambridge Family Easter 2022
The Cambridge family led the royal contingent at the Windsor Castle Easter Sunday service with Prince George greeting clergy members outside St George's Chapel. April 17, 2022. ANDREW MATTHEWS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The Platinum Jubilee, June 2-5

The Platinum Jubilee marking 70 years of Queen Elizabeth II's reign saw George take part in his most public schedule of events to date across three days of the four-day long weekend.

To begin the celebrations, the prince attended the Trooping the Colour ceremony for the first time, arriving at Horse Guards Parade at the end of The Mall in a carriage procession with his mother and siblings.

Following the military review, George was one of the members of the royal family invited to stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch a flypast staged by the Royal Air Force.

The prince was also present at the special Platinum Party at the Palace pop concert outside Buckingham Palace and the jubilee pageant which saw him make a second balcony appearance alongside the queen.

Prince George Platinum Jubilee Events
Prince George attended three of the four days of planned events for the queen's Platinum Jubilee. Photographed with his father, Prince William, during the jubilee pageant. June 5, 2022. Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Visit to Wales, June 4

Perhaps the most personally significant engagement that George undertook during the jubilee was a visit to Cardiff with the Cambridge family.

This visit marked his first to Wales, the country which he will one day be closely associated with as he is expected to inherit the title of Prince of Wales when Prince William becomes king.

The Cardiff visit saw the young royals take part in a traditional royal walkabout, getting used to speaking to people in a crowd, greeting their hosts and participating in activities such as mock conducting an orchestra.

Prince George in Cardiff
Prince George was guided through a traditional royal walkabout in Wales by his father who helped him speak to members of the public. June 4, 2022. Ashley Crowden/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Wimbledon, July 10

George's most recent royal first saw the prince attend his first Wimbledon championship match as he accompanied his parents to watch Novak Djokovic play against Nick Kyrgios in the men's singles final.

Children have not traditionally been present in the royal box at Wimbledon but Princess Diana was notably accompanied by Prince William to the championships when he was around George's age.

The event saw the prince put into practice the skills developed over the course of the year, greeting strangers, making small talk with participants and sitting through a long match while in constant view of the public.

Prince George at Wimbledon
Prince George watched the men's singles final match of the 2022 Wimbledon championships alongside his parents, July 10, 2022. Karwai Tang/WireImage

As Prince George turns 9, it is clear that his parents are preparing him for the public aspects of life which will one day form a large part of his future role. To the delight of royal watchers, the prince is becoming an increasingly familiar face at royal events and is expected to continue to do so as his father and grandfather's roles expand with the reduction of duties undertaken by the queen.

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