Find Out What's in Store For the Royal Family in 2016
While 2015 was quite the busy year for the royal family, 2016 is already shaping up to possibly top it! While Prince William and Kate Middleton will be heading for new lands as they follow in the footsteps of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, their son, Prince George, will be heading off to school. Prince Harry also has exciting plans to enjoy some time in the States. Meanwhile, what does the Queen have in common with Hugh Hefner and Tony Bennett? Landmarks, challenges, baby plans, and possible new love . . . we take a look at what's happening in the lives of the royal family this year.
William, Kate, George, and Charlotte
Don't they grow up fast? "Lively" Prince George heads to nursery in early January, attending the Westacre Montessori School a couple of mornings a week. The Montessori method focuses on independence and social development, so children are encouraged to choose whatever activities suit them, and the Duke and Duchess will be paying £5.50 an hour for the first step in their two-year-old son's education. The school is on a private road, but following in royal tradition, there are likely to be pictures available of George's first day, as there were of William and Harry's.
The focus of the first half of William and Kate's year will be their royal tour of India. Neither have been before, but they will be following in the footsteps of many royals before them, including William's parents, Charles and Diana. It's looking like the tour will happen in April. The Duke and Duchess are leaving the children at home, so it's unlikely they will miss Princess Charlotte's first birthday on May 2, while clashing with Prince Harry's Invictus Games would divide press coverage and dilute the impact of both events, so they're likely to also want to avoid those May dates.
William and Kate celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary on April 29, and the occasion is traditionally marked by a gift of wood. Since their wedding, the Duke and Duchess have visited Scotland and Wales, but not Northern Ireland, so a trip there this year could be on the cards.
There has been speculation that William and Kate aim to expand their family with a third child, and since the Duchess fell pregnant with Princess Charlotte around the time of Prince George's first birthday, and Charlotte turns one in the Spring, we could very well be hearing another announcement towards the end of this year.
Harry will be heading to Florida in the Spring for the second Invictus Games. He pushed for his passion project to be set up in 2014, and has helped grow the games in the last 18 months. These will be held from May 8 until May 12 in Orlando, and Harry will be in attendance.
Since splitting with Cressida Bonas in 2014, Harry hasn't had a serious girlfriend, meaning this is now the longest the 31-year-old prince has been single since he was a teenager. From the age of 19, he was involved with Chelsy Davy on and off for seven years, and he was single for a year before his two-year relationship with Cressida Bonas. He has now been flying solo for 18 months, so this could be the year for an exciting new relationship. Watch this space!
The Queen celebrates her 90th birthday on April 21, and the landmark occasion will be commemorated with a series of events. On May 12-15, there's a pageant incorporating a very special horse show celebrating the queen's life in Home Park, Windsor Castle. On June 10, there's a National Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul's Cathedral, which also happens to be Prince Philip's 95th birthday. There will be a special Trooping the Colour on June 11, and a patron's lunch on June 12 to celebrate Her Majesty's 600 patronages. Other public figures marking their 90th birthdays this year are Sir David Attenborough, Hugh Hefner, Harper Lee, and Tony Bennett (Marilyn Monroe would have also turned 90 this year.)
Zara was part of the equestrian team who qualified for the Rio Olympics this year, so it's likely she will be heading to Brazil in August to compete. She scored a silver medal at the London Olympics in 2012, so her focus will be on bringing home the gold this time. Although she and husband Mike became parents to baby Mia two years ago, it's unlikely they will be thinking about adding to their family until after the Olympics.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex
Sophie has teased that she will be undertaking some sort of endurance feat this year to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award. She said recently, "It is a personal challenge like no other. At this stage, I'm getting worried that I have bitten off more than I can chew. It's going to be very physically demanding."