Everyone should learn to swim from an early age. It’s an important and life-saving skill – and it’s also lots of fun! The royals know all about how much enjoyment one can get out of swimming, since, as Prince William said on Nov. 26, it’s a “family of swimmers” – including Prince George and Princess Charlotte!
The Duke of Cambridge presented Eileen Fenton with an MBE for her voluntary services to swimming when he revealed how much his kids love taking a dip. Eileen was the first woman to finish the English Channel race in 1950, and she was thrilled to hear William and Duchess Kate have worked hard to make sure their two oldest children have strong swimming skills.
“He said that he and his wife make sure the children can swim and they all go and they swim quite well,” Eileen told the Press Association. “I can remember seeing when the Queen was young and her sister Princess Margaret – we used to see them swimming in pictures. He said the whole family have done it.”
Of course, Kate is an avid swimmer, and was spotted at a luxury hotel with George and Charlotte in February, while her eldest child was on half-term break. The kids reportedly love swimming so much that they were racing each other across that pool!
George’s swimming lessons started early, according to the Daily Mail. When the little prince was one year old, Kate started taking him to the private pool at Buckingham Palace for lessons. It’s where every royal has learned to swim for more than 80 years now, and we bet Charlotte also had lessons there. There’s a good chance one-year-old Prince Louis is starting to get his feet wet there, too. Prince Philip was still using the pool in 2014, though since he now spends his retirement at Sandringham, that’s no longer the case.
If you’re wondering how the royal swimming pool came to be, the Mail reports it was built when George VI, the Queen’s father, became King. The doting dad wanted to make sure his daughters learned to swim but also had their privacy respected, since there was plenty of interest in his family considering then-Princess Elizabeth would one day become Queen.
“While they were still living at Piccadilly, the Princesses had been enjoying swimming lessons at the Bath Club and no one had taken much notice of the two little girls in their regulation swimming costumes,” Edna Healey writes in The Queen’s House. “But now that Princess Elizabeth was heir to the throne, they attracted too much attention.
“So in summer in 1938, it was decided to build ‘a swimming bath and squash court on the north side of the Palace in one of [architect John] Nash’s conservatories.’”
The pool was presented to Elizabeth and Margaret as a surprise when they returned to Buckingham Palace with their family from Balmoral in 1939. And just like her great-grandchildren, the Queen and Margaret liked to have races in the pool. Her Majesty was such a good swimmer that she won a silver medal for live-saving as a child.
Princess Diana, William’s late mother, was also a keen swimmer and was regularly pictured on holiday taking to the waves. Numerous sources have written about how she also used the Buckingham Palace pool when she was married to Prince Charles, taking a 20-minute swim every morning.
We’re thrilled that the Cambridges are teaching their kids this important life skill!