The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are to move to a house on the Windsor Castle estate with a view to eventually moving into "the big house".
The couple have been househunting in the area for some time and they have now agreed on a property within the grounds of Queen Elizabeth's current main residence, with their older children, Prince George, eight, and Princess Charlotte, seven, set to leave Thomas's Battersea at the end of term and enrol at a school near their new abode, with Prince Louis, four, also starting their this September.
According to the Sunday Times newspaper, in time, it is expected the family will move into the main Windsor Castle because Prince William's father, Prince Charles, will be based at Buckingham Palace and doesn't intend to spend as much time in Berkshire as the queen currently does when he takes over as king.
However, William and Catherine will retain their apartment at Kensington Palace, which will continue to be the base for their private and press offices, and will still make frequent trips to their Norfolk home, Anmer Hall.
A source said: "They absolutely love it up there — it’s their happy place."
The royal couple ultimately plan to make Anmer their permanent base "after the school years", but at the moment, they are excited about the freedom the vast Windsor estate will give their family.
A pal said: “The reality is they are quite confined in what they can do in London.
The kids can’t go into the park and kick a football with friends. Their plan is to be there for the next ten to 15 years and then move to Anmer, which is so special to them.
Another friend added: "[William is] fully accepting of his doing his duty and fulfilling what the public expect of him, without paying too much attention to what he would like to have done in another world.
"He feels they want to grab that time [in Windsor] while they still can”.
William joined his father in standing in for the Queen at last month's state opening of parliament, which the 96-year-old monarch missed due to ongoing health issues, and that and the Platinum Jubilee service of thanksgiving at St Paul's cathedral earlier this month brought home the fact his royal role is growing.
A source said: "There is a sense of the future accelerating towards him, which is tinged with profound sadness — though he would never say it publicly — because of the implication that his grandmother would no longer be around, the added pressures on his father and his family being under even more scrutiny.”