Kate Middleton nearly gave Prince George another name

It seems like only yesterday his parents were presenting him to the world on the steps of the Lindo Wing, but little Prince George isn’t quite so little anymore – in fact, he’s nearly eight years old.

In just a few short years, he’s become one of the most pictured – and adored – little boys on the planet, and parents Prince William and Kate have given us plenty of sweet snippets into what their eldest son is like as he grows up.

So, to keep you in the loop, here’s 18 Prince George facts you might not already be familiar with. Just wait ’til you meet his namesake…

He was almost called something else

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The Duchess of Cambridge apparently had her ‘heart set on’ another name for her first child. According to Vanity Fair, Katie Nicholl (an expert on the royal family) said Kate wanted to name her first born Alexander.

‘Although Kate apparently suspected it was a boy and had set her heart on the name Alexander, they had not yet decided what to call their firstborn,’ she said.

The Cambridges eventually decided on George, but Alexander is still the little prince’s middle name.

He’s having an outdoorsy upbringing

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The Cambridge children live a largely private existence, but author Louise Heren, who is an expert on the workings of the Norland College in Bath, where the family’s nanny Maria Borrallo was trained, says there is one aspect we can be almost sure of: a focus on spending lots of time outside.

‘There will be lots and lots of outdoor play, that’s the one thing you could say Norland are old-fashioned about,’ she told The Sun recently. ‘Loads of fresh air. Lots of bike rides, playing with their dogs, potentially some gardening. Norland are very into teaching children through play.’ So its likely that George and sister Charlotte spend plenty of time running around in the fresh air!

He’s inherited a lovely talent from his late grandmother

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At an event for BBC Radio 1’s Teen Awards, Prince William met a young dancer named Junior, and opened up about his son’s talent for the subject too. ‘George is doing dancing as well, he loves it,’ he said. ‘And my mother always used to dance, she loved dancing. And if it’s something you love, you do what you love. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.’

As William says, his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales, was a keen dancer; she was been pictured mid-step many times at state engagements, and took private lessons with ballet dancer Wayne Sleep. William has already stated in the past that George’s little sister Charlotte ‘loves dancing’ too – what a lovely way to honour their grandmother’s legacy.

He has a special nickname for the Queen

Back in 2016, Kate revealed that Prince George had a special bond with his great grandmother, the Queen. She also revealed that her first-born has a sweet name for her majesty, saying: ‘He calls her ‘Gan-Gan.’ She always leaves a little gift or something in their [he and Charlotte’s] room when we go and stay and that just shows her love for her family.’

His parents’ nickname for him was even cuter

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Ever noticed that Prince George’s initials are similar to a very famous brand of tea? Well, after his arrival into the world in 2013, his parents did the same – and reportedly began calling their bundle of joy ‘Tips’.

He has a naughty side

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He may look like butter wouldn’t melt, but it turns out Princess Charlotte isn’t the only sass queen in the royal household. Her older brother George is a bit of a cheeky little chap too, according to his parents.

When asked why the young prince didn’t accompany Will and Kate on a trip to India once, his mum said: ‘Because George is too naughty, he would be running all over the place.’ His dad also once told the BBC: ‘He’s a little monkey’.

He loves to eat pizza and pancakes

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Kate has previously revealed that the family cook at home together, and that George is a dab hand at pizza dough and chocolate crispy cakes (he ‘makes so much mess’, she laughed). And during a visit to a children’s hospital on Pancake Day last year, the Duchess of Cambridge was asked by a four year-old boy where her son was.

Answering his question, she replied: ‘George? I should have brought him. He’s at his Montessori nursery today making pancakes.’ A foodie after our own hearts.

He’s fascinated by thunderstorms

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Shortly after enquiring about George’s whereabouts, the same four-year-old boy at the children’s hospital warned Kate about an upcoming thunderstorm, to which she replied: ‘Yes, I know all about those. George likes storms, too!’ That’s right, our future king is brave.

He’s got a great Lego collection

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In 2017, on an official visit to McLaren Automotive headquarters, Prince William was shown a McLaren 720S sports car made entirely out of the tiny plastic bricks – and instantly thought of George. ‘Wow! My son’s very into Lego, and he’d love this,’ William exclaimed. ‘It’s incredible.’

He’s not into contact sports

Prince William may be keen on getting his kids into sports, but you can count George out of any rough games, according to footballer Casey Stoney. ‘[Prince William] said at the moment he’s trying to teach George that football is actually a contact sport, but George doesn’t really like it when he’s palming him off and getting physical,’ she said previously. Perhaps he’s more of a tennis man?

He wants to be a pilot (like his dad)

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Mum Kate once revealed in an interview that George loves aeroplanes – just like his dad, who worked for several years as an air ambulance pilot. ‘He is now obsessed with the air cadets and wants to join,’ she said. Like father, like son.

He’s got an affinity with birds

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According to William, George ‘likes dinosaurs’ – but he’s even more into pigeons if you ask his mum, Kate. Speaking to a 10-year-old boy and his mentor at an early-intervention program called Chance UK, the Duchess explained that she had taken George ‘dinosaur hunting’ at the Natural History Museum, but things didn’t turn out as expected. ‘She said that George was more interested in a pigeon they found there rather than all the amazing exhibits,’ the mentor later revealed.

But his most adorable animal encounter so far is with his namesake

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During his very first official royal tour of Australia and New Zealand with his parents in 2014, Prince George met George the bilby, an animal at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo named in his honour shortly after his birth. As you can see, they quickly became the best of friends.

He’s a pro in front of the camera

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When George was photographed for his first appearance on a post stamp (as you do), the photographer, Ranald Mackechnie, was full of praise.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Mackechnie said: ‘He was absolutely charming, as you can see from the picture. You only have a short window of opportunity with small children, but Prince George was on good form and everyone seemed to enjoy seeing him enjoy the day. He was fascinated by my lights and all the kit, and he was quite happy standing on the blocks.’

And he’s already a natural on stage

Perhaps comedy is somewhere in George’s future, if his nativity play is anything to go by. In December 2018, William disclosed: ‘I went to my boy’s nativity play. It was funny.’ As for the role George was lucky enough to play? ‘He was a sheep.’ Of course.

He listens to The Gruffalo

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According to their parents, both George and his little sister Princess Charlotte are big fans of Julia Donaldson’s 1999 children’s classic, The Gruffalo. Speaking to Imelda Staunton after presenting her with a CBE back in 2016, the actress revealed what Prince William had told her.

‘We did have a nice chat about what I do and that their children listen to me because I’ve done all of the Julia Donaldson books, The Gruffalo and 10 or 12 others, and they listen to them in the car so they know my voice.’

He’s the laid-back sibling

While chatting with a 10-year-old schoolgirl who was visiting her Sandringham estate, George’s great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, asked if she ‘looked after’ her little sister. The girl’s mother responded, ‘It’s the other way around,’ to which the royal replied: ‘It’s like that with Charlotte and George.’ So it looks like we know which Cambridge is in charge…

He doesn’t yet understand his place in the world

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Speaking to the BBC, Prince William explained that he wants his eldest son to have as normal a childhood as possible, despite his place as third in line to the throne. ‘As far as we are concerned within our family unit, we are a normal family,’ William said.

‘There’ll be a time and a place to bring George up and understand how he fits in, in the world. But right now it’s just a case of keeping a secure, stable environment around him and showing as much love as a I can as father.’