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Prince William enjoys a nostalgic family break to island where he holidayed with Charles and Diana

They’ve captured the mood of the nation over the past few difficult months with their low-key appearances and thoughtful comments.

And when it comes to their summer break, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge seem to have done it again – choosing a staycation at one of William’s favourite family destinations, to help the UK’s travel industry.

They spent the week on tiny Tresco, in the Isles of Scilly, staying at Dolphin House, a beautiful six-bedroom property owned by Prince Charles.

It’s an all-too-familiar destination for William, who famously pulled a shy grin when he was pictured there in 1989 with Princess Diana, Prince Charles and brother Harry.

But this wasn’t just a family nostalgia trip for William – as one day he will inherit Tresco, which is part of the Duchy of Cornwall and is owned by his father, the Duke of Cornwall.

The visit is a reminder of William’s growing status in the Royal Family.

As Prince Charles takes on ever more of the Queen’s official duties, so William himself is preparing to play a more senior role within the family and the family ‘business’.

He has made several trips to the Duchy with his father, and Charles has long encouraged William to take an interest in its workings and its portfolio of land, financial investments and property.

Over the past couple of years William has accompanied his father to Duchy of Cornwall meetings, immersed himself in the estate’s business and movingly praised his father in last year’s ITV documentary on the subject.

Talking about the success of Charles’s stewardship, he said: ‘I’ve started to think about how I will inherit the Duchy one day and what I do with it. I think it’s really important, about the family angle, I really do.’

William will enjoy a huge private income when, eventually, he takes over – and the financial gulf that will open up between him and his brother Harry is said to have been a source of some irritation on Harry’s part. 

While the difference in status is something the younger brother can do little about, it’s one that becomes more obvious with every passing year.

It is William who takes part in private meetings with their father, senior courtiers and sometimes the Queen to discuss the workings of the family and his future role as King. Harry can only look on.

Yet while his brother Harry adapts to life in Los Angeles, William’s traditional family holiday is yet another sign of his determination to have as normal and domestic an upbringing for his children as possible while he can.

William reminisced about that childhood holiday on Tresco four years ago, in August 2016, when he made an official visit to the Scillies. He made a promise then to return soon – one he has kept.

Dolphin House is just yards away from the sea, allowing Kate and William to take their buckets and spades to the beach with George, Charlotte and Louis, now seven, five and two.

The family went for a bike ride around the car-free island and were seen smiling and chatting to residents.

Back at Dolphin House, they would have been able to enjoy complete privacy behind the former rectory’s 10ft-thick granite walls, and perhaps a barbecue in the large garden. There’s an air of quiet luxury about the house, with its trim hedges and pristine sub-tropical flower borders.

Mind you, it could be beyond the budget of many young families – costing about £5,000 to rent for a week during high season.

The island, a mile square and with just 175 residents, is accessible only by sea or air, so the Cambridges took the short helicopter flight there and back from Newquay.

After the Royals departed from Tresco’s heliport on Thursday afternoon, a local onlooker said: ‘William and Kate were both smiling widely and looked really happy and relaxed. Their bodyguards had big smiles too – it was clear to see that it had been a really good holiday.’

An Isles of Scilly resident told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Dolphin House really is an idyllic and modest holiday home for families.

‘Kate, William and the children certainly will have made the most of how peaceful it is there, and the island’s residents made sure to leave them alone and not disturb their trip.’

A Royal source said: ‘They decided on a quick getaway before the children return to school. They were keen to support our travel industry.’

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