There for her kids. Princess Kate (née Middleton) had the heart-wrenching task of breaking the news to her three children she shares with Prince William that their beloved great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, had died on Thursday, September 8, Closer has learned exclusively.

“Kate didn’t travel to Balmoral to be there for the children. She gently told Prince GeorgePrincess Charlotte and Prince Louis about Elizabeth’s passing at Windsor prior to the official announcement,” a source exclusively tells Closer.

“She wanted them to hear about the tragic news directly from her to ease the blow. Kate used her words carefully and said that Elizabeth is in heaven with Prince Philip. There were lots of tears and hugs and naturally the children are upset,” the insider adds.

While William, 40, flew to Scotland to be by his grandmother’s bedside along with his aunt and uncles, Kate, 40, stayed behind in Windsor to pick up Prince George, 9, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4, from their first official day of classes at The Lambrook School.

The Duchess of Cambridge was photographed leaving the grounds of Windsor Castle en route to gather her children before the news was released at 6:30 p.m. GMT by the Royal Family’s Twitter and Instagram pages. The announcement read: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.” William’s father, now King Charles III, and his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, took on their new roles upon the monarch’s death.

Just one day prior on Wednesday, September 7, the Cambridge family had a momentous moment as the kids began their school term at Lambrook, located in Berkshire near their new home at Windsor’s Adelaide Cottage. The kids looked adorable in their school uniforms as they attended an introductory day before actually hitting the books. The adorable trio held their parents’ hands while smiling and meeting their new headmaster.

The family relocated from their 21-room apartment at London’s Kensington Palace in part to be closer to the queen, who had made Windsor Castle her home base following the death of her beloved husband, Prince Philip, in April 2021. The monarch’s health began to take a downturn following the loss of her husband of 73 years, and William and Kate wanted to be sure their children would be close to their beloved “gan-gan” and spend as much time with her as possible. Sadly, the queen never made it back to Windsor from her summer home at Balmoral Castle, where she died.