Here's What Prince George and Princess Charlotte's Royal Education Will Entail
Last summer, Prince Philip retired at the age of 96 after decades of service, so it’s safe to say that the life of a working royal is a lengthy one—and one that requires a multitude of skills.
Like most kids in the UK, royal children begin their education with nursery school at the age of two and a half, but unlike their peers, heirs to the throne like Prince George and Princess Charlotte will receive some very specific extra-curricular instruction along the way. Here's what their full royal education will look like.
Princess Charlotte on her first day of nursery school.
Traditionally, members of the British and have been educated at home, starting at the nursery stage with a governess. Prince Charles received nursery instruction at Buckingham Palace from Catherine Peebles (known by the prince as
But by the early 1980s, times had changed, and William and Harry became the first generation of royals to attend a separate nursery school. William started at Mrs. Mynor’s right around the corner from Kensington Place in 1985 at the age of three, and Harry followed two years afterward.
Three decades later, Prince George started at Westacre Montessori School when he was 2 1/2, and the family was living in Norfolk. Princess Charlotte started attending Willcocks Nursery School at the same
PRE PREP SCHOOL
Then-Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret with their governess, Marion Crawford.
When the Queen was a young girl, she was home-schooled alongside her sister Princess Margaret, by their governess Marion Crawford (known to them as Crawfie), and assorted tutors including Henry Marten, the vice-provost of prestigious Eton College. Prince Charles similarly started on his academic journey behind palace walls with a governess and tutors, until it was decided that he would be educated outside of the home. Members of the royal family do not attend state-funded schools, so like many other wealthy Brits, they start young at the best private schools.
Pre Prep is the term for schools that take children from reception age (what we call kindergarten) for the next three years, and the aim is to funnel them into "prep schools" for the next stage of their education. Charles attended Hill House in West London—a mixed gender establishment that educates children to be in a world community—while William and Harry both went to Wetherby in Kensington from the ages of five to eight.
Prince George started at Thomas’s in Battersea, London in 2017 at age four and Princess Charlotte will likely follow her big brother there in 2019.
Prince William on his first day at Ludgrove Preparatory School.
Preparatory school is the second stage of a fee-paying primary school education, and it takes children from the ages of eight to 13. The aim of a prep school is to prepare pupils (hence the name) for the Common Entrance Exam, which will feed them into one of the UK’s most prestigious private secondary schools.
The past two generations of royals have followed in the footsteps of patriarch Prince
As a young
William and Harry were both full-time boarders at the age of eight, attending Ludgrove School in the Berkshire countryside, where boys are encouraged to build dens and camps in the countryside and grow their own flowers and vegetables in the shared gardens. It’s not yet known if Prince George will become a boarding pupil at the age of eight, but since his current school Thomas’s takes children up to the age of 13, he has the option to remain there and live at home until he finishes his final year.
Prince Philip and Prince Charles at Gordonstoun in 1962.
Gordonstoun in Fife, Scotland has been a popular choice for the
Marlborough College in Wiltshire was the school of choice for Kate Middleton and her sister Pippa, as well as Princess Eugenie, who got the best exam results in the royal family, achieving two As and a B on her Art, English Literature, and History of Art
Prince William at Eton in 2000.
And William and Harry both attended Eton College in Windsor, which couldn’t come with a higher royal pedigree as it was founded in 1440 by Henry VI. Both William and Harry made lifelong friends there, although it’s been reported that Harry struggled academically because of his dyslexia. It seems likely that Prince George will follow in the footsteps of his father and uncle Harry by going to Eton.
Prince William on his gap year in Chile.
The gap year is a modern phenomenon that the most recent generation of the royal family has enthusiastically embraced. It's now common practice for students in England to take a year taken between finishing secondary education and moving onto higher education. It is usually used for travel and work with the aim of giving teenagers a broad range of life experiences.
William trained with Welsh Guards in Belize, undertook voluntary work in Chile and Africa, and worked on British dairy farms, while Kate did volunteer work in Chile, studied at the British Institute in Florence, Italy, and crewed Round the World Challenge boats in the UK. Harry worked as a ranch hand in Australia, spent time on a polo farm in Argentina, and undertook volunteer work in Lesotho, Africa.
William and Kate at their graduation ceremony at St Andrew’s University.
Higher education is also a modern phenomenon for members of the royal family. Princess Anne went straight into royal life at the age of 18, becoming president of the charity Save The Children by the age of 20, while Prince Andrew went straight into the military.
Prince Charles, however, was the first heir to the throne to get a university degree, studying archaeology and anthropology before switching to history at Trinity College Cambridge. Other members of the royal family have since followed in his footsteps by pursuing degrees in the humanities at university.
Both William and Kate famously studied art history at the prestigious St Andrews University in Scotland, but William later changed his major to Geography. Princess Beatrice studied history at Goldsmiths in London, and Princess Eugenie graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in
Princess Beatrice with her parents following her graduation ceremony at Goldsmiths College, London in 2011.
For their parts, Princess Anne’s children moved away from the humanities. Peter Phillips studied sports science at Exeter University and his sister Zara Tindall followed him there, earning her degree in physiotherapy. Prince Harry skipped university altogether and went straight into
Prince Harry salutes during a Remembrance Sunday service at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan on November 9, 2014.
Since the monarch acts as head of the UK Armed Forces, male members of the royal family have all traditionally gone into the military. Prince Philip served in the Royal Navy, seeing action in World War II, while Prince Charles served in the Royal Air Force. Prince Andrew followed his father into the Navy, serving time in the Falklands War, while William and Harry both attended officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. William served as a pilot with the Royal Air Force Search and Rescue Force, while Harry went on to serve with the British Army in Helmand, Afghanistan for more than two months.
SPECIALIZED ROYAL INSTRUCTION
A royal education doesn’t end at the school gates or in a lecture hall. Every senior member of the family will go through training with the Special Air Services (SAS) and learn how to deal with dangerous situations, including a terror attack or attempted kidnapping. Senior royals also go on a specialist tactical driving course, designed to get them out of trouble if they are ever in a hostile situation.
There is also a training in all the areas that members of the royal family need to feel comfortable, including international relations, constitutional history, and public speaking, as well as ongoing briefings ahead of engagements, state visits, and overseas tours regarding the socio-economic, cultural, religious, and political matters of that area.
ADDITIONAL COURSES AND WORK EXPERIENCE
As the future monarch, Prince William put in some time at the Bank of England, London Stock Exchange, Lloyds of London, and Billingsgate Fish Market in order to have a “much better understanding of how all the different financial institutions work and how they fit together,” as he put it at the time.
Prince Charles and Prince William inspect cattle on the Duchy Home Farm in 2004.
William also completed a
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.