Book Reviews

CORRECTED again:What’s ahead for Prince George and Princess Charlotte

  1. Well played, “Mr. and Mrs. Cambridge!” George will go to preschool in Norfolk at Westacre Montessori school, near Amner Hall the Cambridges’ country home. Neither I, nor the Tatler, saw this coming. But I don’t blame them, country life is much more private than living in London.  I’m not yet going to re-think the Pre-prep or Prep stages schools because, sadly, the Cambridges’ idylic country-based life could end any day. By the time George is ready for a prep school, William could be king.
  2. Scored again! Pre-prep, and possibly Prep as well, at London’s co-educational Thomas School, Battersea. This is a day school thru age 13. Maybe then George and Charlotte will be day pupils until Secondary School?

We all cooed over the sweet pictures of William, Kate and George walking along to the christening of baby Princess Charlotte earlier this summer. Those adorable little ones will soon be stepping onto the treadmill of English upper-class schooling. Let’s take a look at the Royal version of Oh! The Places They Will Go!

First of all, Kate and William will have done their homework. While no one seriously believes any school in the country would refuse to “find” a place for any of the future king’s offspring, it looks like they are normal parents if they obey the rules. So, let’s put ourselves in their place. Where do we begin.


Although the rules have changed a lot in recent years, the first thing such parents consider is:

Where did Papa (or, these days, Mummy) go?

Even if they loathed it, that school will often still be top of the list. Why? Because uber-smart, wealthy third world-ers are snapping up places traditionally meant for “our sort” at all types of “public” [the British term for private] schools. No one wants their child ending up at the local Comprehensive [general “Government-run” high school].

So number one on the list for George, and likely the only school seriously being considered:

Tradition says Eton.

Credit: Tim Graham Getty Images US Magazine
Credit: Tim Graham Getty Images US Magazine

While it is believed that Harry only went to Eton because his royal status (he was no student and Charles and Di had visited a few other school before Di’s death), several others in both of William’s families went there:

Spencers at Eton:

  1. Charles, Earl Spencer (Diana’s brother) [Tho his heir, Louis, did not. He went to school in South Africa where his mother lives.]
  2. Edward “Johnnie,” Earl Spencer (Diana’s father)
  3. The rest, going back a long, long time went to either Eton or Harrow [Churchill’s school].

Royals and semi-royals at Eton:

  1. Hon. Charles Armstrong-Jones (Grandson of late Princess Margaret and Old Etonian Lord Snowden)
  2. Samuel Chatto (Grandson of late Princess Margaret and Old Etonian Lord Snowden)
  3. Arthur Chatto (Grandson of late Princess Margaret and Old Etonian Lord Snowden)
  4. H.R.H. The Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester (as well as his father, Prince Henry)
  5. Alexander Windsor, Earl of Ulster (heir to Duke of Gloucester)
  6. [Presumably Alexander’s heir, Xan, Lord Culloden,  will be at Eton when George arrives]
  7. H.R.H. The Prince Michael of Kent
  8. Lord Frederick Windsor (son of Prince Michael of Kent)
  9. H.R.H. The Prince Edward, Duke of Kent
  10. George, Earl of St. Andrews (Who was so bright he got a free ride) (Heir of the Duke of Kent)
  11. Edward, Baron Downpatrick (Heir of the Earl of St. Andrews)
  12. George, Earl of Harewood
  13. The Hon. Gerald Lascelles
  14. James Ogilvy
  15. Alexander Ogilvy

Don’t forget that Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother had SEVEN brothers who were Old Etonians (and she desperately wanted Charles to be sent there) and Queen Mary had 3 such brothers. Tradition.

So the smart money is on Eton. But, just in case, like students here applying to Ivy League Colleges, William and Kate will have a “safety” school as a back-up. Since Kate’s family is famously self-made “tradition” is only one-generation old. After a bad start at a girl’s school, Kate went to Marlborough which is co-ed. (Interesting to note that Princess Anne’s first husband went to Marlborough but the children of that marriage did not follow their father to Marlborough.)

Tradition also could, perhaps, mean GORDONSTOUN.

[Cue the scary music]

The school that George’s Grandpapa Prince Charles hated and his Great-Grandpapa Prince Philip loved, was not even considered for William and Harry, nor was it considered by most of members if Prince Philip’s family who attended it when the time came to choose schools for their own children. Charles famously called it “Kolditz in Kilts.” Princess Anne’s children, however, THRIVED there–it is a totally different place today than in Charles’ schooldays. My guess is that Gordonstoun, if it sees any further royal children ever, will educate Prince Edward’s children as he has taken over his father’s (Prince Philip’s) charities and associations–Gordonstoun is one of those. Princess Anne was on the Board of Governors at the school and visits often. I would not be surprised if her grandchildren are sent there.

That’s the top of the educational pyramid–about 11 years down the road yet for George. How does a young royal these days learn his ABC’s, elementary computer coding and cut his teeth on Latin? The days of governesses are long gone, although his Norland-trained Nanny (Norland is the Nanny Harvard) is a very competent early childhood educator.

Schools for the wee-ones of the upper crust are as difficult to get into as Oxford and Cambridge. The “best” schools all feature enrollment at birth–with schools having X number of children accepted for each birth month. Mothers will have births induced if they’re get wind of an overly long list for their child’s birth month. So, the sensible Mummy will do her research. That research is done with the…

Tatler’s Schools Guide.

Yes the very same Tatler that features high society parties and the antics of the newly “adult” children of the Posh and Titled carefully scrutinizes schools from Preschool on up. It makes sense, doesn’t it? If you’re reading what the Duke of Somewhere’s daughter wore to the Earl of Somebody’s son’s 21st birthday party or wanted to see who was with Princess Beatrice and dwerpy boyfriend Dave at Sunday’s polo matches, then you turn to the Tatler–its a name you trust. Kate will have poured over this and made notes. She won’t overtly pull rank. But, honestly, who’d turn down the future King George? Exactly. Still, reputations come and go. Headmasters, headmistresses change. Sex scandals bubble up. One must keep an eye on the top flight to make sure they won’t be middle class  or majority from India by the time the embryo one is planning to conceive next year will be ready to don blazer and boater and sail forth to Circle Time.

Tradition says Young England Kindergarten

Lady Diana Spencer - 1980...Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rex Features (79928h) Lady Diana Spencer working as nursery school assistant at the Young England Kindergarten, Pimlico, London, Britain Lady Diana Spencer - 1980
Lady Diana Spencer – 1980…Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rex Features (79928h)
Lady Diana Spencer working as nursery school assistant at the Young England Kindergarten, Pimlico, London, Britain
Lady Diana Spencer – 1980

We all remember “Shy Di” posing with adorable, chubby-faced toddlers in quaint smocks on that day she famously forgot her petticoat–that photo was snapped outside Young England where Di was a lowly teacher’s aide. William and Harry went on to make toilet paper roll binoculars and learn to write “Mummy and Papa” and to call their friends by last names there. Since it’s still “highly regarded” by the Tatler, I’d assume it’s in the number one spot on the nursery school list.

Next up is something the English call a “Pre-prep” school. That is where very posh 5–8 year olds go to learn manners, reading and start Latin and computer coding, to tell time on proper clocks and to sing the National Anthem with reverence.This is the age when “things that really matter” are begun–Pony Club, cricket, Carol Concerts and skiing holidays. Chapel is still often a feature and older children go abroad for little trips to play rugby and practice French or ski and practice French. And no school worth its Ivy League-level tuition goes about this looking sloppy. Those photos of William and Harry in red-trimmed blazers, adorable little caps and short trousers were taken on the steps of their Pre-Prep. So again we harken back.

Tradition says Wetherby


It’s still using the attendance of the Princes as a recruiting lure since everyone in the right set adores tradition. So Mummies with husbands not lucky enough to have attended Wetherby are now busily courting the Head to try to get their George’s-age-mate-son into the school. Although it has been leaked that George is already down for this school (and Charlotte for its sister school) to keep up appearances, Kate will research others.

While today the overwhelming majority of public [i.e. private] schools at all levels are co-ed, the really right set still often opt for single sex schools.Tradition. When your 8x Great Grandfather went there it’s hard to say no, isn’t it?

At age 8 boys from such families are traditionally bundled off to a Prep school. These cover Toffs of ages 8–13. They used to be rather Dickensian. Prince Charles’ famously had hard beds that defied jumping on. His clothes went under the bed in a basket and everyone had the same blanket. Today anything goes. Children bring duvets of any pattern, and for ordinary school days they go to class in khakis and polos or sweatshirts like everyone else. For other activities there is a required school blazer or tweed blazer and always, always a school tie–even for girls at many schools. While cricket and rugby are still huge, polo, MMA, flying, shooting (i.e. target shooting) and other newer sports are popular too.

Tradition says Ludgrove

Once again William’s old school, Ludgrove has been top of the charts for generations and is still beloved by Tatler-reading Mummies. Families today have options though–weekly boarding where children come home each weekend is very popular at many schools. This is the school parents look at most carefully. It all comes down to one thing–how does this school do in getting boys into the targeted secondary school. So William and Kate, after making sure the polo team is up to snuff, will be looking to see how many  boys got in to Eton from the school. They will likely take a cautionary look at the assistance offered to children with “different learning styles” too just in case George balks at exams or has his royal grandfather’s inability to master math. Prince Charles’ old prep, Cheam, is now co-educational and the Tatler loves it, so it could be an option–especially if they want the children at the same school.

source prince-charles-404_684667c

Well, that’s George sorted–and Charlotte, too, up till Prep School. For Charlotte, a new option could be chosen or….

Tradition says St. Andrews


[not the University–though both William and Kate attended it]. Charlotte could go off to Mummy’s old Prep, St. Andrews of Pangbourne, of which the Tatler speaks highly. (George, too could go there, as it is coed). Or, Charlotte could remain home and attend a London girls’ day school. As Kate and William will be Very Senior Royals by then, my money is on boarding. Well, it makes sense, doesn’t it? This type boarding school provides the stability that a globe-trotting heir to the throne (or even King) simply won’t have time to provide. School then is the “constant,” if you will. There Charlotte will have ballet and rounders and hockey as well as possibly polo and perhaps a skateboard park to run off her energy. Parents take girl’s exam scores just as seriously as boys’ today so William and Kate will be making sure enough students get into Marlborough or whatever school is ultimately chosen for Charlotte. I’d say Marlborough is the destination school of choice for her though.

Tradition says Marlborough

As for Universities that will remain to be seen. George, in spite of grumbling from just about anyone with a mouth, can go where he wants. Who turns down the King of England as a future alum? That’s right, no one. Kate famously turned Edinburgh down after it was announced that William would attend St. Andrews. Other royals and semi-royals of recent vintage have attended Godlsmith’s–a college in the University of London, Newcastle, Exeter and Brown. Diana’s brother attended Oxford where he was a member of the louche Bullingdon Club [think party-hearty fraternity] and Prince Charles attended Trinity College in Cambridge University and brother Prince Edward (Earl of Wessex) attended Jesus College, Cambridge.  Don’t rule either out for George.

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