For millions of families around the world, the beginning of September marked the start of another school year. And for some parents, it was a teary goodbye as they watched their once-tiny babies toddle into school for the first time.
At Kensington Palace it was no different for The Cambridges, whose oldest son Prince George started school at Thomas’s Battersea in London on Thursday, September 7. Prince William waved him off, but unfortunately Duchess Catherine was suffering from severe morning sickness (she’s early on in her third pregnancy) and couldn’t join along in the family milestone.
Even without his mother present, Prince George’s sendoff was still reminiscent of William’s first day at Ludgrove School many years ago.
But not all royals followed the same path — from home-schooling to boarding and gap years, we look back at the monarchy’s schooling history…
Who could forget when a sheepish Prince William tottered hesitantly into Mrs. Mynor’s Nursery School in Notting Hill Gate in 1985?
An overwhelmed Wills, who was three at the time, clung onto Princess Diana’s hand before letting out a shy wave.
After kindy, which also included a stint at the pre-preparatory Wetherby School, a much more confident William moved onto the prestigious Ludgrove Prep School in Wokingham, Berkshire.
The heir to the throne, who was three at the time, was a little hesitant at first. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
Throughout his high school years, Wills attended the exclusive boarding school for boys Eton College, where he took biology, history, and geography.
This broke with royal tradition, as the men of Windsor House usually attend the co-ed school Gordonstoun in Scotland.
At Eton, the future King of England also played water polo and football.
William was more academic than Harry, but his younger brother eventually found his calling. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
For his A-level exams, William scored a C in biology, a B in the history of art, and an A in geography.
Looking back on his schooling, the father-of-two has since confessed: “I didn’t really like school.”
William, now 35, rounded off his studies at the University of St. Andrews, where he met his future wife and graduated with a Masters of Arts degree in geography. A rather fitting qualification considering he’ll be the ruler of several countries one day!
Wills had a stint at Wetherby pre-preparatory school. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
No, he’s not off to a ball — that’s his very posh uniform at Eton. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
Prince Harry has always admitted he struggled academically, especially as a child before he found his calling in the military.
Like his big brother, Harry attended nursery school at both Jane Mynors’ and the pre-preparatory Wetherby School in London.
Harry also continued onto Ludgrove and Eton.
Harry gives the royal wave at the gates on his first day of nursery school in 1987. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
Like big brother Wills, Harry attended Eton and was consider somewhat of a jokester. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
At Eton, the sports-mad royal shone on the rugby union field and in the pool playing polo.
He went on to score a B in art and a D in geography for his A-levels.
“Exams were always a nightmare, but anything like kicking a ball around or playing PlayStation – or flying — I do generally find a little bit easier than walking, sometimes,” Harry has explained.
Following a gap year in Australia and Lesotho, Harry landed a coveted spot at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where he enjoyed an impressive innings as an Apache pilot, which is one of the hardest and most challenging roles to secure in the military and requires an insane amount of skill.
“Exams were always a nightmare,” Harry says. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
A mini-prince reports to the school gate. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
Before she became The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton was just a normal little girl growing up in the countryside of England.
Her parents sent her to the local private school called St. Andrew’s in Pangbourne, Berkshire.
Kate went on to board at the co-ed Marlborough College in Wiltshire, before ending up at the University of St Andrews — a decision which would ultimately change her life!
But bright Kate wasn’t just at the university to chase princes, the smart student graduated with a 2:1 in the history of art.
We recognize that smile! (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
The future Queen of England attended the local private school called St Andrew’s in Pangbourne, Berkshire. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
Kate was talented in the classroom and on the sports field. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
She graduated with a degree in art history. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
The Queen and Prince Philip
In order to prepare for the very unique path of one day being The Queen, Princess Elizabeth and her sister, Princess Margaret, were home-schooled by the best tutors money could buy.
Here, she was served up a diverse offering on everything from her future job description, constitutional history, French and math.
Although she’s never technically sat an exam, Queen Elizabeth is said to be one clever cookie and can clearly hold her own when consulting with world leaders.
“The Queen’s father had disliked school and her mother thought it was more important to have fun,” Professor Kate Williams, who penned the book Young Elizabeth, told Good Housekeeping.
The Queen and younger sister Princess Margaret were home-schooled. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
If only studying looked this glamorous in the real world! (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
Proving she wasn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves, during World War II, Elizabeth broke with royal protocol and joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service, where she trained as a mechanic.
After that, she went on to become the longest-serving and arguably the most respected monarch of all time.
Not bad for a home-schooled princess!
Her husband, Prince Philip, had a rather unsettled path as a result of his unwell mother, who suffered schizophrenia and was sadly sent to an asylum.
He first attended an American school in Paris, before going to Cheam School in Hampshire, England.
One of his teachers described him as a “know it all smarty person, but always remarkably polite.”
During his teens, he went to Gordonstoun boarding school in Scotland before joining the Royal Navy.
Prince Philip was described as a “know it all” with impeccable manners. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
Prince Charles and Princess Diana
As the heir to the throne, Prince Charles’ education followed the traditional royal path. In 1975, he commenced at the Hill House School in West London before starting at his dad’s stomping ground of Cheam, where he was the school captain.
During highschool, Charles went on to board at Gordonstoun in Scotland and studied math, English language, English literature, Latin, French, and history. In 1967, he sat his A Levels and scored a B in history, a C in French, and a distinction in history. He attended university at Cambridge and University College of Wales, where he studied archaeology and anthropology.
The young prince was the first ever heir apparent to receive a university degree, scoring a Master of Arts degree from Cambridge. In 1971, he joined the British Armed Forces.
Prince Charles gets the royal send off on his first day at Cheam in 1957. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
The prince was the first heir apparent to get a university degree. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
Charles was the school captain at Cheam. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
Diana Spencer may not have been academic, but she was a natural-born leader even in the early days of her life.
“I was always told by my family that I was the thick one and that my brother was the clever one and I was always so conscious of that,” Diana once said.
During the early years of her life, Diana longed to be a ballet dancer and was home-schooled by a governess. At just nine years old, she was sent to Riddlesworth Hall boarding school, which she said was a lonely and challenging time.
“When he [my father] left, he kissed me goodbye, that day I said to him, ‘If you leave me now, you don’t love me,’ which is a crippler, isn’t it? But I meant it,” she recalled of being dropped off at boarding school by her dad.
Next she went to the exclusive West Heath Girls’ School in Kent, where she failed her O-level exams twice. Despite this, she awarded an accolade for her strong sense of community spirit — a sign of things to come! She rounded off her education at an elite finishing school in Switzerland called Institut Alpin Videmanette.
In the late 70s, she returned to London where she worked as a nanny and pre-school teacher until she married Prince Charles.
A young Diana, pictured with her younger brother Charles, had aspirations of becoming a ballet dancer. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie
Both girls began their schooling at Upton House School in Windsor, before attending Coworth Park School and then onto St George’s School in Ascot.
In 2007, Beatrice showed her leadership skills after being elected the head girl. In 2011, she graduated with a 2:1 degree in History and History of Ideas from Goldsmiths College in London.
Her little sister Eugenie opted for a globe-trotting gap year around India, America, South Africa and Australia before completing a English literature and history of art degree at Newcastle University.
Sarah the Duchess of York drops Princess Beatrice off to school in 1991. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
Proud parents Sarah and Andrew of York drop of Beatrice to St George’s in 2000. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
Eugenie had Bea to show her the ropes on her first day of school in 1992. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
Zara Tindall and Peter Philips
Both Zara Tindall and Peter Philips went to Port Regis Prep School in Shaftesbury, Dorset.
The siblings kept in line with family tradition and carved out the rest of their schooling at Gordonstoun in Scotland. Sporty Zara shone during her formative years and was the school captain.
Although she went on to be an Olympic equestrian rider, she also has a physiotherapy degree from the University of Exeter, while big brother Peter studied sports science at the same university.
Zara shows off her gymnastic moves at Port Regis school in 1991. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
Peter and Zara, who don’t have official royal titles, shared a very similar educational path. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
Bring your grandparents to school day took on a whole new meaning for Zara and Peter, pictured here in 1991. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Now to Love)
This post was written by Bella Brennan. For more, check out our sister site, Now to Love.