First day of school style is clearly a totally different thing for the royal family than it is for most of the rest of us. While many American children get all kitted out in new jeans or shorts and such, the royal family is working on a different wavelength entirely. Sure, they are expected to wear school uniforms, which makes that style a little easier to come by, but it’s the way they wear it. Each and every one of them managing to look distinctive and cool or adorable, depending on their age, in their
first day of school photos. It’s enough to make a person reconsider formal attire.
The royal family has not always gone in for being educated outside the castle walls, so the whole concept of school uniforms and such is relatively new to the House of Windsor.
Queen Elizabeth herself was educated at home, with her school work being overseen by the Queen Mother, who was then Lady Elizabeth Lyon-Bowens before the abdication made her Queen Consort, along with the help of governess Marion Crawford. While Queen Elizabeth learned all about the constitution and had visiting instructors help her with music and languages, she wanted her own children to be formally educated.
And so they were.
Painting At The Palace Photo 12/Universal Images Group/Getty Images
Even though Princess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth were learning at home at Buckingham Palace in 1940, they still wore cute matching outfits. Iconic.
Happy At Hill House
Look at little Prince Charles, marching along on his way to Knightsbridge to attend Hill House School in 1957. An overcoat and everything.
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Prince Charles attended Prince Philip’s alma mater, Gordonstoun School in Scotland, in 1962. Look how polite he is with his handshake and everything.
Prince Charles Arrives Late To School Bettmann/Bettmann/Getty Images
Poor Prince Charles. He showed up late for his first day of school at Trinity College and it’s not even like he can sneak in the back door. Everyone was watching. But fortunately he looked well put together and offered his apologies to the Chancellor so all was well.
Cool Hats At Benenden Central Press/Hulton Royals Collection/Getty Images
Princess Anne was attending Benenden School in 1964 and got to wear a pretty cool hat and dress combination. Plus look at those gloves.
Princess Anne’s Son Graduates Barry Batchelor - PA Images/PA Images/Getty Images
It’s a last day of school shot for Peter Phillips when he graduated from Exeter’s College, but some could also say it’s the first day of the rest of his life. And he certainly looks proud.
Zara’s Turn PA Images/PA Images/Getty Images
When it was Princess Anne’s daughter Zara’s turn to head off to nursery school in Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire in 1984, her look was considerably more free-spirited. Plus she got a balloon.
Heading To Heatherdown William Lovelace/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth held it together nicely when she sent her youngest child Prince Edward off to his first day of school at Heatherdown Preparatory School in 1972. And he looked awfully dapper in his little suit.
Off To Be A Teacher Hulton Archive/Hulton Royals Collection/Getty Images
Diana Spencer was a teacher’s helper at a school in Pimlico, so she got to enjoy her own first day of school looks back in 1980. Of course she nailed it.
The Future King Goes To School UK Press/UK Press/Getty Images Wetherby Wins Anwar Hussein/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Prince William went to Wetherby School in 1987, and I think it’s safe to say those uniforms are the winners so far. As does his wave.
Keeping It Casual David Levenson/Hulton Royals Collection/Getty Images
Prince Harry went more casual and looked like he was carrying his own mat, hopefully for napping, on his way to Mrs. Mynors's Nursery School in 1987.
Wetherby Times Two Julian Parker/UK Press/Getty Images
Both Princes Harry and William attended Wetherby School in 1989, and the look of joy on Prince Harry’s little face as he gazed at his brother is just priceless.
Beatrice Goes Blue On Blue Julian Parker/UK Press/Getty Images
At Upton House Nursery School in 1991, Princess Beatrice wore a very fetching outfit of blue on blue. Her knee socks and hat, I can’t even.
Eugenie Is All Smiles Tim Ockenden - PA Images/PA Images/Getty Images
When Princess Eugenie joined her big sister Princess Beatrice at Upton House Nursery School in 1994, she couldn’t have smiled more if she tried.
Off To Eton PA Images/PA Images/Getty Images
Prince William was delivered to his first day at Eton College by his parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and younger brother Prince Harry. Who was right behind him.
Where He Goes, Harry Follows UK Press/UK Press/Getty Images
Prince Harry followed his brother to Eton College in 1998. He was also ready to go to a formal wedding in a pinch in his school uniform.
College Cool David Cheskin - PA Images/PA Images/Getty Images
The uniform was no more for Prince William when he attended St. Andrews College in Scotland in 2001. Instead he was the epitome of cool in his jeans and sweater.
The Graduate Anwar Hussein Collection/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Kate Middleton graduated St. Andrew’s College alongside Prince William. No photos of her first day at the school in Scotland but clearly her time there was a pretty big deal;
she met a prince who would someday be her husband. And her white blouse is perfect. Off To The Military Academy Anwar Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images
Prince Harry started off his military career at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst in 2005, with his dad in attendance.
Prince George, The Montessori King
When it was time for
Prince George to start nursery school at Westacre Montessori in 2016, he didn’t wear a uniform. But he did wear a backpack and a proud smile in this photo taken by his mom Kate Middleton. Big Boy School For George WPA Pool/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Prince George started Thomas’s Battersea School in London in 2017, and his dad was the one to deliver him. I would like to note that Prince William is carrying his backpack, and this is very sweet.
Princess Charlotte & Her Coat Off To School With George AARON CHOWN/AFP/Getty Images
Princess Charlotte looked happy to join her big brother Prince William at Thomas’s Battersea School in London in 2019. And no big surprise, the uniform is amazing.
He’s Raring To Go
youngest Cambridge, Prince Louis, followed in his big sister’s footsteps when he headed off to Willcocks Nursery School in 2021. He didn’t look remotely nervous on his bike wearing his backpack. And of course his outfit was on point. What Parents Are Talking About — Delivered Straight To Your Inbox
This article was originally published on
Aug. 7, 2021