All eyes may have been on Prince George when the young royal showed up for his first day at fancy London prep school Thomas’s Battersea in September, but on Monday, Kensington Palace announced that 2-year-old Princess Charlotte will also be starting school in the new year — and unsurprisingly, it will come with a pretty steep price tag. The palace confirmed on Twitter that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be sending their daughter to the Willcocks Nursery School beginning in January, and here's how much Princess Charlotte's nursery school costs, in case you're wondering.
Willcocks Nursery School is a convenient choice for the royal couple: it's located inside the Holy Trinity Church near Kensington Palace, meaning she won't be far from the family's official residence, according to People. But while it might seem quaint that the princess will be attending nursery school in a church hall, it seems decidedly more high-brow than your average neighborhood preschool. For one, tuition at the school runs around £4,850 a term — nearly $6,500 — for those attending the full-day program, according to the school's website. That might make it an unrealistic option for most parents, but it sounds like there was a lot about Willcocks Nursery School for the Duke and Duchess to love.
On its website, the school is described as "a traditional nursery school which strives to maintain its ethos for high standards, excellence and good manners." But many of the parent testimonials praised the kindness and dedication of the teaching staff — and judging from the Duke and Duchess' choice of primary school for their eldest child, it certainly seems like choosing a warm school environment is one of their top priorities.
When the palace confirmed that Prince George would be attending Thomas' Battersea, it came as a bit of a surprise to royal watchers. Unlike the elite Kensington-area private schools traditionally preferred by royals (including Prince William's childhood school, Wetherby), Thomas's is a co-ed, family-run school generally considered to be a less posh pick, according to The Daily Mail. Yet what the school may have lacked in pedigree, it seems to have more than made up for in heart: according to The Guardian, the school specifically focuses on teaching students to "be kind," and to learn "confidence, leadership and humility." So much so, in fact, that students are discouraged from having a best friend so that they don't exclude others.
The Willcocks School doesn't appear to have the same policy about making friends, but it sounds as though it was the atmosphere and staff that really sealed the deal. According to People, a source close to the family said that the Duke and Duchess "were impressed by the team who work there," and that they felt Willcocks "would be an ideal first step for Charlotte’s education."
In addition to Headmistress Lavinia Taylor, Willcocks employs an all-female staff that includes five key teachers, as well as four visiting teachers for dance, French, physical education, and music. In a statement released through Kensington Palace, the school said it was "delighted" that Princess Charlotte would be attending, and that it "looked forward to welcoming [her]" in the new year.
Price tag aside, it's not particularly surprising though that the Duke and Duchess seem to prefer less obvious, more low-key choices for their children's education — they did send Prince George to a £33-a-day Montessori school in Norfolk when it was his turn to go to nursery school, after all. But then again, "low-key" is a relative term when you're talking about the royal family: in 2015, Willcocks was named one of the top nursery schools by British society magazine, Tatler, which described the school as a "hidden gem" with a "loyal following ... of old English families and chic foreigners" and a long waiting list (though something tells me that waiting list is about to get much longer now that Princess Charlotte is set to attend).
Of course, starting school won't be the only big event in the young princess' life in 2018. In April, she'll be promoted to big sister status after the Duke and Duchess welcome their third child, and in May, it's expected that she will take part in the much-anticipated wedding of her uncle, Prince Harry, when he marries Meghan Markle.
Given that Princess Charlotte is already a pro at handling her royal duties in public (she's got that adorable princess curtsey down), it seems as though she'll probably be totally fine transitioning to nursery school life. But just in case she might not be quite so ready for mom and dad to leave, Willcocks wisely recommends that parents bring their children for "a short 'stay and play'" to get them used to the environment, and also encourages families to bring "a toy or photograph from home" to help them feel more comfortable.
The Duke and Duchess will also be expected "to stay in the vicinity for the first few sessions" (likely in case there are any major meltdowns), and despite the eye-watering tuition, they'll also be expected to pack little Charlotte a lunch each day. Which, if nothing else, just goes to show that even the heir to the British throne likely has to worry about drop-off tantrums and lunchboxes returned almost entirely uneaten. Royals, they're just like us.
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