When it comes to choosing an education for the world's kings and queens of tomorrow, there is a definitive break with yesterday. In the not-so-distant past, the Palace hired a private tutor who was guaranteed to keep the little princes and princesses from being compromised by the people they might one day 'rule'.
Next came the exclusive boarding schools. In Britain, Prince Charles and his siblings were sent to Gordonstoun in Scotland, a 'character-building' institution once described by the Prince of Wales as “Colditz in kilts” – a reference to a WWII-era prisoner of war camp – where cold showers and strict discipline were the order of the day.
Now in this more progressive age, royal tots are being sent to an even broader range of establishments from the alternative Montessori to local public schools.
Click through to discover what school life is like the new age of royals.
The little Swedish royal is taking her studies abroad. A press secretary for the Royal Court of Sweden confirmed to HELLO! that Princess Madeleine and Christopher O’Neill’s three-year-old daughter recently started preschool in Sweden.
“HRH Princess Madeleine and her family permanently reside in London. However, they regularly spend longer periods in Sweden,” the press officer said. “The Princess feels that her children should have a strong connection with Sweden. She wants them to feel at home here just as she does.”
The Royal Court noted that going to preschool in Sweden will be a “valuable experience” for the young Princess. According to the Swedish outlet Aftonbladet, Leonore's preschool, located in Östermalm in Stockholm, is a private one that focuses on languages. Leonore will no doubt enjoy making friends at her new school while her family reportedly remains in Sweden through September.
Photo: Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Images
With Prince William and Duchess Kate's move to London in summer 2017 comes a move to a new school. After starting off the early years of his matriculation at the Montessori preparatory school in Norfolk, Prince George is now enrolled at the Wetherby School, located a stones throw from Kensington Palace.
George is following in the footsteps of his father and uncle Prince Harry, who attended the pre-preparatory school. William was famously photographed alongside his mother Princess Diana on his first day in 1987.
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Prince George had previously been signed up to a trendy and reasonably-priced Montessori preschool near the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's longtime home, Anmer Hall on the Queen's Sandringham estate in Norfolk.
Among the fastest-growing educational systems in the world today, the Montessori experience is “special” because it dispenses with competition and respects the pace of each child, with the emphasis on spiritual, mental, physical and psychological development rather than the academic curriculum itself.
Though when he's much older Prince George will probably go on to study at Wetherby and Eton, he would be in good company if he steered the Montessori path into his teens, with Google and Amazon founders Larry Pagre and Jeff Bezos among the alumni as well as another famous George, Mr Clooney.
Photo: Getty Images/Duchess of Cambridge
PRINCE HISAHITO OF JAPAN
Third in line to the Japanese throne, Prince Hisahito is having an entirely different educational experience from the generations of royals before him. Japanese Princes and Princesses traditionally attend the Gakushuin school which was founded in 1847 by Emperor Ninko to educate the children of the Imperial aristocracy. There, the children are addressed by their titles and are reminded constantly of their special status.
But the Prince's parents opted instead for a more mainstream education at the Ochanomizu University Elementary school. “Prince and Princess Akishino believe that to become the symbol of the state in the future, it would be a valuable experience for the little prince to study with the children from various backgrounds and be in touch with the feelings of common people,” said a member of the Imperial Household Agency.
The school has 40 children to a class and Prince Hisahito is just one more. In roll call, he is stripped of titles and answers to plain Hisahito with an enthusiastic, “Yes!”
Photo: Junji Kurokawa for AFP
CROWN PRINCESS LEONOR OF SPAIN
Along with her younger sister Sofia, Crown Princess Leonor of Spain attends the secular Santa María de los Rosales School in Aravaca, an upmarket suburb of Madrid only minutes from the Royal Moncloa Palace.
The school is noted more for its attention to manners and personal development rather than academic results, with one lesson dedicated to coming down the stairs in heels without making a noise.
“It's very caring but strict,” says a former student while a spokesman for the center explains, “We offer an education designed to turn out physically and mentally healthy people who are rigorous and creative thinkers, who value independence and who accept their duties and carry them out responsibly.”
Photo: Fotonoticias for WireImage
CROWN PRINCE MOULAY HASSAN OF MOROCCO
Both Morocco's Crown Prince Moulay Hassan and his sister Princess Lalla Khadiha receive a formal education at the College Royale at the Royal Palace in Rabat along with a small selection of youngsters from the Moroccan elite who have been hand-picked by the regime.
The school depends on a supply of teachers from France's national education system, a tradition that started when the school was founded in 1942 by the Crown Prince's great grandfather Mohammed V.
Inspired by the French high school model, the children receive lessons in French, Spanish, English and Arabic as well as royal etiquette, though when it comes to the traditional greeting of a deferential kiss on the hand, the young Crown Prince has decided to put his foot down, opting instead for a firm handshake.
Photo: Fethi Belaid for AFP
PRINCESS INGRID OF NORWAY
While Prince Sverre Magnus develops his creativity at the Oslo Montessori School and cousins Maud, Leah and Emma (the children of Princess Martha Louise and Ari Behn) focus on learning through imaginative play in the non-competitive Rudolph Steiner school, Princess Ingrid of Norway plunged into an English-speaking environment at the Oslo International School, one of the country's most expensive private schools.
Explaining their switch from public to private education, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit told the Norwegian press that their children had had “good years” in the public system but that it was important for Ingrid to acquire “fundamental competence in speaking and thinking in English.”
Photo: Ragnar Singsaas for WireImage
PRINCESS ESTELLE OF SWEDEN
Responsible and inquisitive by nature, Princess Estelle of Sweden is a perfect student for the outdoor “rain and shine” nursery, Aventyret ("adventure," in Swedish) just outside Stockholm. The school was recommended to her parents Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel by friends. “For us, it's very important that nature becomes a natural part if the children's everyday life,” Victoria explained to Radio Sweden.
With the use of folklore, teachers bring nature to life for their small students who spend most of their time outdoors, learning to care and respect for their environment through play. “They learn to crawl, jump, balance and climb on fallen trees and mossy rocks. This is an ideal playground. Children get a feeling of togetherness as they listen to fairy tales under a tree whilst sharing a picnic,” says founder of the Rain and Shine (Ur och Skur) nurseries, Siw Linde.
Photo: Julian Parker for UK Press
PRINCE CHRISTIAN OF DENMARK
Prince Christian is a student at Copenhagen's Trane Overgaard School which, in line with the general Scandinavian approach to education, believes there is a clear connection between fitness and intelligence and ensures that movement and aerobic activities are fundamental to every school day.
Based on the Danish 'modern classic' system, it promotes positive experiences which will encourage children to educate themselves. And though it is teacher-led, it considers the children as independent and thinking people who should be treated with respect.
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CROWN PRINCE HUSSEIN OF JORDAN
Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan is no longer a pupil but an alumnus of the groundbreaking King's Academy – the first co-ed boarding school in the Arab world, located in Madaba, an agricultural town not far from the capital of Amman. With an American curriculum, it prides itself on fostering individual thought, discussion and analysis as opposed to the rote learning which is traditionally favored in the region. It also offers an inclusive financial aid program to less well-off students and short placements to foreign students in a bid to nurture international understanding.
The school was set up by the Crown Prince's father, King Abdullah II after he himself attended Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts and wanted something similar for his children closer to home. Described as the School for Ethics and Global Leadership, it promises to produce “a new generation of enlightened and creative minds.”
Photo: Khalil Mazraawi for AFP