William & Kate's Next Move Could Change Prince George's Life, Sources Say
"It's a very important decision that will have a great influence on George's life," an insider said.
Prince George charmed royal watchers when he appeared with his parents, Prince William and Duchess Catherine, at the Euro Championship at Wembley Stadium on Sunday. Dressed in a blue blazer and striped tie, just like his dad, George clearly shared his father's enthusiasm for the game and he was ecstatic when England scored the first goal, despite the match taking a turn from there. The third in line to the throne even mimicked William's gestures as they cheered on England (and had the same disappointed and stoic reaction when his home team lost to Italy).
The outing proved George is no longer an adorable toddler; he is a young prince. Now, the time has come for William and Kate to decide whether their oldest son will carry on with one royal tradition in particular that dates back many generations, or will the Cambridges forge a new path for Prince George?
Read on to find out what decision William and Kate are about to make "that will have a great influence on Prince George's life," according to an insider, and how past generations dealt with the same issue.
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The Cambridges are now faced with making an important decision about George's education.
As per royal tradition, when George turns eight, it's time for William and Kate to make a decision about his secondary education. According to the Evening Standard, the Cambridges are now said to be considering having George follow in the footsteps of his great grandfather, Prince Philip; his grandfather, Prince Charles; and his father, by sending him to boarding school. (Queen Elizabeth and her sister, Princess Margaret, were two of the last of the Royal Family to be schooled at the Palace by governesses and tutors.)
"It's a very important decision that will have a great influence on Prince George's life," an insider told Best Life. "The male members of the Royal Family have been greatly shaped by this which also shapes their future, so William and Catherine are undoubtedly weighing the options very carefully."
Prior to this young generation, most members of the Royal Family were packed off to boarding school when they turned eight years old, just as William and George's uncle, Prince Harry, were when they arrived at Ludgrove School in Berkshire. George, who turns eight later this month on July 22, currently attends Thomas's Battersea, a co-ed prep school for students four to 13 years old. His younger sister Princess Charlotte is also enrolled at the school, whose website states "the most important school rule is to 'Be Kind.'"
The future king is reportedly quite popular with his classmates who are rumored to have nicknamed him "PG."
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William and Kate may decide to buck royal tradition when it comes to George's schooling.
There is one reason George's parents could vote against boarding school for their son. A source told the Evening Standard, it's "highly unlikely" William and Kate will rush George off to boarding school in the near future. "The vogue now is massively against young children boarding. Sending them away from the familial bubble, whatever the resources and culture of the school, the emotional structure that a family provides is more important at that age," the insider said.
Other members of the Royal Family have decided against sending their children to boarding school in recent years, too. Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex chose not to send either of their children, 17-year-old Lady Louise Windsor or 13-year-old James, Viscount Severn, to boarding school.
In 2016, Mike Tindall, husband of the Queen's granddaughter, Zara Phillips, told the Daily Mail that he wasn't "keen" on sending their daughter, now seven-year-old Mia Tindall, away for school because it "goes against [his] instincts." He said he prefers to send her to a nearby school so he and his wife can "always be on hand if she needs us."
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Only one of George's parents consistently thrived at boarding school.
William attended Eton College for his secondary education, where he was very popular. On the weekends, he would walk the short distance to Windsor Castle where he would have tea with his grandmother, who began tutoring him on subjects the future king must know. According to The Cut, William had an easier time fitting in than Harry did at Eton.
A former schoolmate told the outlet, "William was very integrated. There's this sort of society in your top year where if you're kind of popular or beloved by teachers and boys alike you get voted into the Eton society, which is known as 'Pop,' and you got to choose your own waistcoat and wear special trousers. William was a Pop, so he was like a homecoming-king type, but Harry wasn't. I think Harry probably had it harder finding his way."
Duchess Catherine was bullied at her first boarding school, but that changed when she switched.
Middle school isn't the highlight of any young person's life, but 13-year-old Kate Middleton had a particularly rough time. As Best Life reported last year, a band of bullies made Kate's life miserable at Downe House School, a posh boarding school for girls in Newbury, just miles away from her parents' home in Bucklebury. Most students enroll at the school when they're 11 years old, but the future Queen consort of England enrolled at 13 as a "day pupil"—and as a commuter and the "new girl," Kate was an easy target.
Former student Georgina Rylance told The Sunday Times in 2011: "It does make a difference going from 11." She continued: "You have two years of bonding, your first time away all together. Even some of the most popular girls in my school had a hard time when they came in at 13." According to The Daily Mail, Kate's Marlborough classmate Jessica Hay said the mean girls at Downe House teased Kate for being "too skinny and meek."
Kate was so miserable that her parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, pulled her out of Downe House in the middle of the school year after just two semesters and enrolled her at Marlborough College, where she thrived and finished out her high school years.
Prince Charles was also miserable at the boarding school his father attended.
When Prince Charles turned eight, it was announced he would attend Gordonstoun in Scotland, the same school his father, Prince Phillip, went to when he turned the same age. Just as depicted on The Crown, the Queen Mother lobbied her daughter to send Charles to Eton because Windsor Castle was close by, but the Queen said that Philip was adamant about sending their oldest son to his alma mater.
It has been widely reported that Charles hated being a student at Gordonstoun, where the bunks were reportedly hard and the windows in the dormitories were kept open all year, no matter the weather. He was miserable and constantly bullied at the boarding school. The Sun reported Charles wrote a letter to his parents in 1963 in which he told them he was extremely unhappy: "The people in my dormitory are foul. Goodness, they are horrid. I don't know how anybody could be so foul." In another missive, he reportedly wrote: "I hardly get any sleep in the House because I snore and I get hit on the head all the time. It's absolute h***." Charles' brothers, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, were also sent to the boarding school.
Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.
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