Decked out in a red skivvy, navy shorts and long red socks, and lugging a backpack, Prince George will be heading to class for the first time in early September.
As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced in March, their firstborn will kick off his formal education at Thomas’s School in Battersea, a 30-minute drive each way in traffic from Kensington Palace.
Kate and William, both 35, have said they hope to do the school run themselves as much as possible − and that’s not the only modern twist on George’s education.
The school his parents have chosen for the third in line to the British throne means he will get some of the best education “money can buy” from a “slightly chaotic” school for cool inner-city families.
“That is what they want, and to a large degree, that is what they get.”
That opinion comes courtesy of the recently-published Good Schools Guide, which calls itself the leading independent source of information on schools in the UK.
It says the little-known but well-regarded Thomas’s (which reportedly has had bulletproof glass fitted ahead of its famous pupil’s debut) caters to “cosmopolitan parents” and offers “plenty of opportunities for pupils to excel”.
Still, the guide sounded a warning note for first-term shrinking violets amid the “big, busy” halls: “Withdrawn types might find it all somewhat overwhelming.”
Given George, 4, is already adept at royal tours − he’s ticked off Australia, Canada and Germany − and is used to playing with little friends at his old Montessori nursery school, he should quickly find his feet (clad in regulation black school shoes) quickly in his new environment.
The $28,970-a-year school has just one important rule, writes headmaster Simon O’Malley on Thomas’s website: “To Be Kind”.
While the establishment’s academic record and “rich and broad curriculum” is a source of pride, says Mr O’Malley, “we place a greater emphasis on a set of core values which include kindness, courtesy, confidence, humility and learning to be givers, not takers”.
George’s international travels (which also include a family ski trip to France) could stand him in good stead at the school.
Between the 540 boys and girls aged between four and 13, “19 different foreign languages are spoken at home”, according to the guide.
It’s not just culture on offer. Sport takes up 20 per cent of the curriculum time – which may have been a selling point for the Cambridges – and drama, art and ballet are also taught.
There’s a new music centre, an orchestra, bands and choirs while “two great art studios and two pottery rooms with their own kiln” add to the creative mix, said the guide.
“Their Royal Highnesses are delighted to have found a school where they are confident George will have a happy and successful start to his education,” said the palace in March.
Should Kate and William ever be too busy to run George to the gate, the school owns a “fleet of buses” which bring pupils from Kensington.
But other parents are reportedly hoping that the royal couple stick to their vow to drive their boy themselves.
Said one fellow parent: “The fact that they drive a Range Rover means they will fit in very well here during drop-off.”