In the last year, Princess Charlotte has moved house, been a bridesmaid at her aunt Pippa Middleton’s wedding and found out she’s going to be a big sister.
Now, at two and a half, she has another milestone—her first day at the Willcocks Nursery School.
The Duchess of Cambridge released pictures of her daughter on Tuesday morning (AEDT) ahead of her first day, showing Charlotte sitting on steps in the grounds of Kensington Palace and another standing as she holds onto a rail.
The young princess is wearing a scarf, coat and appears to have a backpack on as she is photographed by her mother.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to share two photographs of Princess Charlotte at Kensington Palace this morning. pic.twitter.com/dDIOZdA7aM
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 8, 2018
Handpicked for their daughter by Prince William and Kate, both 35, the high-end London establishment is based in a church hall close to Kensington Palace.
Society magazine Tatler described the $25,139-a-year school as a “hidden gem” that “flies under the radar” and is attended by British children and “chic foreigners” alike.
“They thought it would be an ideal first step for Charlotte’s education and they were impressed by the team who work there,” said a Kensington Palace spokeswoman.
At first, Charlotte will be invited with her parents for a short “stay and play” session, the nursery’s website suggests.
The Cambridges will then be prompted to see if their daughter, who can bring a favourite photo or toy from home, “is happy to be left.”
While Charlotte “builds a rapport” with classmates and teachers, Kate and William are asked “to stay in the vicinity for the first few sessions so that you can return if needed.”
The fourth-in-line to the British throne will reportedly be in a class of 32 children taught by an all-female staff at the “traditional” school. Pupils are split into four learning groups named after birds: Swifts, Swallows, Cygnets and Swans.
Founded in 1964, the “traditional” nursery was rated as “outstanding” by UK government education body Ofsted when it was last inspected in 2012.
It has an unflinching ethos according to its website: “High standards, excellence and good manners.”
Charlotte won’t wear a uniform and will need to bring a lunch box from home at Willcocks, where her schedule will be jam-packed.
From 9am to midday, the morning school is open for children aged two to five years and includes singing, poetry workshops, acting and show and tell.
Three afternoons a week from 2 to 4pm, there’s sports – the playground has wheelie toys and sand features – cooking, painting and music. A special ‘lunch club’ offers French lessons and “local outings.”
Daily lessons are themed around topics such as archaeology and the environment. Visitors include emergency services workers, and Prince William will be able to swap stories with other dads at “fathers’ breakfasts.”
But it won’t be all clay-pot making for Charlotte: she’ll have to tidy away dress ups and put out milk for her classmates.
“We are delighted that The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have chosen the Willcocks Nursery School for Princess Charlotte,” a spokesperson for the school said in December.
“We look forward to welcoming Charlotte to our nursery.”