Prince William and Prince Harry both attended Eton College and it is well-known that King Charles loathed his time at the boys boarding school Gordonstoun, but it appears Prince George may now break with royal tradition entirely by attending a co-educational school.
The Princess of Wales has taken a tour of her old school in Wilshire, Marlborough College, twice in two months, according to the Mail on Sunday. It has led to speculation that Kate has her sights set on the mixed-sex private school – her own alma mater – rather than the all-boys school Eton, where George’s father, the Prince of Wales, and his uncle, the Duke of Sussex, were both students.
If Prince George does attend Marlborough College, it would make him the first male heir to the British throne to attend a co-educational school, again marking Kate out as a real moderniser within the family.
Marlborough College is a boarding school that charges £47,000 a year and takes pupils from the age of 13 to 18. However, the private school begins assessing children for entry early on when they are in Year 6 – the final year of primary school – which is the academic year group as Prince George, who turned 10 in July.
George’s current school, Lambrook, a co-educational prep school that he attends alongside siblings Princess Charlotte, eight, and Prince Louis, five, takes children until the age of 13 – meaning that the young royal would be making the move in three years.
It is reported that Kate favours co-educational schools over single-sex schools. Her interest in sending George to Marlborough could also reflect the growing public mood favouring mixed-sex education.
In the UK, the number of single-sex schools are in decline, with the majority of them found in the independent fee-paying sector. Even then, fewer than 100 fee-charging boys’ schools are registered with the Independent Schools Council (ISC) in the UK, half that of 30 years ago. Single-sex schools account for 17 per cent of all independent schools listed in the ICS census, down from 21 per cent 10 years ago.
Notable Marlborough alumni, known as Old Marlburians after they leave, include Ernest Debenham, the founder of the namesake department store, the poets Sir John Betjeman and William Morris, Princess Eugenie, David Cameron’s wife Samatha, the comedian Jack Whitehall and popular record producer Fred Again.
Though it is understood that no firm decision has yet to be made about what school George will eventually attend, Kate reportedly took him and William to tour the school on 1 December, having previously visited alone in October, according to the Mail on Sunday.
If George were to attend the 180-year-old institution, he would join one of 6 houses for boarding school boys, or one of four houses for those who attend as day pupils, though historically royals have boarded. There would be no shortage of extra-curricular activities for him to take part in including choir, band, sports, theatre, astronomy and archaelology societies.
In October, Kate told pupils at a secondary school in Cardiff that she had been helping George prepare for senior school entrance tests, stating: “George is just at the beginning of being tested. He says, ‘Mummy, I keep getting tested all the time.’”The Independent has contacted Kensington Palace for comment.
Kate reportedly enjoyed her time as a Marlborough student, where she began aged 14, performing particularly well in sports classes including hockey and tennis.
She obtained three A-Levels in maths, art and English, before studying Art History at St Andrew’s in Scotland, where she met William. Their meeting is depicted in Netflix’s new series of The Crown, and that iconic scene that sees Kate wearing a sheer dress at the University’s charity fashion show. However, many details in the script deviate from what really happened – find out what is fact and what is fiction in The Crown here.