Chris Jackson/Getty Images Royal Photographer
Prince George may be the most photogenic kid in the world!
Before Prince William drove him to his first day of school at Thomas’s Battersea in South London Thursday, the 4-year-old posed with his dad for an official portrait, taken by Getty Images royal photographer Chris Jackson. George was all smiles in his freshly pressed uniform.
“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to share a photograph of The Duke and Prince George at Kensington Palace this morning. The image was taken shortly before Prince George left for his first day of school at Thomas’s Battersea,” a Kensington Palace spokesperson said. “Their Royal Highnesses are delighted to share this lovely picture as Prince George starts school, and would like to thank everyone for all of the kind messages they have received.”
Kate Middleton, who is 11 weeks pregnant with her third child, was unable to accompany William and George this morning, as she is once again suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Though George was a little nervous as he met with Helen Haslam, the principal of the lower school, William pointed out that his son had been “excitedly noticing” other students’ uniforms.
William and the other parents stayed at school for a bit until the children were settled. The second in line to the throne then left to host a reception for England’s Under-20 soccer team. There, he revealed that George’s first day “went well” and joked he was grateful another parent had problems with their child, rather than him. He also told head coach Paul Simpson it had been a “good day,” adding, “There was one other parent who had more of an issue with their children, so I was quite pleased I wasn’t the one! It was really nice, actually. It’s a nice school.”
Ben Thomas, former headmaster of Thomas’s Battersea and current principal of Thomas’s London Day Schools, insisted George will be treated like everyone else. He told a pool of reporters George’s first year will be “incredibly exciting,” adding, “It’s an incredibly exciting time, up and down the country. There are children starting school at this time everywhere.”
“Here at Thomas’s we have three principles: enjoyment, learning and achievement. For lower school children it’s all about the enjoyment. We are going to try to make this a really happy, safe and secure time,” he said. Regarding George and his classmates’ first day, Ben revealed, “The emphasis will be on a very, very gentle start. They start with half days and then the moment comes when they get to stay for lunch, which is a really big deal trying to balance their lunch on their trays. And then they will be here eventually for full days and then we start to introduce them to the breadth of the curriculum. But the emphasis is on making sure they feel safe, they feel secure and they feel happy. If we get that in place, then they’ll start to explore.”
Asked why the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chose Thomas’s Battersea, as opposed to a traditional royal feeder school, Ben replied, “The choice of your first child’s first school is incredibly personal. The short answer is that you will have to ask them. But what lots of parents tell us is that what they love about the school is the breadth of the curriculum, the fact that we focus not just on children’s intellectual development but also their artistic and sporting development as well. They approve of our central school rule, which is to be kind. Also, many parents love that we have a very strong set of values, which the children are informed about through their education. That includes kindness and courtesy, humility and being givers and not takers. It’s such a cliché but it’s about developing children in the early years of their childhood.”
During George’s time at Thomas’s Battersea, Ben said, “I hope very much that he will be himself. The whole aim of these precious years of early education is to give children that confidence. We are not going to try to mold them into any kind of particular person. We want him to have the confidence to be himself with all his quirks, idiosyncrasies and characteristics.”
George—third in line to the throne—brings added attention wherever he goes, but it shouldn’t disrupt the other students’ studies. “There has been a lot of planning, as you can imagine, but the emphasis has very much been on making sure that doesn’t happen. I think today has been very exciting, but very quickly I think that will calm down,” Ben explained. “We’ll be looking forward to a time, which I think will come very soon, when he’s just another Thomas’s pupil.”