Why Princess Charlotte wasn't enrolled in her big brother George's school

Princess Charlotte started preschool this week (we’ve got the adorable photos to prove it!) — and there’s a reason the 2-year-old is not attending the same private school as her 4-year-old brother, Prince George.

Prince William and Kate Middleton announced in December that Charlotte would be attending Willcocks Nursery School, a decision that surprised royal insiders who assumed Charlotte would follow George to Thomas’s Battersea, where he started in September.



a woman holding a red umbrella: Princess Charlotte


© The Duchess of Cambridge/KENSINGTON PALACE/HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Princess Charlotte


So why the different schools?

A royal source tells PEOPLE, “They chose that nursery because they thought it would be an ideal first step for Charlotte’s education and they were impressed by the team who work there.”

It also helps that the school is based in a church hall next door to London’s Royal Albert Hall, very close to the family’s Kensington Palace home. George’s school is a much longer commute.



a little boy that is standing in the street: Prince George on his first day of school at Thomas's Battersea in September


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Prince George on his first day of school at Thomas’s Battersea in September


George started preschool at the same age as Charlotte in January 2016. He went to a Montessori school just a short drive from the family’s country home, Anmer Hall.

Unlike George, who started at his school on a part-time basis, Carlotte will be attending full time.

Meanwhile, George is getting some of the best education “money can buy” from a “slightly chaotic” school for cosmopolitan families, according to a published review of Thomas’s Battersea.

The $23,000-a-year establishment, which is about four miles south of the family’s Kensington Palace home, is “a big, busy, slightly chaotic school for cosmopolitan parents who want their children to have the best English education money can buy,” the latest The Good Schools Guide says. “That is what they want and, to a large degree, that is what they get.”



Prince William, Duke of Cambridge et al. posing for the camera: Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince George and Princess Charlotte


© Chris Jackson/Getty Images/PA Wire
Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince George and Princess Charlotte

There are “plenty of opportunities for pupils to excel but withdrawn types might find it all somewhat overwhelming,” the review added.

Beyond their new schools, it’s sure to be a big year for Charlotte and George. Both will become older siblings when William and Kate welcome their third child this spring. And of course, Uncle Prince Harry is set to marry fiancé Meghan Markle on May 19.

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