The first day at a new school is a significant milestone for any child – and their parents.
But it would be understandable if nerves started to show when you have three children starting on the same day just a week after moving into a new home.
Fortunately, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had nothing to worry about when their two sons and daughter joined Lambrook School in Berkshire.
Prince George, nine, Princess Charlotte, seven, and four-year-old Prince Louis took the moment in their stride, prompting beams of delight from William and Kate as they ushered “all the gang” up the steps of the prep school.
A source close to the couple told the Daily Mail: “As they got out of the car, they were just giddy with excitement. It was just so sweet to see. Not a nerve in sight. It was all so relaxed. They are wonderful kids.”
William drove his family from their new Windsor home 15 minutes away for an “orientation day”.
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All new pupils at the school, which has 615 pupils aged three to 13, are invited for a settling-in session lasting around 90 minutes.
The full school starts its new term today.
A source said the Cambridge children were “particularly excited” to be going to the same school for the first time.
George and Charlotte were previously pupils at Thomas’ Battersea in south London while Louis attended The Willcocks Nursery in Kensington.
The insider said: “They’re really excited about starting a new school together – and I think Mum and Dad are too”.
The Cambridges arrived a little early, allowing photographers to capture images of the children’s first day.
As William, 40, parked their car, Kate waved warmly to headmaster Jonathan Perry and his wife Jenny.
The family of five then walked in a line towards the school.
Kate – wearing a AUD$417 Rixo Izzy copper dot shirt dress – held hands with George and Louis, while proud William escorted their daughter.
The pair sweetly squeezed hands and swung arms.
George and Louis wore the checked shirt of the school uniform with shorts, and Charlotte wore its blue summer dress.
William was also seen stroking Louis’s hair reassuringly as they walked towards the entrance, laughing and smiling.
The duchess, 40, greeted the headmaster and his wife like old friends, saying: “Very nice to see you, Mr Perry!”
The head shook each child by the hand, asking: “Are you excited?” All three piped up “Yes!” – but George looked pensive, clearly determined not to put a foot wrong.
William said: “They’re looking forward to it. They have lots of questions”.
As they walked up the steps into school together, Mrs Perry – waiting in the doorway – welcomed the family.
William said: “With all the gang!”
Lambrook, where fees are costing William and Kate more than AUD$90,000 a year, has been described by parents as “magical”.
It boasts of giving its pupils “feathers to fly” and features 52 acres of grounds and state-of-the art buildings.
The carefully controlled photocall marked an exciting new stage for the Cambridges.
They have left the “goldfish bowl” of Kensington Palace for a new life in the country, and will now live in four-bedroom Adelaide Cottage on the Queen’s Windsor estate during term-time and at Anmer Hall in Norfolk in the holidays.
However, William and Kate will retain offices at Kensington Palace and return to London when needed during the week for work.
Friends say the couple are determined to give their children a carefree country upbringing for as long as they can.
Their choice of home and school will enable William and Kate to do the school run as much as possible while royal tours will largely be confined to Monday to Friday, allowing them family time at the weekends.
As a bonus, they are close to Kate’s family – the Middletons live in Berkshire and play a huge part in the children’s lives – while their “gan-gan” the Queen is in Windsor Castle.
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