Charlotte, 4, was accompanied by George, 6, and parents Prince William and Kate Middleton as she walked into Thomas’s Battersea in London early Thursday morning. The royal children were both wearing the uniforms required by the $23,000-a-year private school. Charlotte also wore her navy Mary Jane shoes from Amaia and added a personal touch to her backpack: a sequined unicorn keychain!
The family arrived at around 8.20 a.m. London time. Initially clutching mom Kate’s right hand with both of hers, a shy Charlotte then relaxed her grip as she walked across the schoolyard. A few steps away, big brother George held the hand of their dad Prince William.
Kate, who wore her Michael Kors floral printed dress (which she also wore to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding rehearsal!), and William carried their children’s backpacks as they made their way to the school’s entrance.
At the door, they were met by the head of lower school, Helen Haslem, who first greeted George before turning to the princess starting school. As she turned to walk through the doors, Charlotte tentatively looked towards photographers and gave a small wave.
The milestone marked a special moment for the family. When George started at the same school two years ago, Kate was unable to join him because she was ill with severe morning sickness during her pregnancy with Prince Louis.
Princess Charlotte arrives for her first day of school at Thomas’s Battersea, joining her older brother Prince George. ✏️📚🏫 pic.twitter.com/8l63WEjzcw— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) September 5, 2019
As they walked in, William expressed how Charlotte was feeling — turning to teacher Haslem and saying, “First day — very excited.”
Kate then asked her, “How are you? Did you have a nice summer?”
The royal parents took Charlotte to her classroom to meet her teacher and settle her in. The princess is in a class of 21, one of three reception classes in her year.
Once the early nerves are over, outgoing Charlotte — who has spent the previous 18 months or so at Willcocks Nursery School — will be thrilled to be at Thomas’s. “She can’t wait to be with George at big school,” an insider previously told PEOPLE. “She is so excited about it all.”
She’s not the only one. Headteacher Simon O’Malley said in a statement released by the palace in May, “We are delighted that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have decided that Princess Charlotte will join her elder brother, Prince George, at Thomas’s Battersea. We greatly look forward to welcoming her and all of our new pupils to the school.”
Charlotte’s first day followed a summer of fun for the little princess. She joined her parents at a charity sailing event in August, vacationed on the Caribbean island of Mustique and visited with great-granny Queen Elizabeth in Balmoral, Scotland. She also enjoyed a fun day trip with grandparents Carole and Michael Middleton and spent time at the family’s country home, Anmer Hall.
In what is known as her “reception year,” Charlotte will be encouraged to “play and explore; make choices and learn to have a go and persevere; be creative and solve problems; form good relationships; be safe, secure and happy,” according to the school.
Meanwhile, George enters “Year 2,” with a curriculum that includes core subjects such as math, English, science, history and geography. He will also be taught religious studies, French, computing, art/design technology, music, drama, P.E. and ballet.
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“The curriculum presented in Year 2 reflects the increased ability of the children, both academically and socially,” Helen Haslem, Head of Lower School, says on the school’s site. “It sees the completion of the basic skills in literacy and numeracy in Key Stage 1. Individual strengths and talents begin to emerge, which you will undoubtedly begin to see.”