Prince William and Princess Kate don't always share their children's back-to-school pictures
Kate Middleton and Prince William's three children have starred in first day of school portraits in past years, but despite the memorable snaps, they don't occur every school year. That's because the Prince and Princess of Wales, both 41, treat school as a private area so that their children can grow up in as pressure-free an atmosphere as possible.
Instead, pictures have only been released for special milestones, like first days at new schools. Prince George, 10, starred in portraits when he started nursery school in 2016 at Westacre Montessori School near the family’s home Amner Hall in Norfolk and again when he shyly greeted the head of Thomas's Battersea in London in Sept. 2017 (accompanied by dad Prince William).
Princess Charlotte arrives for her first day of school at Thomas’s Battersea, joining her older brother Prince George. ✏️📚🏫 pic.twitter.com/8l63WEjzcw
— The Prince and Princess of Wales (@KensingtonRoyal) September 5, 2019
Princess Charlotte, 8, followed in her older brother's footsteps, smiling for portraits when she began at London's Willcocks Nursery School in 2018. She then joined Prince George at Thomas's Battersea in Sept. 2019, sporting an adorable uniform and flicking her ponytail as she held hands with Kate.
Prince Louis, 5, had a double reason to celebrate in 2021: his first day of school photo doubled as his third birthday portrait! To start at Willcocks Nursery School, Prince Louis sported a backpack as he smiled for the camera (in a photo snapped by mom!) while on a red walker bicycle.
Three tomorrow! 🚲
Taken earlier this week by The Duchess before he left for his first day of nursery, The Duke and Duchess are pleased to share a new image of Prince Louis. 🎈 pic.twitter.com/AGgfLI39tW
— The Prince and Princess of Wales (@KensingtonRoyal) April 22, 2021
The whole family stepped out together when Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis started at Lambrook School in Sept. 2022. Prince William and Kate held hands with their children — all sporting matching uniforms — as they made their way to a preview day for new students with their parents.
The new school came with another change: the family's move from London to Windsor.
"They love that the kids can go out on their bikes and cycle around the estate, and they are all really excited to meet everyone," a friend previously told PEOPLE about life in Windsor. "It's a real little community."
Known to be one of the top prep schools in the U.K., Lambrook not only achieves great academic results but there are lots of activities to keep the kids entertained. With impressive sports, drama and music facilities, there's an indoor pool, full-size astroturf soccer field and a nine-hole golf course — not to mention clubs that include horse riding, fencing, scuba diving and polo (another royal favorite!).
Even if pictures don't get released to the public this year, it's likely that Princess Kate will get behind the camera for some first day of school snaps for the family photo album. The Princess of Wales has previously dubbed herself an "enthusiastic amateur photographer," and her favorite subjects are her children. She's been credited with many of their annual birthday portraits!
Last summer, Queen Camilla was invited to guest edit a special edition of British magazine Country Life in honor of her 75th birthday. In a touching twist, she asked Kate to take her portrait for the cover!
According to The Telegraph, when it came time to discuss cover image options, editor Mark Hedges asked the then-Duchess of Cornwall if she had any thoughts.
"She immediately replied, 'Oh, I'd quite like Catherine to do it,' " Hedges recalled. "I spent the next three or four minutes desperately racking my brains trying to think of a professional photographer called Catherine. Then suddenly I grasped what she meant — one of the most amazing things that could happen," he said. “I found it one of the easier things to nod my head at."
When Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis are back in the classroom, Prince William and Princess Kate will likely return to royal duties after taking a summer break to spend time with the kids. The couple's last public engagement was a fun family affair — attending the Wimbledon men's final with Prince George and Princess Charlotte in July.
Prince William already has a big work trip on the calendar for September: he's set to travel to New York City for events on Sept. 18 and Sept. 19, including the Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit. The event serves as a rev-up to the 2023 Earthshot Prize awards ceremony, which will take place in Singapore on Nov. 7.
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The Prince of Wales was supposed to attend the Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit in New York City last year but canceled the trip stateside after the death of his grandmother Queen Elizabeth on Sept. 8, 2022.
"Although it is the saddest of circumstances that means I cannot join you in person today, I am pleased to join you in video form as you gather in New York for the Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit," William said in a video address to the event. "During this time of grief, I take great comfort in your continued enthusiasm, optimism and commitment to the Earthshot Prize and what we are trying to achieve."
"Protecting the environment was a cause close to my grandmother's heart, and I know she would have been delighted to hear about this event and the support you're all giving our Earthshot finalists, the next generation of environmental pioneers," he continued.
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