Will Prince George's eighth birthday bring a big life change?

·Royal Correspondent
·4 min read
Prince George attends a special pantomime performance hosted by The National Lottery, to thank key workers and their families for their efforts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic at London's Palladium Theatre, London, Britain December 11, 2020. Aaron Chown/Pool via REUTERS
Prince George at a special pantomime performance hosted by The National Lottery at London's Palladium Theatre in December 2020. (Aaron Chown/Pool via Reuters)

Prince George turns eight on Thursday, and might already be enjoying his summer holidays at Anmer Hall, the Norfolk home loved by his mother and father.

The oldest Cambridge child and his sister, Princess Charlotte, finished school for the year on 8 July at Thomas's Battersea.

But with his eighth birthday comes a potential life change for George.

He could be sent to boarding school as his father and uncle, William and Harry, were at about the same age.

Prince William went to Ludgrove School in Berkshire, until he passed the test for Eton College, which he attended from the age of 13.

William's younger brother Harry followed in William's footsteps, at Ludgrove and then Eton, although their paths then diverged as Harry went into the Army. 

Britain's Catherine (L), Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George of Cambridge (C), and Britain's Prince William (R), Duke of Cambridge, are seen during the UEFA EURO 2020 final football match between Italy and England at the Wembley Stadium in London on July 11, 2021. (Photo by Frank Augstein / POOL / AFP) (Photo by FRANK AUGSTEIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
William and Kate took George to the UEFA EURO 2020 final football match between Italy and England at Wembley Stadium on 11 July. (Frank Augstein/AFP)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: Prince William, President of the Football Association along with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge with Prince George during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Round of 16 match between England and Germany at Wembley Stadium on June 29, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Eamonn McCormack - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)
They also took him to the round of 16 match between England and Germany on 29 June. (Eamonn McCormack - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Read more: Three babies, a pregnancy and a funeral: How the Royal Family has changed since Beatrice's secret wedding

However there is a key difference between the schools William and Harry went to and where the Cambridges have sent George and Charlotte.

William and Harry had to move school each time because they had reached the final year of education in each place.

Before Ludgrove, they went to pre-preparatory school at Wetherby, which educates children up to the age of eight.

And Ludgrove then caters for ages 8-13, before Eton which is for boys aged 13-18. 

But at Thomas's, the royal children could go straight through to 13. 

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 5: Princess Charlotte arrives for her first day of school, with her brother Prince George and her parents the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, at Thomas's Battersea in London on September 5, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Princess Charlotte on her first day of school, with her brother Prince George and her parents the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. (Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

As Thomas's is not a traditional royal school, William and Kate might have given a clue about wanting to keep George and Charlotte close to home when they chose it. 

Former royal editor Duncan Larcombe told OK magazine: "It's my understanding for some time, possibly even before George was even born, was that William was quite keen that any child he had wouldn't be packed off to boarding school."

Prince Charles and Diana opted not to send William and Harry to Gordonstoun, the Scottish school loved by Prince Philip.

It's where Charles had gone but hated, dubbing it "Colditz in kilts".

TOPSHOT - Britain's Prince George accompanied by Britain's Prince William (L), Duke of Cambridge arrives for his first day of school at Thomas's school in Battersea, southwest London on September 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / RICHARD POHLE        (Photo credit should read RICHARD POHLE/AFP via Getty Images)
George was taken by William for his first day of school at Thomas's school in Battersea in 2017. (Richard Pohle/AFP via Getty Images)

Read more: When might Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis take on royal duties?

Charles was one of the first royals to be sent to school at all, as the Queen had been educated at home alongside her sister, Margaret Rose. 

Sources said Diana regularly visited William and Harry at weekends in Berkshire when they attended Ludgrove.

The Cambridges are no stranger to changing royal tradition either, as they decided to keep George and Charlotte slightly closer to home by choosing Thomas's, near to their home of Kensington Palace.

And they might be able to keep them nearby as they grow up, as Thomas's has been given permission to convert the former Royal Academy of Dance building, also in Battersea, into a senior school.

As the youngest Cambridge, Prince Louis, turned three, William and Kate used his birthday to announce he had started at nursery school, going to Willcocks in Kensington.

With the timing of George's birthday in July, they may give an update about plans for the next stage of his education too.

No news is likely to indicate the young prince, and future king, is going to stay put for a few more years.

Watch: Prince George reacts to England's defeat at Euro 2020 final

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