This is a big year for the two-and-a-half-year-old Princess Charlotte of Cambridge. In April, her family will welcome her younger sibling – a big deal for any child. Plus, looking super smart in a red woollen coat, she began her formal education at Willcocks Nursery School in London at the start of this term.
So just what is it that makes a nursery fit for a princess?
Willcocks describes itself as a “traditional nursery school which strives to maintain its ethos for high standards, excellence and good manners”.
Close to the Cambridges’ home at Kensington Palace, the school was founded in 1964 by Diana Willcocks and has been based in the church hall of Holy Trinity Church in Kensington since 1984. It is now owned and run by its popular headmistress, Lavinia Taylor.
An all-female teaching staff as well as a variety of visiting specialists fire up the young minds of Willcocks’s pupils with dance, French, sport and music. By the time they are ready to leave for big school, Willcocks children are – according to their parents – “happy”, “confident”, “stimulated” and “enthusiastic”.
The leavers’ destinations of Willcocks pupils include Thomas’s Battersea (the pre-prep that Prince George attends), Thomas’s Kensington, Wetherby School, The Harrodian, Norland Place and Francis Holland.
Ofsted’s last inspection report, published in 2012, said of Willcocks: “The educational programme is outstanding. Children actively participate in activities that relate to all areas of learning.
“Topic themes include outings in the local community and visitors to the nursery. This enables children to gain first-hand experiences that effectively consolidate their learning.”
Perhaps even more telling is that it was described in Tatler’s Best Nursery Guide 2017 as “a hidden gem”. They said: “The Willcocks Nursery…has a loyal following – a mix of old English families and chic foreigners – but flies under the radar. It’s all quite understated.
“They’re just by the Royal Albert Hall, so expect jaunts to the museums and the park, as well as captivating talks on things like Shackleton, archaeology or the environment to keep things lively and fun. Kindness is evident everywhere, plus the nursery is a cooperative, so you know staff are in it for the long haul.”
Traditional, kind and happy – sounds just perfect for a princess.