22 August 2022
It’s official! After months of speculation, The Cambridges are off to Lambrook (read our review of Lambrook School). Prince William and Princess Kate have done their due diligence, visiting a handful of prep schools (each time sparking a fresh wave of gossip through the home counties) close to their new base in Windsor. What is it about Lambrook that’s won the family over? And how will the school prepare these junior royals for a lifetime of leadership and duty? We reviewed it late last year, spending a day at the school and interviewing lots of parents: we’re diving back into our review to reflect on how Lambrook might be fit for, well, a couple of princes and a princess.
Co-ed and a mere 16 minutes from Windsor Castle, Lambrook ticks a lot of boxes for this new generation of modern royals. Headmaster Mr Perry, closely supported by wife Jenny, promises to give pupils ‘feathers to fly’; they’re very hands-on and will no doubt be working closely with all the newbie parents, including William and Kate, as they settle in. Childhood is alive and well at Lambrook, whose lucky pupils spend much of their day frolicking in the school’s 52 acres – not quite the 5000 that surround Adelaide Cottage, the Cambridge's new family home on the Windsor Castle estate, but jolly nice nonetheless.
Though the surroundings are elegant – Farrow-and-Ball to a tee, really – Lambrook is a socially conscious school, something that we imagine will have appealed to the Cambridges. Mr Perry wants to widen access to the school by creating more bursaries, and pupils regularly give up their time for fundraising; mums and dads are discouraged from just getting out the cheque book. Given William and Kate’s charitable commitments, the children are no strangers to volunteering: George once delivered meals to the elderly and vulnerable in the pouring Norfolk rain.
Indeed, they love the outdoors, those Cambridges, and George, Charlotte and Louis will find plenty of opportunities to run around at their new school, whatever the weather. Grandpa Wales, will be pleased about the focus on ecology: children help look after the orchard, chickens and beehives, and there are bunnies to stroke too. There’s sport, of course: loads of it. The Duke will face his first test as a Lambrook dad early in the term, when their footballers are due to play his alma mater, Ludgrove: either a wonderful coincidence or someone’s had fun with the fixture list.
As future Supreme Governor of the Church of England, George getting at least a rudimentary religious education will have been a factor. Pupils hooted with laughter in the lively Religious Studies lesson that we dropped into. All children sit in the pretty chapel for their assemblies (regardless of faith), but Saturday morning’s service is the sociable one, we hear, when London and local parents descend and join in the hymns with gusto. The chapel choir’s brilliant – they’ve actually sung at Windsor Castle, so perhaps William and Kate know that firsthand.
The royals are fans of music, and Lambrook’s aptly named Diamond Jubilee Performing Arts Centre will provide George, Charlotte and Louis lots of opportunities to cultivate their own talents. The school gives 420 individual instrumental lessons every week. Will the children take after Kate, who holds grade 3 in piano? There's even the opportunity to learn the bagpipes, a great party trick for rowdy Christmas lunches at Balmoral.
Exhausted by all that noise and fresh air, they could find sanctuary in the beautiful, high-ceilinged art room. Mum, dad and uncle Harry all did art A level, after all (getting A, B and B respectively, since you asked). Textiles, pottery, painting all on offer. Will Louis’ work will feature in next year’s pre-prep summer exhibition? This term’s featured a 3D aquarium and brightly painted seashells: no pressure, little chap.
And then, what next? Overwhelmingly it’s off in the 4x4 to a boarding school you’ve heard of. Marlborough? Naturally. Eton? Bien sûr. But perhaps Kate and William will be looking further than their parents did, perhaps to Wellington, Bradfield or Charterhouse, all the rage for the growing number of Lambrook parents who want the kids at home for Sunday lunch. The speculation has already started, of course: watch this space.
Get instant access to more than 1,300 school reviews
Our impartial, candid school reviews have been helping parents make educational decisions for more than 35 years. To see what we have to say about the schools, including Lambrook School, which interest your family, you can order one of our books from the shop or alternatively, subscribe online now to get instant access.