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It seems barely a heartbeat ago that Prince Louis was a babe in arms.
Who can forget the lovely image of his parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, proudly introducing him to the world on the steps of St Mary’s Hospital, London?
But with the young royal now the grand old age of two years and eight months, 2021 heralds a big change to his daily routine – attending nursery school.
In celebration of Louis’ potential big year ahead, here’s a round-up of royals taking their first steps into the world outside the palace walls – a world where new playmates and fresh adventures await…
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Louis’ older siblings Prince George, seven and Princess Charlotte, five, were a similar age when they took the big step away from the safety and security of nanny Maria Borrallo and their doting parents.
While George attended the Westacre Montessori School in Norfolk, because the Cambridges were still living at Anmer Hall full time, Louis is expected to enrol at his sister’s old stomping ground Willcocks Nursery School, either for the morning or the afternoon.
It’s a stone’s throw from the family’s main residence at Kensington Palace and has an ethos for “high standards, excellence and good manners”.
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The school’s motto is: "To be happy: to play, to learn, to share, to care and to be ourselves. There’s plenty of time for play, but the young pupils also get introduced to basic reading, writing and simple numbers."
Historically, the royals were taught at home during the early years of their education, starting at nursery age with a governess.
Prince Charles had lessons at Buckingham Palace with Catherine Peebles, who he sweetly called Mispy.
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An insider has said: "It’s too far gone between them now. A judge will have to decide."
But Diana, Princess of Wales, reportedly broke the trend, wishing her sons to have a more “normal” upbringing and meet other children their age.
What Louis will make of it all will be interesting, but as the youngest of three, he has certainly got used to learning how to share and how to get his voice heard.
He’s an affectionate child, too, according to Kate, who said back in July: “Louis doesn’t understand social distancing. So he goes out wanting to cuddle everything – particularly any babies younger than him.”
He’s also very attached to his mum, with the duchess revealing, “He wants to come everywhere with me!”
A big fan of diggers – and getting messy with paints, if his official birthday portraits are anything to go by – the fifth in line to the throne is a livewire and contributes to the “hectic” nature of home life, says Kate.
In fact, during lockdown, he’d often bring the family’s Zoom chats to a halt by pressing “the red button” and cutting the calls off!
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