Charlotte all smiles as she sets off for first day at school with George

A picture of a smiling Princess Charlotte has been released to mark the young royal’s first day at school.

The image of Charlotte, aged four, with Prince George was taken at Kensington Palace before she set off with her brother and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for her big day at Thomas’s Battersea.

The princess looks smart in her new school uniform and beams at the camera as she stands next to her six-year-old sibling who has been attending school for the past two years.

The photograph contrasts with Charlotte’s demeanour when she arrived at the school in south London, as she appeared to have first day nerves, hanging onto Kate’s hand.

But proud father William declared his daughter was “very excited” about her first day of school as he dropped her off for the start of a new chapter in her life.

Princess Charlotte
Kate, Charlotte, George and William arrive at the school (Aaron Chown/PA)

The duchess, a keen amateur photographer, normally takes official pictures of her children but she was not named as the photographer, whose identity has not been released.

Kate missed George’s first day in September 2017 as she was suffering with extreme morning sickness while pregnant with Prince Louis.

But she was able to walk her daughter into the fee-paying independent school, giving her some parental reassurance as she passed a milestone in her life.

The young princess had something to make her feel at home: a sparkling pink unicorn key ring that was fixed to her new school satchel carried by her mother.

Princess Charlotte's first day at school
The young princess meets Helen Haslem, head of the lower school (Aaron Chown/PA)

William drove his family to the south London school in a Land Rover Discovery and after parking in an internal car park, the foursome headed to a side entrance where Helen Haslem, head of the lower school, was waiting to greet them.

The duke held George’s hand, while Charlotte grasped her mother’s hand with both of hers and walked close to her as she approached the senior staff member.

Kate smiled and asked: “How are you? Did you have a nice summer?”, and Ms Haslem bent down to shake George’s hand and then Charlotte’s.

William beamed and said: “First day – she’s very excited.”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to share a photograph of Prince George and Princess Charlotte at Kensington Palace this morning.

The photo was taken shortly before Their Royal Highnesses left for Thomas's Battersea ✏️📚🏫 pic.twitter.com/oiMKArFQnd

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) September 5, 2019

Charlotte wore the school’s transitional uniform which spans both summer and winter – a dark dress and cardigan with a blouse, white socks and shoes.

She had her hair in a practical ponytail, which she kept adjusting, fixed with a bow.

William and Kate, like other parents, get a slight reduction in fees for Charlotte’s education this school year as she has a sibling at Thomas’s Battersea – the school charges £19,287 for the first child and £18,915 for the second.

The duke and duchess took Charlotte to her class, where she is one of 21 pupils, to help her settle in and then waved her off for the start of her first day.

Princess Charlotte
The young princess was said to be ‘very excited’ ahead of her first day at Thomas’s Battersea (Aarown Chown/PA)

In his welcome message on the school website, headmaster Simon O’Malley says: “Thomas’s Battersea is a busy, thriving, purposeful school, educating 560 boys and girls between the ages of four and 13.

“As you would expect of any Thomas’s school, the most important school rule is to ‘Be Kind’. We offer a rich and broad curriculum, with art, ballet, drama, ICT, French, music and PE all taught by specialist teachers from a child’s first day in school.”

He added: “We hope that our pupils will leave this school with a strong sense of social responsibility, set on a path to become net contributors to society and to flourish as conscientious and caring citizens of the world.”

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