The Castle Where Future Queens Drop the Royal Act

The rolling inexperienced lawns of a Twelfth-century fort perched on a windy stretch of south Wales shoreline normally dotted with sheep hosted not one however two kings of Europe final weekend.

The objective of the go to to St. Donat’s by the royal households of Spain and the Netherlands was the commencement of their daughters from UWC Atlantic College, a highschool housed in a distant fort as soon as owned by the newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst.

Under unusually brilliant blue skies on Saturday, Princess Alexia of the Netherlands, 17, smiled in a white linen trouser swimsuit flanked by her dad and mom, Queen Maxima and King Willem-Alexander (a former Atlantic College scholar himself) in {a photograph} posted on Instagram.

Princess Leonor of Asturias, who can be 17 and the inheritor to the Spanish throne, wore a scarlet crimson button down blazer costume with break up sleeves as she posed for selfies along with her dad and mom and youthful sister Princess Sofia, who’s set to start there in September.

The scene was a mirrored image of how Atlantic College, which is a part of the United World Colleges group, has develop into the college of alternative for a lot of younger royals. It more and more attracts college students who might have as soon as gone to better-known locations like Eton College in the shadow of Windsor Castle or Institut Le Rosey on the fringe of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, thought of the most expensive boarding school in the world.

Other latest alumni of the college, which educates college students for his or her ultimate two years of highschool, embody Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant, who’s Belgium’s future queen. She graduated in 2021 and went on to review at Oxford.

The British press has pondered whether or not the British royal household might break with custom and ship its personal younger heirs to a faculty that has lately educated a number of future queens of Europe.

Although UWC might have extra of an up to date environment and curriculum than its extra conventional counterparts, it does seem to subscribe to not less than one very previous — and really royal — conference: the artwork of being tight-lipped. The college didn’t reply to quite a few requests for remark for this text, and appears to principally keep away from talking to reporters.

Tori Cadogan, the training editor of the British society journal Tatler, stated that the enchantment of Atlantic College has largely to do with an optimistic ideology rooted in “deliberate diversity” and world peace. The college enrolls loads of kids of royalty and different rich households, however there are additionally a big variety of much less privileged college students.

Tuition is pricey: about $82,000 for the two-year worldwide baccalaureate program.

Many college students obtain monetary support, nevertheless, together with a big cohort who’re victims of battle or refugees on full scholarships. Their functions go to the U.W.C. nationwide committee, which then assigns the college students to Atlantic College campuses round the world, maybe in Thailand, Costa Rica, Norway or the United States.

Last week, the Dutch royal household introduced that Princess Ariane of the Netherlands, the third and youngest daughter of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima, would attend the United World College Adriatic close to Trieste, Italy.

Atlantic College opened in 1962 — the top of the Cold War — and the thought to make a various scholar physique a precedence got here from Kurt Hahn (who based Gordonstoun, King Charles’s alma mater). He determined a brand new type of educating, which emphasizes accountability, internationalism and democracy, was wanted to keep away from one other world battle.

A statement on the school’s website says the mission of the college is “to bring together young people from around the world to help create an atmosphere for peaceful coexistence between cultures and nations.”

What, then, does a teenage princess do along with her days at Atlantic? According to the “A Day in the Life” section of the college web site, lessons run from 8 a.m. to only after 1 p.m., with afternoons left open for neighborhood service at native hospitals and faculties, in addition to actions like kayaking, archery, planting in the greenhouse or engaged on the college farm, and even serving on the college’s personal lifeboat service. (According to the BBC, the extensively used Rigid Inflatable Lifeboat was invented by students at the school in the early Sixties.)

Cellphone reception is claimed to be ghastly (prone to the delight of lecturers and oldsters). “E.D.W.s” (extreme shows of wealth) are banned, which suggests no costly watches or designer gear.

Louise Callaghan, a former scholar who’s the Middle East correspondent for the Sunday Times, wrote a column in 2018 about her time at the college. She stated it compelled many college students to “get very used to being around, and getting along with, people who are nothing like you.”

These included, she wrote, “refugees from West Africa, Brits from across the social spectrum, California hippies, religious Malaysians.” Learning how one can work together with such a various group, she stated, “is a useful life skill — one, I imagine, you do not gain at a normal private school.”

She additionally had a extra lighthearted tackle her time there. Atlantic College, she wrote, was just a little like “a hippie Hogwarts.”

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