“There’s a Lot of Tension” Between Prince William and Princess Kate Over Whether to Send Prince George to Eton

The couple has reportedly argued about the decision for years—and one parent seems to have finally won out.

Prince William and Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Earlier this year, Marie Claire reported that the Prince and Princess of Wales were in a “bit of an argument” over eldest son Prince George’s role in his grandfather King Charles’ Coronation—although, for this “argument,” it seems William and Kate were on the same side. Both were concerned that George’s role as a Page of Honor might put him under too much pressure, but, ultimately, as we saw on May 6, the Palace won out, and George seemed to handle everything seamlessly.

Prince George ahead of his 10th birthday on July 22, 2023

(Image credit: Getty)

Much ado has been made of late about George’s potential future at Eton, the school where both his father William and his uncle Prince Harry attended; both William and Harry boarded at Eton, which educates boys ages 13 to 18. (George will turn 13 on July 22, 2026, and, if admitted, would likely start at Eton that fall.) Early in the summer, William, Kate, and George were seen visiting the exclusive boarding school, signaling that Eton was likely in George’s future. Though George won’t begin at Eton until fall 2026, boys who plan to attend the school must register by June 30 of the school year that they turn 10, which was this past summer. (George turned 10 on July 22.) Eton isn’t far from Adelaide Cottage in Windsor, where George lives with his parents and his younger siblings Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

George will sit for entrance exams to Eton next month, coincidentally the same week that William will be in Singapore for his third annual Earthshot Prize Awards. Driving home the importance of these exams for George’s educational future, Kate has opted to forgo traveling to Singapore with her husband in favor of being there for her eldest son as he takes the exams, marking the first time she will miss the Earthshot Prize Awards since the awards ceremony’s inception in 2021.

Prince William and Kate Middleton at the Earthshot Prize Awards

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Prince William and Kate Middleton at the Earthshot Prize Awards

(Image credit: Getty Images)

OK reports that there is another disagreement brewing over George, but this time about Eton, and this time, William and Kate don’t appear to be on the same side. The outlet reports that “there’s a lot of tension” surrounding the decision to board George, and that Kate is “dead set against it.”

“Kate thinks sending him to such a stuffy, upper-crust institution goes against all of their efforts to modernize the monarchy,” a source said. “Plus, she’ll miss George desperately.”

Although the couple “argued about it for years,” they said, “he [William] has finally won.”

It seems like George himself played a role in the decision as well, as they said “he wants to be just like his father,” who, of course, attended Eton. Though Kate “finally gave in, she’s still heartbroken” over sending George off in three years’ time.

Prince George

(Image credit: Getty)

“She was horribly bullied at her first boarding school and can’t bear the thought of George suffering through that,” they said.

The good news, of course, is that Eton is just 10 minutes away from Adelaide Cottage, and though “it’s boarding only,” they said, it’s still “close enough that George would be able to come home on weekends.” (William, while at Eton, used to visit Queen Elizabeth for tea because she was so close by while at Windsor Castle.)

And, in addition to Kate apparently feeling that “her family is being torn apart,” she is also concerned about Charlotte and Louis boarding in the future, as well: “There’s also the worry that William will insist the other two kids be shipped out next,” they said (that’s a bit of a dramatic way to put it, but the sentiment remains). “Kate knows this is all part of her ‘royal duty,’ but there’s a lot of tension between her and her husband right now.”

Prince William and Kate Middleton at an engagement together

(Image credit: Getty Images)

William and Kate have all but completely rewritten the rulebook on royal parenting, an echo, in large part, of Kate’s own upbringing by her parents, Michael and Carole Middleton. “Kate has very much charted her own course in some respects, [but] she’s an outsider,” royal expert Dr. Tessa Dunlop said. “She’s an incredibly successful import into the royal family and bought into the institution of monarchy, almost like no other outsider has, and reaffirmed its sort of conventional parameters.”

Eton is an all-boys boarding school that is home to 1,350 pupils and costs $20,000 per term (and there are three terms per year). There is also a $500 registration fee. William was the first senior royal to attend Eton, enrolling at age 13 in 1995; prior to William breaking the mold, most boys in the royal family attended Gordonstoun in Scotland. William’s mother Princess Diana’s father and brother both attended Eton, and William’s experience was incredibly positive there: “He forged a series of close friendships that endure to this day and, like his father’s more grueling experience in Scotland, it instilled in him a resilience that has served him well,” writes royal expert Richard Kay. “Eton also gave William a taste for independence and privacy that is difficult to find for young royals, whose lives are so often under the spotlight.”

Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis together

(Image credit: Getty)

George, Charlotte, and Louis all currently attend Lambrook School, where they are day pupils, returning home to Adelaide Cottage at the end of each school day.

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.