Why Prince George's school exams next month will decide his future

Prince George in a suit and red tie
(Samir Hussein)

On Friday, Kensington Palace confirmed that the Prince of Wales will be travelling on his own to Singapore on 7 November as the Princess of Wales stays behind at their Windsor home to "support" their eldest son Prince George, who is taking exams that same week.

The coming months are very important to King Charles' eldest granchild, as at the age of 10 he must take entry exams that will decide his future education and which senior school he will attend when he is 13. The process takes part in three steps, and George will sit two of these next month.

The first exam will see George sit an ISEB test, which is multiple-choice and focuses on verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, maths and English. This exam, which lasts two and a half hours, is normally sat in October or November with the score being standardised and age-adapted. Alongside this, Eton will also request a report from the headteacher of the student's school which will focus on their academic strengths, character and personal interests. The results of this will be published in December.

As George was born in July, he will take the second test in either early April or late May next year. This exam will take place at Eton and will consist of an individual interview and online predictive test of academic ability and potential. The results of this test would be known to the Palace by July 2024. If a student is successful, they will receive a conditional offer and will then have to pass a Common Entrance Exam in year 8.

George's father, William, sat the Common Entrance Exam in 1995 and was accepted into the College in June of that year, with his brother Prince Harry doing the same back in 1998. These days, if given a conditional offer due to year 6 exams, students like George will visit the school again and decide upon a boarding house in year 7, the year before the common entrance test.

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Headmaster of Lambrook greeting Prince George, Princess Kate, Prince Louis, Prince william and Princess Charlotte
George will be preparing for his exams while at Lambrook (Pool)

The Palace typically announces whether a royal has passed the exams fairly quickly, with both William and Harry's acceptance news coming a day after they were informed of the happy news. However, it is policy of Eton to not release the results or individual scores from the entrance exams meaning we won't know how well George has fared, although back in 1998, the Palace said Harry had passed with "flying colours".

On HELLO!'s A Right Royal Podcast, Melanie Sanderson from the Good Schools Guide spoke about the importance of George's exams which are fast approaching. Speaking about what the young royal will face, Melanie revealed that he would be expected to go through the "protocols" even if he ended up failing them.

Prince William and a teenager walking past a security guard
George's father William attended Eton College (Antony Jones)

She said: "He will be asked to go through the protocols with his peers at Lambrook. The ISEB gets harder as you go through, so when you come out of the pretest, if you found it really hard, that's a good thing because it means that you've kind of gone the distance if it's been a bit easy, not such a good sign.

"This part of the royal family, they're too senior to break with tradition," she revealed when quizzed about George's potential options. "Eton has a proven track record on security. They can handle royals, not just British royals, they've got members of royal families from all over the world there and other very high profile families so they can handle it."

Prince Harry writing at a desk
Prince Harry attended Eton alongside his older brother (Pool/Tim Graham Picture Library)

She added: "The family understands the school, which is really important for any family to really know what you're getting into."

Alongside William and Harry, the school also taught their uncle, Charles Spencer, alongside Prince Edward, Prince Michael of Kent and Princess Margaret's grandsons, Arthur and Samuel Chatto.

King Charles, Princess Diana and Prince Harry standing by Prince William as he signs a book
Princess Diana joined William on his first day at Eton (Princess Diana Archive)

Revealing what George will be able to expect should he go to Eton, Madeline said: "Its current headmaster is known to be quite progressive and it's got this brilliant blend of the traditional and the modern.

"What's best about it is that whatever you want to do there, you can do it. It's not just the normal sports, they do literally everything from plain old football to polo, and they've got a huge golf course. You can also do silversmithing, you can sing in any number of choirs, play any instrument from the violin to the bagpipes or the harp. There is nothing that you might want to try as a young person that Eton won't be able to deliver."

Exterior shot of Eton College
Eton has educated numerous royals and other high-profile figures over the years (Maureen McLean/Shutterstock)

She added: "For the royal family, it's the heritage and the tradition and that real melding of traditional values, with the progressive education that we know William and Catherine want for their children.

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"It's also close to home, you can see Windsor Castle from Eton College and it's become much more relaxed about the boarding side of things. It's very common for mums to pop down and meet students for a coffee or a cup of tea on the high street. They're allowed to go home overnight if their house master allows it on a Saturday or Sunday evening."