Back to school for royal princesses

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THE holidays are over for Leonor de Borbon, Princess of Asturias, and her sister the Infanta Sofia, who are due back at school in Madrid on Friday (September 11).

The school King Felipe and Queen Letizia chose for their daughters, Santa Maria de Los Rosales, is maintaining its tradition of starting the new academic year on the second Friday in September and the two young princesses are expected to join their classmates as usual.

The royal family has, however, decided there will be no official photo session to avoid creating extra disruption on an already chaotic first school day.

Princess Leonor, who will be 10 in October, is starting off on a new stage of her education as she will be in primary year five, which at Santa Maria de Los Rosales means moving into the ‘big kids’ building,’ while Infanta Sofia will remain in the building that houses the younger children and start year three.

Although the princesses’ reports and grades are a state secret, both girls are reportedly doing reasonably well at school and while Infanta Sofia has apparently shone in computer and new technologies studies, her older sister Princess Leonor is more attracted to language and maths. As she is a little shy, Queen Letizia is rumoured to have asked her teachers to encourage her to make presentations in front of her classmates to get her used to speaking in public. Although still young, the heir to the throne may be required to give her first public speech at an early age, as happened to her father King Felipe who gave his aged just 13.

The princesses’ school, along with traditional academic subjects, places special emphasis on drama, sports and languages. Along with obligatory French and English lessons, year five pupils are encouraged to learn German or Chinese as a third foreign language.

English in particular, it has been said, is not a problem for the princesses, who stand out above their classmates in the language, quite possibly helped by the fact that their father King Felipe and grandmother former Queen Sofia often speak to them in English and one of their nannies is believed to be British.

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