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Curtsies and Calculus? This British High School Trains Young Royalty From Around the World

UWC Atlantic College has become popular with some of the world’s most elite families.

The grounds of UWC Atlantic College Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

It may not be as famous as Prince Harry and William’s school Eton College, but UWC Atlantic College is educating many of the world’s future rulers.

Located on the South Wales coastline, the decidedly posh high school recently graduated a Dutch princess and the heir to the Spanish throne, The New York Times reported on Monday. Belgium’s future queen graduated in 2021, and more royals are likely to follow.

Set within a castle once owned by William Randolph Hearst, Atlantic College has become popular with some of the world’s most elite families, thanks to its focus on responsibility, internationalism, and democracy. (The school was founded at the height of the Cold War, and those were thought to be essential qualities to avoiding another world war.) On its website, the school emphasizes its aim “to bring together young people from around the world to help create an atmosphere for peaceful coexistence between cultures and nations.”

The school's library
The school’s library Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

To that end, the school enrolls a number of less privileged students alongside the upper crust, including victims of war and refugees. Many receive financial aid, including full scholarships, to cover the $82,000 tuition for two years of international baccalaureate studies. Tori Cadogan, the education editor of Tatler, told the Times that this “deliberate diversity” and focus on world peace is a large part of what makes the school so appealing to prospective students and their families.

While Atlantic College remains quiet about most issues (the school didn’t respond to The New York Times’ requests for comment, and it seems to mostly avoid speaking with the press), hints of what goes on behind the castle walls have come to light. The website details how classes take place from just 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., with afternoons left unscheduled for community service, kayaking, archery, and other activities. Cellphone service is reportedly terrible, and excessive displays of wealth are banned, meaning no designer clothes or splashy Rolexes.

In a 2018 column for The Sunday Times, Louise Callaghan, a former Atlantic College student, compared the school to “a hippie Hogwarts.” Thankfully, it leaves the performative sorting out of the equation.

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