Princess Eléonore (12), third child of the King and Queen, will move up to secondary school next week but not at the prestigious Saint-Jan Berchmans College in central Brussels where she has been a pupil throughout primary school.
Instead, the princess will have to move to a new school, because her family lives too far from the college.
Because of demand for school places, Sint-Jan Berchmans operates a system of criteria for new entrants. Address is one of those: children whose families live close to the school are given priority, as are those who have an older sibling at the school.
Princess Eléonore in unfortunate on both counts. Her family lives in Laeken, six kilometres away from the school. And her siblings are no longer students at the Dutch-speaking college.
Elder sister and princess royal Elisabeth has now graduated from Anglesey College, the boarding school in Wales she attended since 2018, and is now enrolled in the military academy in Brussels.
And her older brother Gabriel left Sint-Jan Berchmans last year to switch to the International School of Brussels in Watermael-Boitsfort.
But the rules are the same for everyone, regardless of who the student’s father is, and Eléonore will now attend the Sacred Heart College in Wezembeek-Oppem, another Dutch-speaking alternative, which despite being 18km from her home, has a vacancy for the princess and also several of her friends from primary school.
The change brings to an end a tradition of more than quarter of a century of royal children attending Sint-Jan Berchmans, which began with Prince Amadeo, eldest child of Princess Astrid, now aged 34.