Infanta Sofía of Spain appeared excited to start the new school year as she toured the grounds of Hippie Hogwarts in photographs released yesterday.
The school is often referred to as ‘Hippie Hogwarts’ thanks to its progressive approach to education and picturesque castle setting.
In snaps released yesterday by the palace, Sofía grinned as she walked through the grounds of the school in her casual checked shirt, black crop top and relaxed trousers.
Sofía will follow in her sister’s footsteps by attending the Welsh school, as Princess Leonor graduated with the International Baccalaureate from the UWC Atlantic College in May.
Photographs released earlier in the day showed Sofía smiling as she wheeled her sage-coloured suitcase out to the car, as her parents, Queen Letizia, 50, and Felipe VI of Spain, 55, watched on.
The King and Queen beamed as they posed with their daughter, who was sat on the boot of the vehicle.
Queen Letizia donned a blue blazer with white trousers and an ivory top, also wearing sporty trainers. Whereas the King looked dapper, wearing a striped blazer, blue shirt, navy trousers and trainers.
UWC Atlantic College, which was founded in German educationalist Kurt Hahn, is situated at the 12th century St Donat’s Castle on the country’s south coast.
With school fees for a two year course costing a whopping £67,000, courses on offer include Tai Chi, the theory of knowledge and Tibetan literature. R
Former royal butler Grant Harrold told FEMAIL European royals could be attracted to the school because of it’s down-to-earth and modern approach to teaching.
He explained: ‘Perhaps the Royals that frequent the UWC Atlantic College feel it is out of the spotlight so they can lead as normal an education as possible, or perhaps it is because of the modern thinking that the College portrays, rather that the old traditions which these Royals may be shying away from.’
Founded in 1962 by German educationalist Kurt Hahn, he believed his approach to education, for pupils aged 16-19, could lead to a quicker resolution of international conflict, an ethos that is still carried by the establishment which aims to ‘promote mutual understanding’.
The United World College Movement includes 18 schools around the world, the website said, and takes students from around 150 countries.
The school counts The Queen and Queen Noor of Jordan as its current co-presidents and encourages international cooperation from students of all background.
It has also seen a growing list of international royals sitting on the benches of St Donat’s Castle over the years.
King Willem-Alexander, the King of the Netherlands, studied at the College from 1983 to 1985 and graduated with an International Baccalaureate before undertaking his military service and moving on to study History at Leiden University from 1987 onwards.
Princess Elisabeth of Belgium, 19, the daughter of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, enrolled in 2018 but had to cut her time at the college short due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and continued her studies online from home.
Meanwhile Princess Raiyah of Jordan, the daughter of King Hussein of Jordan and Queen Noor also attended her institution as a teen before studying Japanese as an undergraduate at The University of Edinburgh.
In 2018, The Times reported that pupils were discouraged from showcasing their wealth with expensive gadgets, and were as likely to rub shoulders with ‘refugees from west Africa’ and ‘California hippies.’
Former student Louise Callaghan previously revealed how Princess Elisabeth of Belgium would to be ‘the most normal person there’ and won’t get any ‘special treatment’ despite her royal credentials.
The will also need to acclimatise to ‘damp clothes’ courtesy of the famously wet Welsh weather.
Education at the school is played out in a magical place – a 12th century Castle by the sea – with its own seafront, woodland, farmland and valley.
Atlantic College is located near the town of Llantwit Major on the South Wales coast, overlooking the Bristol Channel. The castle has been continuously inhabited since it was first built.
The extensive grounds also include the 12th-century St Donat’s Church and the historic terraced gardens, as well as preserved woodland, farmland and Heritage Coastline.
St Donat’s Castle is the main building of the College, housing the Tudor Great Hall, the Gothic Dining Hall, the Bradenstoke Hall used for assemblies and performances and an extensive 25,000-book Library.
Students at the school stay in eight purpose-built boarding houses, which accommodate approximately 48 students each.
The modern accommodation houses are named after either ancient Welsh kingdoms or benefactors to the college: Pentti Kouri, Morgannwg, Powys, Whitaker, Gwynedd, Tice and Sunley.
Male and female pupils are located on separate corridors, with four students from the same year group, each of a different nationality, sharing a room.
While staying at the school, the teenagers are under the ‘care of houseparents’ who, according to the website, live in ‘adjacent homes’ and ‘spend a great deal of time interacting and supporting the students.’
Meanwhile staff offices, student common areas, and certain academic departments such as History, Economics and Theory of Knowledge are also located in the main castle.
Unlike a conventional full school day of teaching, lessons at UWC begin at 8am and are finished in time for lunch.
The two-year Diploma Programme has two parts: the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) curriculum, and a programme of experiential learning that focuses on key aspects of ‘peace, a sustainable future, and student initiative’.
Core basics at the school include Biology, Chemistry, Economics, English Literature, Geography, History, Mathematics and Physics.
Meanwhile there are also a wide selection of optional courses to choose from, including Design Tech, Visual Arts, Film studies, Music and Global Politics among others.
Alongside their academics, pupils are expected to undertake a minimum of two hours of community service, two hours of physical activity and a further two hours of creative activity each week. Sessions take place in the afternoons, evenings and weekends.
This comes as the King and Queen’s eldest daughter, Princess Leonor, 17, left to go to military academy earlier this month.
The heir to the Spanish throne must complete the three years in line with tradition as she follows the path of her father, King Felipe.
Rather like a boarding school, General Military Academy of Zaragoza follows a strict timetable during the week. but Leonor will be free to return home at the weekeneds if she’s not on manouevres.
After training at the General Military Academy in Zaragoza, which is Spain’s equivalent to Sandhurst, she will go to naval school, and will complete her three years at the General Air Academy.
The princess, who will be 18 in October, revealed her enthusiasm for soon being a cadet at the Princesa de Girona Foundation award ceremony in Girona, in Catalonia, on July 5.
She said: ‘I have just finished high school and I am about to start a new stage with a period of military training.
‘I am happy because I know how much the Spanish value our armed forces… it is an important moment in my life and I feel very excited and determined to continue learning and giving my best effort.’