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UWC Atlantic College – Inside the exclusive school in Wales loved by European royals

Atlantic College is an independent boarding school with a famous roster

princess leonor uwc college
Gemma Strong
Gemma StrongOnline Digital News Director
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In a little corner of southern Wales there lies a boarding school quite unlike any other.

UWC College in the Vale of Glamorgan, founded in 1962, has become the go-to institution for European royals when it comes to their educating their children.

While there are only 350 students enrolled at the school, its roster is incredibly impressive. Among the pupils currently studying there are both Princess Leonor of Spain and Princess Alexia of the Netherlands.

It's a big change for Leonor and Alexia, who have left their family home for the first significant period of time. And it's now been confirmed that Leonor's younger sister, Princess Sofia, will be joining her later this year.

See some of Leonor's best sister moments with Princess Sofia here...

Other former alumni include Belgian Princess Elisabeth, Princess Raiyah bint Hussein of Jordan and Alexia's father, King Willem-Alexander, who attended from 1983 until 1985.

But why is UWC Atlantic so popular amongst Europe's royals? HELLO! takes a closer look…

princess leonor airport uwc college© Photo: Getty Images

Princess Leonor says goodbye to her parents as she heads off to UWC Atlantic

First and foremost, it offers an International Baccalaureate diploma, a two-year educational programme primarily aimed at 16-to-19-year-olds in 140 countries around the world.

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It is part of an ideological program to promote cooperation around the world, with pupils encouraged to think about internationalism and the class divide.

princess alexia© Photo: Getty Images

Princess Alexia, pictured with her mother, is also among the 350 students

Given their royal roles, it's a fitting choice for Alexia and Leonor with a focus on wider issues around the world and the idea of togetherness

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Classes are said to end at around 1pm giving the pupils the opportunity to spend the rest of the day enjoying a range of extracurricular activities, from Tai-Chi and Zumba to gardening, archery, knitting and leadership.

uwc college aerial view© Photo: Getty Images

The college has been described before as a 'hippy Hogwarts'

It has, in the past, been dubbed a 'hippie Hogwarts' – in no small part thanks to its ancient castle setting, combined with its eclectic course offerings.

Louise Callaghan, a journalist at The Times, attended the college and has said in the past: "This is no normal British boarding school. There are no matrons or cold baths or housemasters. Instead, there are vegans and houseparents. The aim, broadly, is world peace.

uwc library© Photo: Getty Images

Inside the historic castle where many European royals have studied

"A large proportion of the college's students are on a full scholarship, funded by benefactors from around the world," whereas others are simply "enormously privileged"."The thing about Atlantic College is that it forces you to get very used to being around, and getting along with, people who are nothing like you."

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