Formally shaking hands with his immaculately-dressed principal, little Leo looks adorable in his gray English-style felt blazer and tailored shorts. The 4-year-old could be mistaken for the UK’s Prince George, who was photographed in a similar get-up on his first day of school earlier this month.
But pre-kindergartener Leo, who lives near Lincoln Center, is a student at Manhattan’s new Wetherby-Pembridge School — a picturesque institution located within a Beaux Arts mansion on East 96th street (formerly the home of the Manhattan Country Day School).
The price of tuition? A whopping $45,500 a year.
So why in the world would someone pay that much money for what is, essentially, a nursery school and kindergarten? Chalk it up to a few quintessentially English schoolboys: Princes William and Harry — and Harry Potter.
The state-of-the-art facility — which follows a British curriculum and is, as a consequence, one year ahead of American classrooms — has an enviable royal pedigree. Its original London outpost in swanky Notting Hill is the alma mater of both William and Harry.
Head of school Kate Bailey considers it bad form to comment on the connection of Wetherby-Pembridge to one of Europe’s most blue-blooded families. Yet, it’s clearly a draw for some New York parents.
Hell’s Kitchen event organizer Henriette Foster is thrilled that the distinctive insignia on her 6-year-old daughter Caitlin’s uniform is the same one that the princes wore in the late ’80s and early ’90s. “I recognized it from iconic photographs I’ve seen of the boys with their mother, Princess Diana,” she said.
Meanwhile, Leo’s stay-at-home mom, Julia Fominova, the wife of a tech industry CEO, is a bit of a royal fangirl herself.
“I like Prince William and Prince Harry very much and am a big fan of the TV series ‘The Crown’ [about Queen Elizabeth II],” she said.
There’s also the annual Sports Day in Central Park, where parents and children will take part in races and obstacle courses — just like Princess Diana used to do (and win).
And then there’s the Harry Potter factor: “We don’t have a Sorting Hat but we do have houses, namely Braeburn, McIntosh and Russet,” said Bailey. The staff gives out house points for good behavior, academic achievement and kindness toward others. Fashioned to look like apples, the points are awarded in front of the entire school every…