Princess Mary pulls son from elite boarding school over culture of abuseJune 28, 2022
Denmark’s Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik have pulled their son out of his prestigious high school after former students came forward alleging abuse and bullying were running rife there.
The royal couple released a statement on Sunday (Danish time) announcing that Prince Christian, 16, had left the Herlufsholm Boarding School, and his sister Princess Isabella would no longer attend as planned.
From left, at the back, Denmark’s Prince Christian with his father Crown Prince Frederik and Australian-born Crown Princess Mary. Front row: Prince Vincent, Princess Isabella, and Princess Josephine in April 2022.Credit:Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix via AP
“We are deeply shaken by the reports that have come out about Herlufsholm recently,” they said. “We have also made it clear that, as parents of a child at the school, we expect that the school will do what it must do to rectify the unacceptable conditions.”
The prestigious boarding school favoured by the country’s elite came under scrutiny in May with the broadcast of a documentary called Herlufsholms Hemmeligheder (Herlufsholm’s Secrets). It detailed allegations of physical violence including corporal punishment and sexual abuse. Former pupils described humiliating experiences and a culture of bullying. Some said older pupils attacked their younger peers at night. Others claimed the school’s leadership turned a blind eye.
The school’s director has since been dismissed and an independent investigation launched. In November, four students were expelled from the campus after allegedly taking part in abuse and filming incidents.
Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark, looks from the stands with her son Prince Christian and husband Crown Prince Frederik at the Euro 2020 in Wembley, London.Credit:Getty
Then, over the weekend, the school’s entire directorate resigned in response to a critical preliminary report from Denmark’s educational authority that threatened to demand the repayment of state funding.
The royal couple cited that report in particular in explaining their decision to remove their children. They noted that, as part of the Danish monarchy, their children’s welfare and schooling had come under intense public scrutiny when allegations emerged against Herlufsholm. That “was completely understandable,” the royal couple said, but added they had sought to make their decision on “an informed basis. We now have that basis”.
Christian, who is not linked to the allegations, joined the school in August 2021 and his younger sister Isabella was due to enter the school at the end of this year.
“It has been a difficult process for us as a family,” the royal couple said. “During the [northern] summer, we, together with our children, will make a decision about their future choice of schools.
“With thoughts about the many students who will continue at Herlufsholm, it is our hope that the school now gets more peace to ensure the necessary changes and succeeds in creating a culture in which all thrive and feel safe.”
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