Starting school is typically an exciting time for kids, but it can be an emotional time for parents. When Princess Charlotte started her first day of school, it seemed to take an emotional toll on Prince William and Kate Middleton.

The 4-year-old began attending Thomas’s Battersea on Thursday, alongside her brother, Prince George, 6. Charlotte appeared to be in great spirits when she arrived at the school holding Kate’s hand, while William held on to George.

Body language expert Judi James told Fabulous Digital that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge appeared to be more anxious about the first day than their children.

“Kate and William’s body language makes them look more like a pair of nervous kids on their first day of term as they walk into the yard wearing brave, but unconvincing smiles that suggest tension tinged with what could be a bit of sadness,” she explained.

Meanwhile, Charlotte used Kate as a shield to deal with nerves that come along with the first day of school. “Charlotte does appear to begin to lag behind shyly, pulling behind Kate’s skirt as they make the walk to the entrance,” the expert said.

“Her way of walking behind Kate as they move across the yard hints at a bit of reluctance although she seems to be playing rather than dragging her heels.”

While Charlotte is more outgoing than Prince George, James noted that the princess was initially apprehensive about her first day.

“The way she lagged behind her mum did suggest shyness at first, but a lot of her body language rituals suggest a kind of slight, superficial shyness that is underpinned by quite high levels of sociability and confidence,” she said.

Despite her reservations, Princess Charlotte eventually began to feel relaxed about her new school.

“She’s still keeping one hand on her mum here as she prepares to meet the head, but her handshake and smile, as the head bends to chat, suggests genuine delight and interest, as well as, making her look amazingly like her great-granny the Queen when she was a child,” James shared.

“She does get a slightly worried-looking glance from her mum, but as the most confident and sociable-looking sibling she then happily steps forward to greet the head and her skips and hair-flicking suggest she’s playful rather than worried,” she continued.

Charlotte’s first day may have been an emotional time for Prince William and Kate, but the princess appeared excited about the moment. Unfortunately, the couple will have to repeat the experience in a few years, when Prince Louis begins school.

Prince William, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Kate Middleton
Prince William, Prince George, Kate Middleton and Princess Charlotte arrive at the Victoria Airport on Sept. 24, 2016 in Victoria, Canada. Getty Images/Chris Jackson