03:18PM, Friday 28 November 2014
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh opened Holyport College today.
Classes at the Ascot Road free-school started in September, but the visit was arranged to give Holyport College a formal opening.
Her Majesty arrived at the site at 11am this morning. Dressed in a pale pink tweed dress designed by Karl Ludwig Rehse, with a matching hat by Angela Kelly and sporting black gloves, she stepped out of the car to greet headteacher Walter Boyle.
She was then introduced to borough councillors and the MP for Windsor and Maidenhead, Theresa May.
Once inside the state boarding school’s main building she shook hands with Sir Nicholas Winton, telling the 105-year-old ‘British Schindler’: “Good to meet you again.”
Belfast-born Mr Boyle then guided the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh through a geography class.
There 11-year-old Joshua Jacques explained that the pupils were learning map reading skills.
The Queen seemed impressed at the year nine’s grasp of six figure co-ordinates and said: “Nowadays you probably all have sat-navs or something.”
The Royal Couple then took in a maths class and a brief musical performance before using the elevator to move upstairs to the boarding accommodation.
As he left the elevator, Prince Philip joked: “How did you manage to get an antique lift into the building?”
Elizabeth II then briefly chatted with some of the boys, telling them that has boarders they have ‘no excuse to be late for school’.
She then spoke with four lucky girls inside their dorm room for a couple of minutes.
After meeting pupils from Holyport’s partner school, Eton College, the delegation spoke with catering and cleaning staff, before visiting a year nine science lesson.
This was followed by a gymnastics demonstration in the sports hall.
Headteacher Mr Boyle thanked parents, pupils, school founders and the royal guests for attending
He told pupils: “This school was created to give you the best chance. Seize that opportunity that you’ve been given by being part of a such wonderful school community.”
The Queen then unveiled a plaque and signed the visitors book to a round of applause from the audience.
She then asked whose pen she was using. A man in the audience responded that it was his, and asked if it was working.
“Sort of, yes,” she replied cheerfully.
The visit finished with year nine border Elizabeth Makinde presenting the Queen with flowers. She was picked out for the duty as she is a school role model.
‘Proud’ Elizabeth, who comes from London, said:”It was quite nerve-racking but to do it was a great honour.”
Mr Boyle revealed later that The Queen and Duke spent more time than planned at the school.
Mr Boyle said: “It was an excellent day. I’ve been told by the place security that the Queen and Duke stayed here 15 minutes longer than they arranged. They tell me that’s a sign that they’ve enjoyed their visit.
The headteacher added that he was thrilled to see both the Queen and Duke taking time to speak with pupils and leave them with life-long memories.
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