Mar 2010 - Duchess shares school’s 250 year celebration

Wednesday 3rd March marked a very special day for the Royal Alexandra and Albert School as it was the 250th anniversary of the admission of the first pupil to the Orphan Working School (which later became the Royal Alexandra and Albert School).

To mark the occasion, pupils and staff were joined by the School’s President, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester GCVO. The Duchess has shown great commitment to the School and has visited on a number of occasions over the years, most recently in 2007 when she enjoyed a game of table tennis with pupils after opening extensions to two boarding houses.

The Duchess was presented with a posy by 10 year old pupil, Hannah Farnsworth. During the visit the Duchess attended a short service of commemoration in the School’s chapel and watched a dance display by pupils. The Duchess then met a group of current and former Foundationers in the Headmaster’s office before having to leave in order to get back to London for a state banquet.

Also invited to share the celebrations were Old Scholars, including many who attended the School when it was still an orphanage. Their recollections of life at the orphanage, as it then was, were in many cases very positive, and a far cry from the Dickensian tales more commonly associated with orphanages.

Headmaster Paul Spencer Ellis comments “The School is proud of its heritage and the visit from the Duchess of Gloucester is a fitting way to acknowledge the opportunities given to over 20,000 orphans in the last 250 years. Whilst no longer an orphanage, the Royal Alexandra and Albert School which has 800 pupils with 400 boarders, still offers some free boarding places to children with difficult family circumstances.”

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