HRH The Duchess of Gloucester delighted pupils at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School when she came to visit the school on 6th November. After being formally welcomed to the school by the Headmaster, and presented with a posy by 10-year-old Laura Poole she spotted some Year 7 and 8 boys playing table tennis. The Duchess promptly passed her posy to a stunned player, commandeered his bat and started playing. She impressed the boys with a few nicely timed shots before resuming the more formal part of her visit.

The Duchess visited the School to open extensions to two of the boarding houses. The extensions have increased the accommodation for boarders and day-boarders and include fully-equipped computer rooms where pupils can do their homework. There is also more room for table tennis, pool tables and other games that pupils enjoy when they are relaxing after school.

The Royal Alexandra and Albert School has enjoyed royal patronage since 1850. Headmaster, Paul Spencer Ellis said 'The Duchess has been a keen supporter of the School for over 32 years. She has a natural affinity for the children in the School and they really enjoy her visits. We are thrilled that she has taken the time to visit us as we approach our 250th anniversary.'

After the opening ceremony, the Duchess had tea in the Ballroom of Gatton Hall and was entertained by members of the School choir. As she came out after tea, children from the Junior school cheered and waved flags. She spent some time talking to them before departing, having spent over an hour longer than planned at the school.

Children wait to meet the Duchess
Meeting children from the Junior Department   Laura Poole with a posy for the Duchess
With Head Boy, Siddharth Joshi and Head Girls,
Rowan Slaney and Robyn Newby
Laura Poole presents a posy to The Duchess   With the Headmaster
Meeting Prefects
Meeting the Senior Leadership Team
Meeting music teacher Mr J Bryant and musicians
Playing table tennis
Meeting dancers in Elizabeth House
The Duchess meets The Mayor, Cllr D Ross-Tomlin and
the Chair of Governors, Mrs J Keegan
Unveiling the plaque in Elizabeth House