Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice visited Charles Read Academy in Corby Glen on Wednesday and took a tour which included a spot of ping-pong, a chat with an Olympic athlete and a history lesson on the Royal Family.
The sixth in line to the throne was greeted by crowds of cheering children and staff from the Academy, as well as other nearby schools who had come especially for the occasion.
Speaking exclusively to the Journal, Princess Beatrice said: “It is great to come to the Academy and see some of the excellent work that they do. I think the Academy system has had a really positive impact on children’s education.”
The Queen’s grand-daughter was accompanied by David Ross, head of the David Ross Education Trust which sponsors several academies including Charles Read, and said: “This is a day the kids will remember for a long time.”
After taking time to chat to many of the excited youngsters, the Princess was taken on a tour of the school starting with a display of some of the children’s artwork.
Her Royal Highness then moved on to the sports hall where she displayed a talent for ping-pong, before meeting Olympic 200m runner Christian Malcolm who was also visiting the Academy to give an athletics masterclass to pupils.
Back inside the Princess visited the recently created library and gave advice to children on their reading, and she was also able to help students in another classroom working on a topic she knows a little bit about - the Royal Family.
The penultimate stop on the tour was a greenhouse complete with red carpet, set up by the school for pupils to grow their own produce and plants, a selection of which were presented as a gift to the Princess.
A Royal greeting was also enjoyed by the Academy’s furry residents, with the Princess petting a large grey rabbit called Graham and a couple of guinea pigs.
The visit concluded with an assembly during which acting Principal Robert Sloan and David Ross thanked Her Royal Highness for her time and interest in the Academy, before the Princess added her own thanks and unveiled a plaque officially marking the day.
Mr Sloan added: “One of the great things that we’ve been celebrating today is the number of talented students that we’ve got here.”
Also focusing on the pupils in her speech, Princess Beatrice said: “I have met so many of you and I am so thrilled that this great school can be here for you to write and learn and care for your animals and play your music.
“As somebody that went through school and struggled with my reading and struggled to find my way I am so thankful that there are places like this in the community where you can have your solid base.”