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The Sussexes

Harry’s surprise visit to a Kent school with a long royal history

Prince Harry has paid a surprise visit to Kent where he toured the Duke of York’s Royal Military School and reviewed its ceremonial parade. Harry’s trip had been kept secret from the 400 or so pupils at the school and many of them got a chance to chat to the prince during the visit.

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Prince Harry arrived at the school, which is in Dover, wearing ceremonial uniform. In bright early autumn sunshine he was given an official welcome before walking onto the parade area to meet some of the hundreds of pupils that he had surprised with this royal visit.

Harry inspected the parade and then took the time to speak to nearly all of the students who were forming the front row.  The next royal duty on this surprise engagement was to present school medals to five pupils.  And then it was time for an informal reception at the Royal Military School which sits in 150 acres of Kent countryside and which welcomes pupils aged between 11 and 18.

The Duke of York’s Royal Military School can trace its history back to 1801 when it was established with the intention of educating the children of military personnel. The foundation stone was laid by Frederick, Duke of York who was the second son of George III and heir to the throne for several years. The original school was in Chelsea but the establishment relocated to Kent in 1908.

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On its website the school, whose patron is the Duke of Kent, says it prides itself on its military ethos and heritage. In 2002 it welcomed the present Duke of York for a royal visit to mark its bicentenary – Prince Andrew presented the school with new military colours on that occasion. And with his surprise trip to Dover this morning, Harry is continuing a long tradition of royal involvement with the Duke of York’s Royal Military School.

Photo credit: UK in Italy via Flickr