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CoronavirusThe Wessexes

Earl of Wessex visits school opened by his late father


The Earl of Wessex carried out a number of engagements over the past week, ranging from thanking COVID-19 vaccination centre volunteers to meeting young people taking part in The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

Perhaps the most poignant engagement was Edward’s visit to Christ’s College and Pond Meadow schools in Guildford, Surrey, which was officially opened by his late father, Prince Philip, in 2009.

During his visit, staff members shared memories of Prince Philip: “When the Duke of Edinburgh visited there was, of course, lots of organisation and plans for the visit, but the Duke managed to find a closed door and found students who weren’t expecting to meet him that day!”

“They loved how he interacted with them and especially how interested he was in them,” said Lesley Sandiford, the Assistant Principal, to reporters following Prince Edward’s visit.

The head of the art department, Chrissie Thompson, shared: “We are a small school, and we felt very privileged and lucky that the Duke of Edinburgh came to open Christ’s College and spent such a lot of time with students, engaging with them and showing genuine interest in what they were doing.”

Edward watched a short performance of ‘Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat’ in The Duke of Edinburgh Theatre, then met with Year 9 students who are about to begin their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

“The students were really pleased to speak to the earl, reflecting on their experience of the pandemic and school life as well as their Duke of Edinburgh activities and what the Award has meant to them in the past year,” said Sarah Hatch, the school’s principal.

The Earl of Wessex also visited the Kingfisher Farm Shop in Abinger Hammer ahead of Surrey Day, meeting with the family behind the farm who have been serving their community throughout the coronavirus lockdowns.

During his visit, he helped harvest watercress with the family and representatives from Chalk Hills Bakery and the Abinger Cookery School. Local Food Britain, a culinary group that helped organise Edward’s visit, wrote on their Instagram account, “We were delighted to be able to present The Earl with a hamper full of local goodies in celebration of Surrey Day.”

Finally, on Thursday, Edward visited a COVID-19 vaccination centre in Windsor, where he thanked the volunteers and key workers who have been administering vaccines, and meet with members of the public who were there to get vaccinated.

The vaccination centre was set up at the Royal Windsor Racecourse and has been operational since December.

About author

Jess is the Senior Royal Reporter and Editorial Assistant at Royal Central. Her interest in royalty started in her teenage years, coinciding with The Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 and grew from there. She specializes in the British Royal Family (with emphasis on the Cambridges) and the Danish Royal Family, and has provided royal commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the UK and Australia.