May 20 2011 By Siba Matti
Royal Visit Northwood Prep
CENTENARY celebrations at a Moor Park school were given the royal seal of approval, with two very special guests in attendance.
TRH The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester visited Northwood Prep School to officially open the Centenary Trail, which snakes through cricket and rugby fields on the historic 13-acre site, in Sandy Lodge Road.
Lying beneath the fields are the architectural remains of The Manor of the More, an ancient manor which can be traced back to the eighth century.
The school, an English Heritage monument, has a long history of royal associations, with links to the Tudor dynasty. It was once home to Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of King Henry VIII, in 1531, and was also Cardinal Wolsey's principle palace.
During their visit last Wednesday (18), the royal couple also unveiled a commemorative plaque and were among 550 guests watching pupils re-enacting the Treaty of the Moor, which took place on the site in 1525. The peace treaty ceased the long running war between England and France.
School headmaster, Dr Trevor Lee, said: "The atmosphere was charged with electricity when the Duke and Duchess arrived, having made their way from Kensington Palace, and there was real excitement in the air.
"I had the pleasure of spending just over an hour with the Duke and he was enamoured with the school, showing great interest in the children and the work that was going on.
"The event was the climax of a wonderful year of activities to mark our 100th birthday, and the Duke and Duchess' visit stitched it all together.
"They were very pleased to be here and we were delighted they spent so much time with us, a lot more than we expected.
"They were both full of poise, grace and dignity, everything we want our pupils to achieve.
"The Centenary Trail opening highlights our strong links with the past, but just as the Manor accommodated changing times, the school is constantly adapting, and we are looking ahead to the educational challenges of the next 100 years."