Princess Anne learns about Prince Philip’s school days

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal viewed archive material relating to her late father’s school days on a visit to Gordonstoun last week.

Gordonstoun Guardian Erin Bell (Head Student) showed The Princess examples of the original Moray Badge which HRH The Prince Philip won at school and which inspired The Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards.

Erin also showed The Princess Royal photographs of The Duke at school and a summary of his school report, as published in an archive copy of the school magazine.
Students Charlotte Barr and John Prendergast, presented The Princess with a book of condolence along with a framed photo of the wreath which was laid at sea by Gordonstoun students on the day of The Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

Charlotte Barr said: ‘We spoke about how I laid the wreath at sea in honour of the passing of HRH Prince Philip, how it was a very touching and special day, and how the weather was just perfect for the memorial. I then presented her with a picture of the wreath laying ceremony which she seemed to greatly appreciate.’

John Prendergast, who piped at the memorial event, said: ‘We spoke mainly about my experiences piping at all of the different events last year. I told her how I had been out cycling when The Duke passed and so I came straight into school to pipe to pay tribute to him.’

Erin Bell added: ‘We spoke about The Duke of Edinburgh and his time here as I showed her around the school’s archives, and the things he did at Gordonstoun.’

The visit to Gordonstoun was also an opportunity for Her Royal Highness to hear more about the Moray Badge Platinum Jubilee which is underway to encourage all schoolchildren in Moray to rebuild their confidence following two lockdowns and which has been part-funded by Gordonstoun.

A young Prince Philip sailing (Photo: Major B Varvill R.A.M.C / Gordonstoun School)

Junior School Guardians (Head Students) Alex Bowe and Oonagh Cottrill presented Her Royal Highness with a posy of flowers and explained how their participation in the newly formed Gordonstoun Equestrian team is just one of the things they are doing to complete their Moray Badge Platinum Jubilee award.

Principal of Gordonstoun, Lisa Kerr said: ‘We have enjoyed a warm relationship with The Princess Royal for many in her ambassadorial role as the Warden of our school. We were all deeply saddened by the passing of her father,
The Duke of Edinburgh, who is fondly remembered as one of our first pupils and a huge supporter of the school.

‘It was therefore an honour to share some happy memories with Her Royal Highness about her father’s schooldays and to remind ourselves of the many lives that he changed through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which was inspired by his time here.’

Joanna Grant Peterkin, chair of the Moray Badge Platinum Jubilee, added: ‘It was wonderful to be able to talk with The Princess Royal about the Moray Badge Platinum Jubilee, particularly since her father, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh was one of the first participants in the original Moray Badge in 1937.

‘We have been overwhelmed by the numbers of children and young people taking part – about 5500 from 36 local schools, those who are home schooled and other groups. The Princess Royal was very interested to hear about the range of activities, many encompassing nature, creative crafts, physical outdoor activity or sports offered by providers or charities, and the positive impact the Badge has had upon participants wellbeing, confidence and their enjoyment of life again.

‘We were very encouraged by her support.’

Her Royal Highness also toured the site of the new low carbon Classroom Hub at Gordonstoun, due to open in 2023, as well as some of the new outdoor learning areas at Gordonstoun which were created to allow teaching to continue safely during the pandemic.

Gordonstoun is a not-for-profit independent boarding school which was established in Moray in 1934 by Dr Kurt Hahn, a Jewish exile who fled Nazi Germany. He founded the school with the ideal of developing better world citizens equipped to contribute to society.

Three generations of British Royalty were educated at Gordonstoun, including the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales.

Approximately one third of the pupils at the co-educational boarding school receive financial help in order to attend. The school was described as ‘outstanding’ and ‘sector-leading’ in its most recent inspection.

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