Visit of Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall
It was an honour and a privilege to welcome His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall to The Swaminarayan School on 4th March 2009. Soon after their arrival Their Royal Highnesses visited a classroom on the ground floor where they listened to a Bhajan sung by Year 2 children. The singers were accompanied by a number of instruments played by pupils and staff. It was evident that the Royal couple appreciated the music and were very interested in the various instruments. The next stop was the Reception classroom where the children were involved in a number of “Holi” related activities.
The Royal couple immediately got involved in the children’s activities. For example, HRH The Prince of Wales was seen sharing a joke with Anika Patel while threading a garland.
We then went up to the Senior School Art room where the students were involved in a “Holi” project. Being an artist in his own right, His Royal Highness was at home talking to the students and admired their work. He praised both the quality and range of the work. Finally we made our way down to the gymnasium where the whole school community was waiting. We were led in to the hall by Jaison and Ryan Patel playing the Dhol. The Royal couple were formally welcomed by the Head Girl and Head Boy of the Prep School. The joyous and colourful “Holi” dance by Senior students captured the spirit of “Holi” which celebrates the advent of spring. This was followed by a Raas by Year 6 girls. His Royal Highness told me that he had taken part in something similar forty years previously in Rajasthan. Finally, the Head Boy and Head Girl of the Senior School presented the Royal couple with mementos from the school before they made their way out. The Royal couple did not rush their departure and spent time talking to the pupils, parents and staff on their way out. In conversation His Royal Highness told me that he was impressed with the school. Four aspects he mentioned to me stand out: the behaviour and discipline of our pupils; the eco project in the Prep School; the fact that our students take 12 GCSEs and our position in the league tables. When we bade the Royal couple farewell they said how much they had enjoyed the visit and thanked us for welcoming them. After the event many parents came to tell us how we had put on a wonderful programme and that they had thoroughly enjoyed the day. Finally may I thank everyone for their hard work in delivering a brilliant and memorable day for us all. In particular, the work by Mandir volunteers in getting the gym ready in less than two hours was just incredible. For photographs of this visit please visit the school and Mandir websites.
M K Savjani Headteacher