Felsted School enjoyed the
crowning moment of its 450 year celebrations today as Her Majesty the Queen
visited the School. Following in the footsteps of Her Majesty The Queen Mother,
who visited for the 400th anniversary, it was an extremely special occasion.
The visit itself was separated into two parts; the first was a private lunch,
prepared by Felsted's nervous but excited catering department; this was
followed by a special assembly where Her Majesty unveiled two plaques. These
plaques commemorated the 450th anniversary, and also the rebuilding
of Follyfield boarding house, destroyed by fire in 2012.
Her Majesty and His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh, arrived at Felsted
to glorious sunshine. They drove across The Front to be greeted by Felsted
pupils and staff. Upon arrival at the Lord Riche Hall, which was opened by
Princess Anne in 1989, the Royal couple were greeted to the National Anthem,
played by Felsted’s Corps of Drums. They were then introduced to Headmaster Dr
Mike Walker, Headmistress of the Preparatory School, Jenny Burrett, and
Chairman of Governors, Mr John Davies, amongst others.
Her Majesty and His Royal Highness
were then escorted to lunch which began with a Smoked Salmon and Asparagus
Terrine, before everyone enjoyed Pheasant Smitane in a Madeira, Mushroom and
Cream Sauce. This was finished off beautifully by Spiced Pears poached in Red
Wine. Head Girl Lydia Carrington, who sat next to HRH Prince Philip at lunch,
commented; ‘They were both so down to earth and easy to talk to. His Royal
Highness was asking me all about my Duke of Edinburgh Gold award. I don’t think
it will sink in properly until later on this evening that I actually met them!’
The 450th Anniversary Ceremony followed, with short speeches by the
Chairman of Governors and the Headmaster. These were also accompanied by some
wonderful singing, including Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria’ and a mesmeric performance of
the Felsted 450th anthem, ‘Let The People Praise You’, specifically composed
for this year by Alexander L'Estrange. Head Boy Sam Seacombe commented; ‘It was
awe-inspiring to sit that close to one of the longest reigning monarchs, and
talk to someone with such a depth of experience. It will be difficult to beat
Members of the Felsted Common Room
presented the HM Queen and HRH Prince Philip with a painting titled ‘Carol
Service Felsted School 1972’ by David Plested, formerly of the Common Room.
Her Majesty and the HRH the Duke of Edinburgh were also given a leather-bound
copy of ‘Garde Ta Foy: The Riche Heritage of Felsted School’ by Alastair
Grierson-Rickford, former Common Room member and Felsted Historian.
There was also a presentation of a
boot scraper, which is part of a Royal tradition here at Felsted, as the HM the
Queen Mother also received a boot scraper on her visit for the 400th
Following the anniversary
ceremony, the HRH the Queen was presented with a posy of flowers by Mary
Alcott, from the Pre-Preparatory School. She also received a FelsTed from
Oliver Stonham, a Preparatory School pupil, and the HRH Duke of Edinburgh
received a Tie from Deputy Head of School James Halfhide.
Dr Mike Walker was ecstatic with how the day went; ‘There were lots of little
touches that one could talk about; the royal couple spoke to a number of our
Preparatory pupils who presented a tableau of Felsted through the ages and some
of our Senior students who showed them displays of Felsted activities, as the
procession went into the main hall.
I have been referring to this
visit as the tale of three Elizabeth’s; the School was founded in 1564, during
the reign of Elizabeth I; HM The Queen Mother came here 50 years ago; and now
of course we have the
outstanding honour for the School of the reigning Monarch visiting. When
I pointed this out to the HM Queen at lunch she burst out laughing! They were
very relaxed, informal, and absolutely lovely.
This visit means so much to everyone here. I am
overwhelmingly proud to have been Headmaster at such an incredible event.’
Notes to Editor:
contact Sophy Aitken or Rob Short in the press office on 01371 822647 for further
joins an elite band of Schools to reach the 450 year milestone. Founded in 1564
by Richard Lord Riche, courtier to Henry VIII amongst others, Felsted
has achieved a sustained record of schooling excellence. The School boasts
alumni including Richard Cromwell, Lord Protector; Isaac Barrow,
the famous 17th Century Mathematician; Nick Knight, an
international cricketer; Sean Fletcher, the notable TV presenter; and Sir
Robert Finch, a former Lord Mayor of London.
was recently rated 100% ‘excellent’ but the Independent Schools Inspectorate
information available at www.felsted.org/450.
Date of Issue: 06/05/14