Royals Visiting Their Old Schools

Today we’re looking at four royal ladies who got to go back to their old schools as royals. Not too shabby, eh?

Grace Kelly at Ravenhill Academy

Grace Kelly was born in 1929 in Philadelphia and spent the first 9 years of her education at Ravenhill Academy, a Catholic girl’s school. Ravenhill was a gorgeous mansion that was donated to the Archdiocese  of Philadelphia by the Weightman family.

Ravenhill c. 1940 (Via

Ravenhill c. 1940 (Via

As Princess of Monaco, she returned to the school to break ground on a new theatre that had been donated in memory of her dad, John B. Kelly.

Breaking ground (via Argenaimages)

Breaking ground (via Argenaimages)

She returned to the school when the theatre was completed to dedicate it and to unveil this plaque:

Grace unveils a plaque at Ravenhill (Via Argentina Images)

Grace unveils a plaque at Ravenhill (Via Argentina Images)

In 1982, Ravenhill mansion was purchased by Philadelphia University, who own it to this day. Grace is the school’s most famous former pupil.

Diana at West Heath Girls School with her sisters

Next up is Diana. Back In December of 1987, she paid a visit to her old school West Heath in Sevenoaks, Kent. She was a student from the ages of 12 to 16 and so this visit took place just ten years after leaving the school in 1977. Fun fact actress Tilda Swinton was a student at the same time as Diana and has mentioned that in interviews from time to time.

The purpose behind the 1987 visit was to officially open a new sports hall and she was joined by her sisters Sarah and Jane, who’d also been students there. I believe this was the only official engagement where Diana was joined by her sisters in this sort of capacity (later on, Sarah became one of Diana’s Ladies-in-Waiting, which must have been a little strange since she had dated Prince Charles for a short while in the ’70’s).

Diana and her sisters Sarah and Jane at West Heath School

Diana and her sisters Sarah and Jane at West Heath School (Via

To add to the fun of it all, the trio arrived by one of the Queen’s Flight helicopters, which is a pretty great way to make your arrival, no? Here’s some news coverage of the visit:

After leaving the school, Lady Diana went on to a finishing school in Switzerland called Institut Alpin Videmanette, which closed its doors in 1991.

Meanwhile West Heath also had difficulties in the 1990’s and went into receivership in 1997. The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund considered buying the school but when they decided against it, Mohammad Al Fayed stepped in and the school is now known as New School at West Heath. More info about all of that can be found here if you’re interested.

Sophie Rhys-Jones at Kent College

Next up is Sophie, who doesn’t get much coverage which we keep hearing from readers is a real shame. However, she soldiers on and  in March of 2012, Sophie visited her old school Kent College. She seemed to match her outfit to the navy of the school uniforms, as you do, and was clearly a hit with the students.

Sophie visiting Kent College

Sophie visiting Kent College

The visit marked the 125th anniversary of the school as well as the opening of the re-named Countess of Wessex Theatre.  As a side note, it was revealed in 2009 that Sophie had hired her first Lady-in-Waiting and that she had been a fellow pupil at Kent College.

Some more information on this visit can be found here and if you’re in the mood for more Sophie, check out this post. It’s all about Sophie’s aquamarine tiara and is our most read Sophie post ever!

Kate at St. Andrew’s School in Berkshire

And we’ll end with Kate. As you may recall, Kate visited her old school St. Andrew’s on St. Andrew’s Day in November of 2012 and the press was all over it. Kate had been at the school prior to going to Marlborough College, and had played on the school’s field hockey team.

She wore a tartan McQueen coat for the visit and seemed to have a fabulous time running around in her high heeled boots.

Kate at her old school (via USA Today)

Kate at her old school (via USA Today)

Kate also gave a speech about how much she’d loved the school, and then it seems she went home and started feeling dreadful. A couple of days later, William and Kate were forced to announce that Baby George was on the way since Kate had to be in hospital. And now here we are a year later!

Did we miss any other royal school visits?


Categories: British Royal Family, Diana, Princess of Wales, Duchess of Cambridge, The Countess of Wessex

Tags: , , ,

3 replies

  1. I must have watched that video of Princess Diana speaking at West Heath a million times. My favorite moment is when she’s so relieved to finish her speech that she has to be reminded to pull the curtain to reveal the plaque. The looks and giggles that pass between her and her sisters — “OMG, I forgot about the plaque!” — are so sweet. And the grimace when she mentions her various infractions in the speech. Touching.


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