The Queen was joined by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, earlier today, as she helped Pangbourne College celebrate its centenary.
Today’s engagement started with The Queen and Duke meeting local dignitaries, before being accompanied by the Bishop and College Chaplain at a service in the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel to mark the school’s centenary.
The trip marked Her Majesty’s fifth visit to the school; she first visited as 18-year-old Princess Elizabeth in 1943.
Pangbourne College has a long history of training Royal Navy and Merchant Navy officers. The college is also home to the national Falklands War memorial, commemorating all the servicemen and women who died during the 1982 conflict, in which Prince Andrew served as a pilot.
The college, located near Reading, was founded in 1917 by ship-broker Sir Thomas Lane Devitt. Originally named, ‘The Nautical College at Pangbourne’, Sir Devitt founded the school in order to prepare boys to be officers in the Merchant Navy. However, in 1969, the merchant fleet was shrinking quickly, and increasing numbers of students were going to university. Therefore, the school was re-branded ‘Pangbourne College’, with a new focus on academics. The school is now fully co-ed but students wear Royal Naval uniforms, and are taught ceremonial traditions, to help improve leadership skills.
After the service to mark the school’s centenary, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip met students on parade. The Queen also met with 97-year-old Commander Keith Evans, who is believed to be the oldest living ‘Old Pangbournian’.
Commander Evans attended the college between 1933 and 1937, he went on to serve on HMS Hood. Evans served with Prince Philip during World War II. When asked about his memories of the Duke, he answered: “He was a bit randy but you had better not put that down.” He went on to joke, “Like Prince Philip, I’m standing down from most things in August!”
The Queen then presented the college with new colours before awarding The Queen’s Gold Medal to students Ellen White and Fred Taucher, Head Girl and Head Boy. It is given every year to the Chief Cadet Captain of the College.
The Queen and The Duke then received a traditional ‘three cheers’ before departing.
The Queen met Commander Keith Evans, the oldest (known) living Old Pangbournian. pic.twitter.com/J7MqfQLKVc
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) May 9, 2017