To the surprise of military students, Prince Harry turned up to hand out medals to outstanding students in Dover today.
Harry, 31, is thought to have attended as Governor Simon Daglish is a co-founder of the charity Walking With The Wounded, which the Prince has supported over the years. The Prince also spent time at the school in his youth.
The pupils at The Duke of York’s Royal Military School were not expecting the former Army Captain to be the special guest on parade, and were only alerted to a Royal presence when the National Anthem was played by the school band.
Prince Harry, who attended the rugby on Saturday with his brother and sister-in-law, was still sporting his beard, grown during his time in Africa. He handed out five medals on parade to pupils who had demonstrated excellence in one field.
The school was established in 1803 in Chelsea by Frederick, Duke of York to care for the orphans of soldiers. It is now a state-run boarding school, previously run by the Ministry of Defence. Most students are children from forces families.
Sean Dunoo, 11, was also on parade when the Prince walked past him.
He said afterwards: “I thought ‘Is that Prince Harry?’, then I asked my friend next to me and he said ‘Probably not’ but I said ‘Yes, it’s him’.”
After the parade ceremony, Harry got the chance to speak with some of the students, including sixth form, and staff at a reception; this followed a private tour of the school’s chapel.
The Prince gave some friendly advice to Harry Hodson, 15, who told him he was not planning to go into the military: “The Army’s not for you? Let’s talk about it,” Harry said to his namesake.
Looking around to the group of students with the teenager, the Prince asked about the influence of military families in career decisions: “Do you feel pressure to follow their path?”
The 15-year-old said after chatting to the Prince: “I said I was not going into the military, which seemed to be the wrong thing. I want to go into the media into TV production.
“He was saying, take your time, review all your options, then wait to decide what you will do.”
Earlier this year, Prince Harry said the army ‘has only done [him] good’ and called for the return of National Service.
Photo: © Chloe Howard 2015