Haringey school has fond memories of twice welcoming the Queen

20:22 02 June 2012

The Queen reopened St Aidan

The Queen reopened St Aidan's following a fire in 1997.

Archant

It is not every day one finds a queen wandering down the hallways of a school, so one would be forgiven for being a little jealous of the school which welcomed Her Majesty twice.

Queen Elizabeth first visited St Aidan’s VC Primary School in Stroud Green to officially open it in 1972 and then again in 1998 – this time to reopen the school.

For former nursery nurse Gisela Soinne, the 1998 visit was one not to be forgotten – she still has the mug which marked the ocassion, on February 25 that year.

It came after a difficult year for the school, which had been destroyed by fire less than 12 months earlier.

All the children – apart from the nursery class, whose building had escaped damage – had been moved to the newly-opened Weston Park School in Crouch End while it was refurbished.

On their return, the pupils wanted to do something a little bit special.

Ms Soinne, who had worked at the school since 1975, said: “The Queen had opened the school originally, so they wrote to Her Majesty and asked if she would return to reopen it.

“They sent her some pictures, and she said yes.”

But having a queen visit does not just involve the day.

“The whole school was inspected from the bottom to the top with sniffer dogs, just to make sure there was nothing hidden,” remembered Ms Soinne, and then there is the protocol of addressing the Queen.

Ms Soinne, of Crouch Hall Road, said: “We were told, if Her Majesty speaks to us at first we must answer ‘Your Majesty’. We were told you did not have to curtsey though, but I did. I just felt it was right to do.”

But all the preparations were worth it.

Queen Elizabeth visited all the new classrooms, watched a performance in the hall and unveiled a stone which comemorated the ocassion.

And she didn’t just meet the children and teachers.

The Queen also spent time with the crowds who had assembled outside the school gates to get a glimpse of – arguably – the most famous woman in the world.

“It was all very exciting,” Ms Soinne said with a smile.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London news

Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Brandon Traemoore has been missing since Tuesday (Photo: Metropolitan Police)

Police are concerned for the welfare of a 13-year-old boy who has gone missing from his home in Bromley.

Don't Miss...

Competitions

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Read more
Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Read more

Latest Tech News

Transport