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The Queen spent time chatting to staff and students of a new school during her first visit to Harold Hill today (Friday October 26).

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The Monarch officially opened the new Drapers’ Academy, in Settle Road.

Matthew Slater, principal of Drapers’ Academy, described the day as “simply a dream come true”.

He said: “It’s wonderful, she is just so interested in the students and has spent the time asking them questions and just giving me lots of feedback.”

The Queen arrived on her second visit to Havering at 12pm and was greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of Greater London Sir David Brewer.

Dressed in a light pink suit, she was taken on a tour of the new £24m academy starting in the sports hall where she was met by students doing trampolining and using the climbing wall.

Her delight was evident as she told the pupils that the climbing wall was “just wonderful”.

The Queen was then treated to a performance of a scene from Little Shop of Horrors, which the students had performed earlier in the year to rave reviews.

After the performance, Her Majesty spent time speaking to Harry Gibbons, who played the lead role of Seymour in the production.

He said: “She asked me if I enjoyed singing and then she said that I sing really well.

“I didn’t expect her to speak to me, I was just really shocked.”

The tour then continued into the science department, where the students peformed a range of experiments.

The Queen chatted to Jack Ostermeyer, 14, who was carrying out an experiment on magnesium and asked him if the “experiment was working”.

He said: “I told her that the magnesium would take some time to burn.

“She was just so calm and was really interested in the experiment.”

The Queen was taken to the staff room where she met with dignitaries, including Upminster and Hornchurch MP Angela Watkinson and Leader of Havering Council Cllr Michael White.

The Monarch was then treated to a performance of Something Inside So Strong and Gary Barlow’s Sing in the school hall, which was renamed the Diamond Jubilee Hall in the Queen’s honour.

See this week’s Romford Recorder for more on the Queen’s visit.

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