The prefix ‘Royal’ was first granted to our School by Queen Victoria in 1891 in commemoration of 40 years of work with children in need. Even today, as co-education all-through free school with boarding, staff and governors remain committed to the School ethos of caring for all, as set out in 1850 by our benevolent founder, Mr John Lees.
Following the sad death of Her majesty, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother in 2002, His Royal Highness, the Earl of Wessex, formally accepted the School’s invitation to become its Patron and he has visited us on several occasions since.
Most recently, in September 2012 HRH The Earl of Wessex KG GCVO arrived by helicopter to commemorate the 80th Birthday of the Royal Junior School. As part of his visit, Prince Edward talked to children from the Senior School; met the Elite Swimming Squad and our Junior swimmers, and chatted to participants of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme. He then toured the Junior School before unveiling a plaque to sit alongside an oak tree kindly donated by the RWS Parents Association.
Prince Edward said during his visit: ‘The School is clearly thriving, growing and developing in many directions, and I feel privileged to be its Patron.’
On a previous visit in September 2006, HRH The Earl of Wessex officially opened the School’s £2.6 million swimming pool complex. He was able to see the pool filled with water and in use by pupils, and said: ‘It’s a great pleasure to be back at the school and to see it happy and thriving. It is very exciting to see the pool with water and used for both the elite swimming club and the community – and see it realise its potential.’
Headmaster Mark Heywood believes that our Royal Patronage is another unique feature that helps to make the School community so special: ‘We are no longer an orphanage, of course, but we are still a truly unique and caring school community where students of all abilities and cultures from the West Midlands, Great Britain and the world come together to learn and achieve, both academically and personally. Our Royal Patronage helps to underpin this and supports us in our vision to identify, nurture and celebrate individual strengths in order to exceed every pupil’s expectations. We are eternally grateful for Prince Edward’s ongoing personal support.’