HUNDREDS of children were on their best behaviour when the Duchess of Gloucester came to their schools.
The duchess met pupils and staff at Uplands School and St Francis CofE Primary School, both in North Swindon, when she unveiled plaques at each venue yesterday afternoon.
The visit started at Uplands School, where she was given a tour of the school’s charity shop before the pupils performed an extract from the school’s production of The Wizard of Oz.
Uplands headteacher Jackie Smith said: “The duchess was delightful and really interested in the children and staff.
“When the young people came to give the posy she was on the stage and one of them was in a wheelchair so she came down off the stage to meet them.”
The duchess bought a £2 Doctor Who mug in the school’s charity shop, where she was served by pupils Tom Wisden and Lewis Dinsey.
Tom, 19, said: “It was brilliant. She was very friendly. I wasn’t nervous, I was proud.”
Lewis, 19, said: “It was great serving the duchess, I will always remember it. I think she was impressed with the shop.”
Shop manager Barbara Lenderyou said: “The duchess is a lovely lady and I liked how she talked to the students.”
The duchess unveiled a plaque commemorating the opening of the charity shop in November, before heading to St Francis Primary School.
She opened St Francis in 2005 and was there yesterday to unveil a plaque commemorating its recent two-storey addition.
She was given a tour of it and was also treated to an assembly where the children performed a specially-written song.
She spoke to pupils in their classrooms, including Year 5 pupils Isabel, nine, and Riccardo, 10.
Isabel said: “It was amazing to meet the duchess. I have always wanted to meet a member of the royal family.
“She talked to us about what we have been doing at school and she told us a bit about Vikings.”
Riccardo said: “She was kind and she deserves to be a duchess.”
The duchess also visited Cirencester Sixth Form College where she met volunteers from The Churn Young Neighbours Project – a charity that aims to bridge the gap between generations while providing older residents with friendship.
Jordan Smith, 16, of Highworth presented her with gifts, while Jennifer Allen, 18, from Swindon, chatted with her over a cup of tea.