Duchess Kate goes down memory lane at childhood school
There's not a whole lot of time for trips down memory lane for the Duchess of Cambridge these days, but there was no resisting the indulgence on Friday.
Wearing a tartan Alexander McQueen coat of blue and green, matching nicely with the green school uniforms, Kate returned to St. Andrew's in Pangbourne, Berkshire, where she spent the formative years of her life (age 4-13).
"They were some of my happiest years, which makes it so incredibly special to be here today," she said in a short speech before joining in on a day of activities at the school's annual St. Andrew's Day (video below).
"In fact, I enjoyed it so much that when I had to leave, I told my mother that I was going to come back to be a teacher. While that didn't quite happen, I was thrilled to have been asked back today on St. Andrew's Day.
"It was while I was here at school that I realized my love of sport. Sport has been a huge part of my life, and I feel incredibly grateful for the opportunities I had to get outside and play in such wonderful open spaces -- though sadly there was nothing quite as glamorous as this in my time."
She also let slip that her nickname at school was Squeak. It's only appropriate, then, that her sister Pippa was 'Pip.' See remembered that a couple of guinea pigs at the school were also named Pip and Squeak.
During the two-hour visit, she toured the school (as if she might not remember every inch of it), visited staff and students, and picked up a field hockey stick again as she opened a new playing field covered with AstroTurf (beward the heel marks, Kate). She also joined students for lunch, featuring Scottish roast beef and something called Birdseed pudding, a concoction of flapjack and rice crispie cake.
Kate attended the school from 1986 to 1995 after she and her family returned to Berkshire from two and a half years in Jordan. The private school was the scene of her greatest sporting triumphs. She held records for high jump and long jump, and was the star on the field hockey team (right).
"She was very hard working, very polite and friendly, (and) very kind to the younger children." Deputy Head Richard Hudson told the BBC.
A former classmate recalled the days she and Kate had at St. Andrew's as "idyllic."
"She was a really lovely, warm girl who didn't have a bad bone in her body. I couldn't speak of her more highly," she told the Daily Mail. "In some ways she was rather quiet and unassuming, but she excelled on the sports field and was definitely one of our golden girls."
Kate keeps up with the play, suede high heel boots and all, as she takes part in a day of activities and festivities on the new turf to mark the occasion of St Andrew's Day in Pangbourne. (Getty Images)