Royal Visit to Old Palace
A very special visit
21st March 2014

Royal visit to Old Palace

On 21 March Old Palace welcomed HRH The Princess Royal to the school as part of commemorations marking 400 years of The Whitgift Foundation Founder’s Day Service.

On arrival at Croydon Minster, the Princess Royal watched the Corps of Drums from Whitgift School before joining Year 7s from Whitgift, Trinity and Old Palace Schools, staff of the Carers’ Information Service and residents of the Foundation’s care homes for a special service conducted by the Reverend Canon Colin Boswell, Vicar of Croydon.

Following the Founder’s Day Service, the Princess Royal toured Old Palace and met the Student Leadership team and the History Society in Chapel. She was then presented to representatives from both Whitgift and Trinity Schools including their respective Heads Dr Christopher Barnett and Mr Mark Bishop, in the Friends Library.

After meeting guests and dignitaries in the Guard Room, the Princess Royal talked to residents of the Almhouses and Whitgift Care Homes in Ayckbowm before attending a special Founder’s Day Lunch in the medieval Banqueting Hall.

Preparatory Singers performed in the Banqueting Hall just before the Princess Royal bid farewell to the whole school community in the Medieval Garden where she was presented with flowers by Old Palace students.

It was a truly wonderful occasion and students and staff at Old Palace showed their appreciation to the Princess prior to her departure with a hearty three cheers.

History of Founder's Day
The Founder’s Day Service has been supported for four centuries by one of the great Livery Companies of the City of London, the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers’, and the Princess Royal was in attendance as Court Assistant to the Fishmongers’ Company.
Historically, the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers was granted £100 in a will made by Archbishop Whitgift’s former Chaplain in 1613 (with which he had family connections) and the interest from this sum was to be used to pay for an annual Founder’s Day Service, a preacher, a fish supper and other good causes.

The Service gives thanks to the charity’s founder, Archbishop John Whitgift, whose mission to provide education for the young and care for the elderly has supported thousands in Croydon’s community since the first foundation stones were laid on 22 March 1596, at the Hospital of the Holy Trinity (now known as the Whitgift Almshouses).

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