CAMILLA, the Duchess of Cornwall, graced Croydon with her royal presence on Wednesday with a visit to the Brit School.
Her Royal Highness smiled broadly throughout her hour-long tour of the Selhurst school, which has become renowned for its alumni of worldwide stars including Adele, Leona Lewis, and Jessie J.
The royal visitor arrived at 10.20am and was immediately welcomed with a raucous round of applause from students and teachers alike. She was taken to a variety of different classrooms, including a recording studio, ballet class, and musical theatre rehearsal.
She even popped into the school cafeteria, and chatted to students as they enjoyed a mid-morning snack.
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The duchess told one student, as he was recording a track: "Well, there's a lot of action going on here isn't there, so many buttons, I wouldn't know where to start. You're definitely getting the best education here, aren't you?"
She also saw a choir rehearsal, which involved not only students, but elderly women from Age UK performing too.
At one point, the duchess joked about her mature years with a choir member.
"My husband supports Age UK; I should probably be joining them soon too," she quipped.
As the tour progressed into the make-up artistry department, one student got special attention from the VIP guest.
Make-up student Amber Sansom-English, 18, told the Advertiser: "I had a good three-minute chat with Camilla and it was amazing.
"I think it's great for students my age to meet someone so important, who doesn't necessarily have any association with the arts but shows an interest in us.
"The arts don't get much recognition from the Government, for example, but to have royalty here is really special."
Amber's teacher Olivia Chew used to work at the BBC and only started at the Brit School in September.
She said: "Camilla was absolutely lovely, it's really nice for the students to be able to showcase their work. They all work so hard, they come in early, leave late, are here on their breaks, I can't get rid of them.
"They're all very passionate, so to see them here with the duchess is very exciting. It's a lovely school to work in and, even though it's very different to everything I've done before, I felt welcomed almost immediately."
Chloe Peach, 16, and Hollie Maides, 17, both study set design at the school and also got some time with the royal visitor.
Chloe said: "It was really exciting to meet her, she was lovely and friendly, we didn't expect her to be so nice."
Hollie continued: "She was actually talking to us. It was so strange, especially as she seemed really interested in what we were doing. "You wouldn't expect a member of the royal family to care but she did; she was great."
The therapy group brings parents and under-5s in the local area together to create a community using music. Camilla had 10 minutes to play with the babies and children, and was even asked to sing.
One mum was overheard telling the royal guest: "There's nowhere to go around here apart from Sainsbury's. This group is such a gift."
Brit school head teacher Stuart Worden said: "It's thoroughly exciting for the students; it's exciting to show everyone what the school can offer.
"The best thing is Camilla was able to see the whole range of what we do here. It's wonderful for the arts community to get a visit from royalty; it means so much to get this sort of validation. "