We are delighted that our Coronation celebrations have been highlighted in this month's edition of the Independent School Magazine.
We are delighted to be taking part in a number of events to celebrate the Coronation of HM King Charles III and HM Queen Camilla.
Messages of Congratulations
"On behalf of the entire RHS community, it is my pleasure to extend our congratulations to HM King Charles III and HM Queen Camilla on their Coronation.
Their dedication to sustainability, their pursuit of solutions to address climate change, and ocean conservation are all causes that resonate strongly with young people. We at RHS share their belief that these issues are of paramount importance for the future of our planet. We wish them wholehearted success as they champion causes that are relevant and so important to successive generations of people both here in the UK and around the globe.
Here at RHS we will enjoy marking this significant day in our country’s history and joining in the celebration. We wish them both a happy and successful reign."
Mr Simon Lockyer
"In celebrating a joyous and historic moment in our history we send heartfelt congratulations to Their Majesties The King and Queen.
We are so fortunate to have a Monarchy that embodies the spirit and self-confidence of our Nation and Commonwealth, and one that will help to shape our future in such a fast-changing world.
At our founding, the school’s first benefactors were members of the Royal family and throughout our 300-year history, we have been proud and grateful for their support and active participation in the growth and development of the school.
We send Their Majesties three hearty cheers for a long and happy reign, and the whole RHS community affirms its loyalty to them both."
Mr Mark Pendlington
Chair of Governors / High Sheriff of Suffolk
CORONATION CELEBRATION News
This address was given at the Coronation Chapel Service on Friday 5 May 2023 by the school's Chair of Governors and High Sheriff of Suffolk, Mr Mark Pendlington.
Our Coronation celebrations came to a wonderful close with a spectacular Coronation Parade by our full body of 700 pupils, led by our pupil Guard and Marching Band, with Inspecting Officer, Colonel Matt Ketterer in attendance.
Our community attended a beautiful service in the School Chapel for the Coronation of HM King Charles III & HM Queen Camilla.
Our amazing catering team provided a delicious Coronation Lunch for our staff, pupils and invited guests.
Our talented musicians performed on board one of the Royal Navy's newest ships, HMS Diamond, in London to support the Coronation of HM King Charles III and HM Queen Camilla. The First Sea Lord held a Coronation Reception on board and invited RHS musicians to play for his guests, an array of VIPs and dignitaries from Commonwealth nations, plus our very own headmaster!
Coronation celebrations for HM King Charles III and HM Queen Camilla have begun here at RHS! A significant number of our young musicians were privileged to be invited by the First Sea Lord to perform on board HMS Diamond in London on Wednesday and we have more festivities planned for tomorrow in school.
Later today, the RHS Band and Guard will be performing at the First Sea Lord's Coronation Reception on board one of the Royal Navy's newest ships, HMS Diamond, in London to support the Coronation of King Charles.
School Celebrations - Friday 5 May
On Friday 5 May, the school is dedicating the afternoon to celebrate the Coronation of HM King Charles III and HM Queen Camilla.
We will be hosting a celebratory Coronation Lunch for all our pupils, staff and invited guests, followed by a special service of celebration in the chapel.
The day will be finished off by a splendid Coronation Parade with our Guard and Marching Band leading the procession of our pupils, with Inspecting Officer Colonel Matt Ketterer in attendance. The National Anthem will be played, followed with ‘three cheers’ to the King!
We look forward to celebrating the Coronation of
HM King Charles III and HM Queen Camilla
as a whole school community.
HM King Charles III will be the 13th monarch to sit on the throne since the founding of RHS in 1712. The Royal Hospital School, as its name suggests, has many royal connections, but the most obvious are the King George V's Banner and Queen Elizabeth’s Banner, the latter of which is paraded at Divisions at least four times a year: on Remembrance Sunday, Founders’ Day, Sports Day and Speech Day. We hope to receive a Banner from King Charles III in the near future.
The school is unique in having its own royal banners, which you can view in the school reception throughout the year. Sometimes they are called standards or guidons or banners, but the collective name is a colour. Colours are the flags of regiments and no other school in the country has a proper colour presented by the sovereign. In fact, 2018 marked the school having a royal banner for over 100 years. It was first presented by King George V, King Charles III's great-grandfather, in 1918 as a mark of appreciation of the service given to the Royal Navy by the pupils of this school, not least in the First World War and, particularly, at the Battle of Jutland. Over 1,000 former RHS pupils served on ships at the Battle of Jutland and at least 101 died in that battle: it could well be more, but many records are lost. That battle which lasted from 31 May to 1 June 1916 was the greatest naval engagement of the Great War; RHS lost more pupils in one 24 hour period than any other British school in one day before or since. It was truly a banner hard won and is a visible reminder to us all of this school’s historic service to the nation and to its sovereign.
Until 1992, the great honour of carrying the banner on parade at Divisions was competed for fiercely, initially by the school’s companies (as that was how the school was organised until the 1930s) and then by its houses in a similar way that today the houses compete for the Bannerman Trophy for smartness and bearing. Since 1992, the carrying of the banner has been under the direction of the Chief Petty Officers or Chiefs, RHS naval slang for our School Prefects. At the end of each year on Speech Day, it is physically transferred in Chapel from one of the outgoing Heads of School to one of the incoming Heads of School. It is always ceremoniously escorted, as now, by Guard Commanders carrying naval cutlasses.
By 1968, this banner was somewhat worn and tattered after 50 years of continual use. Queen Elizabeth II asked her mother, Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, to present a new banner to RHS on her behalf, which she did on Speech Day that year. The original King’s Banner was then laid up and is in a display case in reception. The first Queen’s Banner was used until 2006 when it was replaced by the current Queen’s Banner and the former banner laid up in chapel where it hangs today.
The ceremonial Queen’s Banner should not be confused with the school flag which is raised and lowered each working day at RHS. This flag is known officially as a defaced blue ensign. This is a naval blue ensign with a badge added to make it unique, in our case with the arms of Greenwich Hospital. RHS is the only school in the country to be allowed such a flag, so we are doubly unique with our ensign and our banner. Queen Elizabeth II allowed the Admiralty to grant us the privilege of the ensign in 1953 as another reward for service.
History has many instances of British soldiers dying courageously in battle in their attempts to prevent colours from falling into the hands of enemies as such colours have always been the personal gift of the monarch. Soldiers have known that it is a privilege to carry them. We are fortunate to have that privilege awarded as a reward for the service of the Royal Hospital School.
This text was adapted from a Chapel address on the Queen's 90th birthday by Mr Matthew Christmas, Assistant Head (Academic).