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Harry makes surprise appearance at Royal Military School in Dover

Prince Harry left a military school dumbstruck when he walked out unannounced on to their parade ground to present medals to outstanding students.

The pupils from the Duke of York's Royal Military School knew someone important would be visiting, but had to contain their excitement when Harry emerged to inspect their ranks.

After the formalities of the parade ground were over, some teenage girls hugged each other, with one excitedly jumping up and down and another exclaiming "Oh my god!"

Megan Davidson, 14, a drummer with the school's military band who was overcome with emotion, said afterwards: "I didn't believe it, I was so shocked."

Harry's last public engagement was watching the Rugby World Cup clash between England and Wales with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Twickenham on Saturday night - when he was left dejected as Stuart Lancaster's team lost.

But he was in good spirits and wearing his Blues and Royals uniform and peaked cap for the event at the school in Dover, Kent, which was established in 1803 in Chelsea by Frederick, Duke of York to care for the orphans of soldiers.

Sean Dunoo, 11, was also on parade when the Prince walked past him.

He said afterwards: "I thought 'Is that Prince Harry?', then I asked my friend next to me and he said 'Probably not' but I said 'Yes, it's him'."

The military school is a state-run boarding institution which became an academy in 2010, previously it was run by the Ministry of Defence but a majority of the children are still from Armed Forces families.

Fees are around £11,820 a year for a school which prides itself on a strong military ethos promoting qualities like self-discipline, respect and sportsmanship.

The royal visit is thought to have come about as former Duke of York's pupil and now governor Simon Daglish is co-founder of the charity Walking With The Wounded, which the Prince has supported.

Harry arrived by helicopter and there was no announcement - the only giveaway was the school's military band playing the national anthem.

He was followed by the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Viscount De L'Isle, who was wearing his ceremonial uniform and appeared to trip on his sword and fall heavily to the floor, but did not appear hurt.

The Prince left the Army in June this year after completing two tours of Afghanistan during a 10-year career.

He seemed to enjoy walking around the parade ground, stopping at intervals to chat to students and present the five medals.

After the parade ceremony, Harry met some of the students and staff at a reception following a private tour of the school's chapel, and he chatted with sixth-form pupils.

The Prince gave some friendly advice to Harry Hodson, 15, who told him he was not planning to go into the military. The royal replied: "The Army's not for you? Let's talk about it."

Looking around to the group of students with the teenager, Harry asked about the influence of military families in career decisions: "Do you feel pressure to follow their path?"

The 15-year-old said after chatting to the Prince: "I said I was not going into the military, which seemed to be the wrong thing. I want to go into the media into TV production.

"He was saying, take your time, review all your options, then wait to decide what you will do."


From Belfast Telegraph