'Beautiful skin and incredible smile': What happened when the Queen visited a Dagenham school

Queen Elizabeth II speaks with pupils during a tour of Sydney Russell School in Dagenham, east London

Queen Elizabeth II speaks with pupils during a tour of Sydney Russell School in Dagenham, east London, in 2015. - Credit: PA

A school in Dagenham fondly remembers a visit from royalty in 2015. 

As the country gets set to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee next week, the headteacher of  Sydney Russell School has reminisced about when Her Majesty officially opened one of its then-newly refurbished buildings and met some of the pupils. 

Principle Clare Cross remembers the excitement when the royal car pulled up and the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh stepped out.

The royal couple walked through the refurbished atrium and into the playground, where nearly 2,000 students stood with flags to greet her. 

Pupils rode BMXs and took part in a game of ‘bike polo’ to amuse the Queen and her late husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, who were more familiar with the equestrian version. 

Headteacher of Sydney Russell School, Roger Leighton, with Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh in 2015

Then-headteacher of Sydney Russell School, Roger Leighton, showed Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh a bike polo bicycle during a tour - Credit: PA

The Queen and Duke also popped into a French lesson and heard a variety of musical performances.

Ms Cross said all the staff and students were dressed immaculately: “We were quite struck by how petite she is, her beautiful skin and incredible smile.

“For everyone who was there, it was a great moment in our school's history, and the pupils were elated.”

Queen Elizabeth II unveils a plaque during a tour of Sydney Russell School in Dagenham, east London.

Queen Elizabeth II unveils a plaque during a tour of Sydney Russell School in Dagenham in 2015. - Credit: PA

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