Excited children, parents and teachers gathered under the morning sun in a playground today as they eagerly awaited the arrival of their school’s first royal visitor in 30 years.

Joseph Clarke School in Vincent Road, Highams Park welcomed the patron of its trust to officially open their building’s new extension.

HRH Princess Michael of Kent, who is married to the grandson of King George V, greeted jubilant youngsters as they jumped up and down and waved flags.

The royal praised the school, which caters for visually impaired children and those with additional needs, for using “modern” ways to teach youngsters.

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After popping into a classroom, the Princess met with Year 6 pupil Kevin who demonstrated for her how he uses the BrailleNote Touch in his lessons.

She even suggested he contact the manufacturers to give them advice on how they can improve the device.

“I was so inspired upstairs seeing what the children do on the computers,” she said.

“Thank you so much for having me here again.”

The school of 103 learners caters for primary, secondary and sixth form students and also has a nursery onsite.

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It was founded in 1918 and the Princess first visited in 1988 to unveil its latest building.

Town crier and Guinness World Record holder Alan Myatt was on hand to keep parents entertained as they waited for the plaque to be unveiled.

Wayne and Nicola Anderson of Dagenham were beaming with pride as they watched their daughter Lillie, seven, present the special guest with a bouquet of flowers.

“It was amazing,” said Mr Anderson.

“She did a good job and it was a very proud moment for us. When we heard she was doing it we knew we had to make the trip here.”

“It was lovely to see and it will be a memory forever,” added Mrs Anderson.

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Elena Tsoneva, who is originally from Bulgaria and now lives in Barkingside, said her 18-year-old daughter Yoana couldn’t contain her excitement ahead of the visit.

She said: “The school explained to her a princess was coming and she was so happy.

“She loves to dress up and she wore a red dress – her favourite colour.

“It’s a very supportive school and she loves it here.”

Jane Paul of Highams Park praised the school’s 60 staff members for organising the event.

Her 14-year-old son Tyler attended the nursery as a toddler before progressing into the primary school.

“It’s the best school that my son could be at,” she said.

“He’s been here since he was two-and-a-half and he’s come out of himself so much.

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“He was quite excited about the visit and it’s good for him even if he doesn’t understand it.”

In 2014, the school joined with Whitefield Schools in Walthamstow’s MacDonald Road to become Whitefield Academy Trust.

The trust’s CEO Elaine Colquhoun said: “The visit means a recognition for all the hard work that goes into designing a school for the visually impaired.”

Chairman Caroline Sheppard added: “We are thrilled to welcome the princess back here 30 years to the day she was last here because she is a keen patron of the school and the students are all delighted to meet her.”

For Cllr Yemi Osho it was one of her last engagements beforee her years as Mayor of Waltham Forest draws to a close next week.

Summing up the event, she said: “It’s been an absolutely amazing day and I was really inspired by all the talented children.”

Head teacher Isobel Cox called the day “the highlight of my career” and expressed her excitement for the future of the school.