Queen backs poor on university trip

Andover Advertiser: The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh arrive at Royal Holloway, University of London The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh arrive at Royal Holloway, University of London

Poor people and the challenges they face "don't get reported often" and they need all the help they can get, the Queen said today.

An academic said she made the comment to him on a visit to Royal Holloway, University of London, celebrating the Diamond Jubilee Regius Professorship of Music, awarded by her in 2013.

Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen received a sunny springtime welcome from hundreds of students at the university in Egham, Surrey.

Professor David Simon from the department of geography said he told the Queen about his field which involves working with predominantly poor, marginalised people, particularly in Africa.

The academic said they also discussed the recent flooding chaos in England, how it affected the people caught up in it, and how people here are much more able to recover from challenges due to help such as insurance.

Prof Simon said the Queen told him: "Poor people and their problems don't get reported often, and they need all the assistance they can be given."

The royal couple were treated to a performance of music in the chapel before meeting students and staff in the picture gallery, where the Queen met Prof Simon.

James Gallimore, a current student at the university, was one of the singers who met Prince Philip after he performed for the royal couple.

The student described him as "an absolute character" who has "always something to say".

Mr Gallimore said it was a "once in a lifetime" experience, while fellow singer and graduate of the university Hilary Cronin described it as "magical".

The third singer completing their trio was Sarah Fox, a past student of the music department, and she said of the Duke's knowledge of music: "He totally knew what he was talking about."

The royal couple's knowledge of the subject was commented on by others during the visit, including Regius Professor of Music, Professor Julian Johnson.

"For most people to walk into an academic department and ask people about their work, most people would glaze over but I didn't see any of that," he said.

Prof Johnson said the questions the Queen asked his colleagues were "very incisive", and described the visit as a "tremendous success".

University principal Professor Paul Layzell said he noticed she was "very relaxed", adding: "She talked to everybody."

He described her as "a very knowledgeable woman" who can "hold a conversation with a huge cross-section" of people.

Dr Paul Harper-Scott from the department of music said: "She seemed very knowledgeable and inquisitive."

While Dr Mark Berry, also from the department of music, said he found that she has "a lively mind".

The Queen wore a peacock blue Peter Enrione dress and coat, a hat by Angela Kelly, and a brooch that belonged to Queen Mary.

Also in attendance was Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, who is MP for Runnymede and Weybridge.

The Regius Professorship of Music is a rare privilege recognising excellence in teaching and research.

The Queen unveiled a plaque marking the visit and Regius Professorship, and signed a book for distinguished visitors.

To mark the Diamond Jubilee, the Queen awarded a total of 12 Regius Professorships to university departments, in recognition of their exceptional standards of teaching and research.

This is the first time the honour has been bestowed on a department of music. Prof Johnson was appointed the first Regius Professor of Music in April last year.

The university has a history of royal associations dating back to 1886, when Queen Victoria presided over the opening ceremony of The Royal Holloway College.

In 1986, the Queen inaugurated the Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, following the merger of Royal Holloway and Bedford Colleges.

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