HRH The Duke of York flew into Tidworth on Tuesday morning to perform the official opening of the Wellington Academy.

During his visit he met dignitaries, chatted to staff and students and enjoyed a whistlestop tour of the showpiece £32m facility before watching a song and dance performance in the academy’s theatre.

He addressed the whole academy, which gathered together for the first time, the 855 students lining the building’s balconies and staircases to get a glimpse of the Queen’s second son.

He told them to make the most of the opportunities that the facility offered and that any school is like a three-legged stool, with parents, students and staff each making up one leg of the stool in order for it to work as a whole.

But it was the academy’s principal, Andy Schofield, who raised the biggest laugh when introducing student Claire Stevens for the award for highest academic achievement.

Instead of referring to the new award as The Duke of York Award for achievement the familiar words “Duke of Edinburgh’s Award” slipped out – causing much hilarity.

“I am very much my father’s son, but there are limits,” joked the Prince, who as president of the Academy, was clearly delighted at the progress of the school and pledged to return before too long.

Principal Andy Schofield said: “We are delighted to welcome our president, the Duke of York, to our new school. We hope it won’t be long before he comes back to see us again.”

The Academy can accommodate 1,150 students aged 11 to 19.