PRINCE Philip’s former school in Headley has paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh following his death yesterday aged 99.

The Duke was a pupil at the prestigious Cheam School, now in Ashford Hill, and was also the patron of the Cheam School Association (CSA).

His son, Prince Charles, also attended the preparatory school.

Prince Philip’s last visit to the borough was to Cheam School in 2013 when he opened a new £3.5million art, design, and technology department.

Releasing a statement following the Duke’s death, Cheam School said its community “wish to express our great sadness at the news of the passing of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh”.

It added: “We are very proud to have him as an old boy of the school and as patron of the CSA, the society for old boys and girls of the school, which he supported so fondly.

“He demonstrated many values cherished by the school, embodied in his lifelong dedication and energy given to public service.

“Our thoughts and prayers are now with the Royal Family, especially her Majesty the Queen, whom the Prince supported for over seven decades.”

Prince Philip visited Cheam School on November 22, 2013, 80 years after he left.

He was given a tour of his former school after being greeted by former Hampshire Lord-Lieutenant Dame Mary Fagan and former headmaster Mark Johnson, along with the deputy mayor of Basingstoke and Deane at the time, Councillor Roger Gardiner.

However, Clare Kinnear, who works at the school, recalls him taking a detour resulting in her unexpectedly meeting the prince.

She told the Gazette: “He had a wonderful sense of humour. There was a wonderful tour organised for him for his visit to Cheam but typical Prince Philip he liked a diversion so I met him unintentionally and we had a wonderful chat.

“My husband, William Kinnear, who is chair of the Cheam School Association, met him on a formal basis and he opened the new building.”

Whilst at Cheam School, he visited its own museum and met with a fellow former pupil, World War II spitfire pilot Jimmy Taylor, who was at the school with Prince Philip in 1933.

The royal VIP opened the new department block, named the Duke of Edinburgh Building, in the presence of staff, pupils and parents who supported the successful £1m appeal to raise the money for the project.

Cheam School was founded in 1645 in Cheam, Surrey, before moving to its present site in 1934, just after Prince Philip left.

Based in nearly 100 acres of countryside, it offers boarding and day education for boys and girls aged three to 13.

Prior to his visit to Cheam, The Duke of Edinburgh also visited Basingstoke and Deane in 2000 to officially open Milestones Museum.