FOLLOWING the death of The Duke of Edinburgh on Friday, his former school has shared the history of his long association with them since he was a pupil there in the 1930s.

Prince Philip’s last visit to Basingstoke and Deane was to Cheam School, in Headley, which is where he attended from 1930 to 1933.

Cheam School Association chairman William Kinnear, who is also a former pupil, explained that Prince Philip attended Cheam School prior to its relocation, when it was based in the village of Cheam in Surrey.

“He enjoyed his schooldays, and we know that during his years at Cheam he won a prize for mathematics in his first year and one for French the next,” he said, adding: “He also took part in a concert as a singer, but it was in sport that he excelled, making it into the football, rugby and cricket sides and playing in the 1st football team as goalkeeper.

“He also won the Under 12 hurdles, high jump, swimming, and diving trophies. However, he did not reach the top of the school, leaving at the age of 12 to continue his education at Salem in Germany.”

Prince Philip never forgot his preparatory school days and throughout his life remained interested in Cheam School, which moved to Headley in 1934.

In 1947 a reunion was held to commemorate Cheam’s tercentenary and say farewell to H.M.S Taylor, who had been Prince Philip’s headmaster, and his wife Ursula.

Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, as he was then known, attended the event and gave a speech, but kept quiet the secret that just four days later he would be announcing his engagement to Princess Elizabeth.

In 1952 the Cheam School Association was founded and the Duke of Edinburgh accepted the office of president, a position that he continued to hold until 1973, when he became patron and remained in this role for the rest of his life.

Mr Kinnear said: “This renewed link with the school may have helped persuade the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to send their son, Prince Charles, to Cheam in 1957. Prince Charles was at Cheam for five years, and during this time Prince Philip was often a visiting parent.”

He added: “His fondness for and interest in Cheam is reflected in the fact that he accepted the office of president of the Cheam School Association when it was founded in 1952.”

He said Prince Philip has always “shown a huge interest in the education of children at Cheam and how to get the best of them to give the ma good start in life. That is obviously borne out by the hugely successful Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme he subsequently established.”

Prince Philip wrote several forewords for books, magazines and cricket brochures produced by the school.

Staff were not forgotten in the guest lists of Buckingham Palace garden parties, which were enjoyed by many teachers who met the prince informally on such occasions.

When Prince Philip visited Cheam in 1996, he was given a guided tour and laid the foundation stone for a new science laboratory being built at the time.

Four years later he lent a piece of artwork painted by himself as part of an exhibition of paintings by former pupils to mark the millennium, and in 2003 he hosted a reception at St James’ Palace for the school.

His last visit to Cheam was in 2013 when he opened the art, design and technology building named The Duke of Edinburgh Building, creating a lasting link between the prince and the school.

Mr Kinnear, who met Prince Philip during his tour of the school in 2013, said: “This event proved to be the climax of his association with the school, and we are truly honoured and grateful for the part that he has played in Cheam’s history.

“He, in turn, served the school extremely well, always taking an interest in what was going on, and his loyalty and support stemmed in no small part from the stability that Cheam gave him as a boy, coming as he did from a troubled family background. His Cheam education provided him with the ideal grounding for his public life in the service of the country.”

He added: “Cheam was incredibly privileged to have had the benefit of such a long and meaningful association with Prince Philip, and he will be sorely missed.”