Published 7 February 2019

Last week The Princess Royal visited students, local factories and The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), during her busy two day visit to Northern Ireland.

Her Royal Highness began her trip by visiting Foyle College, which was formerly visited by The Duke of Kent back in 1969. The Princess is an avid supporter of schooling and education and during her first engagement, back in 1969,  she opened an educational and training centre in Shropshire.

Foyle College can trace its origins all the way back to 1617 when a Free Grammar School was established in the city. It previously operated on two sites half a mile apart before the new build was constructed on the former Clooney military base in Londonderry. The Princess Royal enjoyed a tour of the £24m renovation before unveiling a plaque to mark the official opening. Over 800 pupils now attend the school which includes new teaching accommodation, grass pitches, synthetic tennis courts and a 3G pitch.

Her Royal Highness met with students recording their compositions in the recording studio, spoke with The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme leaders, classes excavating a World War Two Spitfire and P38 Lightning in County Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland as well as A-Level students working on their DT projects.

The Princess Royal went on to visit Ballykelly Primary School, as fourth warden of The Fishmongers’ Company, DAERA Headquarters and the new Coleraine Library.

On the second day, The Princess went to Boyd Bedding and Elite Electronics factory before concluding her mini-tour with a visit to the Equine College at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) Campus, Enniskillen.

The Princess Royal is renowned for her love of horses and equestrian career, during which she competed in the Montreal Olympic Games in 1976.

Agriculture programmes have been developed to cater for more than 2000 local farmers at Enniskillen Campus since 1967. Since 1998, over 800 young people have qualified with Diplomas or Degrees from Enniskillen.

During her visit, The Princess attended the Riding Simulator Room, where she viewed students riding the robotic horses and learnt of how the horses are used for fitness as well as technique. She later visited the indoor arena where she witnessed a musical riding demonstration and dressage demonstration.