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By David Palmer
Hundreds of well-wishers lined the streets to give the Duchess of Cambridge a right royal welcome on her first visit to Oxford. The crowds waved banners and flags and offered the Duchess posies of flowers. Kate visited Rose Hill Primary School and then Oxford Spires Academy in her official role as patron of The Art Room charity.
More than 200 people turned out to cheer the 30-year-old as she stepped from her blue Jaguar at the gates of Rose Hill Primary School wearing a smart brown Orla Kiely coat dress and brown ankle boots.
It was just her second solo engagement. Royal watcher Muriel Robinson, 77, from Headington was determined to witness the Duchess’s visit to Oxford. She said: “I’ve met Prince Charles, the Queen and Princess Anne and I’ve shaken hands with Princess Diana.
“I came to see Kate, I wouldn’t miss it. I think she’s doing very well indeed as a royal. The way she dresses is beautiful.” Comfort and Adetola Otunba with their two-year-old Joshua were there with Abimbola Solebo and her three-year-old son Malachi to catch a glimpse of the royal visitor as she stepped out of the car.
Mr Otunba said: “My daughter Sharon who is six goes to the school and she was Kate when the school acted out the Royal wedding.”
Inside the school gates the Duchess greeted dignitaries including Thames Valley Police chief constable Sara Thornton and Mark Thompson, director-general of the BBC and trustee of the charity, before chatting to lines of flag-waving pupils, taking a rose from Abi Adu-Boateng, 10, and Aleksander Besevic, 11.
At Oxford Spires Kate was again given an enthusiastic welcome by jubilant crowds and was met by head teacher Sue Croft. The entire school – more than 1,000 pupils – lined up outside to welcome the Duchess.
Oxford Spires pupil Eleanor Oxendale, 12, greeted her with a tub of red and blue tulips in a box pupils had made with postage stamps. She said: “She was really nice and talkative. She asked me who made the box. I was a bit nervous but she was really interested in what we do in The Art Room.”
Eleven-year-old Saif Omer was one of the youngsters she exchanged a few words with. He said: “She asked me how old I was and which house I was in. She is a very nice woman. Seeing her here is like a dream come true.”
Headteacher Mrs Croft said: “The children have been hugely excited and they all feel so proud she has visited this school.”
Article and photos courtesy of the Oxford Mail, Photos (in order), Antony Moore, Jon Lewis, Jon Lewis, Chris Radburn