A GUARD of honour greeted the Earl and Countess of Wessex when they visited Holly Lodge School's jubilee summer fete on June 23.

They had been invited to officially open the school's new mathematics garden which had been built with the help of the Royal Engineers from Minley.

Headteacher Shalini Norman said her pupils "had been very excited and had eagerly awaited" the visit by the couple.

Edward and Sophie toured the stalls in the school grounds, with the countess trying her hand at a diablo game, and also filled a bottle with coloured crazy sand to keep as a memento from the visit.

They took an interest in the events happening at the school fete and spent time chatting to children and volunteers manning the stands.

The Earl of Wessex was invited to have a temporary tattoo embossed on his arm — but politely declined the offer from excited pupils.

After unveiling a plaque which will be displayed in the mathematics garden, the couple signed Holly Lodge's visitors' book to commemorate the time they spent at the school.

They were given front row seats as the school choir sung the love song My Heart Will Go On from hit movie Titanic for the couple, and watched a performance from the ribbon dancers.

Edward and Sophie looked amused and delighted when the school orchestra played Land of Hope and Glory to round off their visit.

Mrs Norman said: "The visit went very well. It's lovely to have the royal couple here."

She added that the visit had "added an even greater festival air" to the summer fete.

Headteacher Shalini Norman is pictured escorting the Earl and Countess of Wessex at Holly Lodge School.