A Sri Lankan Anglican school founded in 1872 by a priest working for the Church Missionary Society was this week visited by the Earl and Countess of Wessex – Prince Edward and his wife Sophie. Trinity College in Kandy was founded as the Kandy Collegiate School by the Revd Richard Collins in what was then British Ceylon. Prince Edward, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II is visiting Sri Lanka with his wife on behalf of the Queen as part of celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the country’s independence.
When the school was founded, “the missionaries took into their ambit the best of our indigenous culture,” the college says on its website. “Today it is one of the leading schools in the country and boasts a rich heritage. “ While the school was founded in 1872, its roots date back to 1818 when the first missionaries from Britain penetrated the Kandyan Kingdom and established “an elementary school of humble proportions.”
Yesterday’s visit began at the Junior School gate where the Earl and Countess were met by the Principal, Andrew Fowler-Watt. They were welcomed by the Junior School’s traditional drum troupe procession which led them in to the school where they were met by the Cub Scouts.
“The Earl and Countess spoke to many junior school students throughout the visit and they happily and confidently engaged with the royal guests,” the school said. “The Earl and Countess were shown around an arts and science exhibition in the lobby of the Oorloff Building. Afterwards, they opened the new ‘Trinity College London A Level Section’.”
The royal visitors moved on to the college chapel, where the College Cadet Corps formed a guard of honour. The college choir led the singing of “God Save the Queen” before the Master, Shihan Maharoof, gave a talk on the history of the Trinity Chapel, and the coats and arms of the British colleges carved on the pillars. Later, the choir sang the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah.
Before moving on to the chapel lawn for a performance by the Kandyan Dance Troupe, the Earl and Countess signed the same College Guest Book that Queen Elizabeth II signed when she visited Trinity College in 1954.