What the royal butler saw

29th April 2011 at 01:00
Palace servant turned SEN school head will share his memories of Prince William on the big day

Two decades ago he was busy dodging Prince William as he ran around the corridors of palaces playing "armies". Now a former butler to the Queen turned headteacher is looking forward to celebrating the royal wedding with children rather than corgis.

Michael Webster served the monarch and her family before fulfilling his ambition to work with children with special educational needs.

He will mark the wedding of William and Kate Middleton by sharing his experiences of working for the royal family with pupils, and hosting a "Britishness Day" with traditional sports and fish and chips.

Mr Webster's school - Wings in Milnthorpe, Cumbria - is one of many that will mark the wedding with special events.

In addition to watching the event on television, Mr Webster will be able to show his pupils at the independent residential school photographs and memorabilia of his time working for the royals.

As well as working at Buckingham Palace, Mr Webster accompanied the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to their other residences in the UK. They were frequently joined by the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of York, and the royal grandchildren.

"William and Harry were little boys, both were mischievous - exactly how you would expect," Mr Webster said.

"They were full of life, running around the corridors and playing at being in the army. The Queen was lovely, a very normal lady. She was always polite and respectful and was very hard-working.

"My duties mainly involved helping at banquets and garden parties. I will talk about this during our royal wedding assembly so children will know what's involved.

"I actually helped at the marriage of the Princess Royal in Scotland, but it wasn't anything like the state banquet Kate and William's wedding will be.

"I have former colleagues who are involved in doing royal tours around Britain for American tourists. But I felt it was important to step back from that life and do something different."

Mr Webster worked as an "under-butler" for the Queen from 1989 until 1992. But having always wanted to teach, he left his royal job to become a care worker for children with emotional difficulties in residential schools.

He then did a degree and trained as a teacher before starting work in special schools in the North West, becoming head of Wings in 2009.

Independent Marlborough College, where Kate was a pupil, will be holding a "Royal Friday" to raise money for charity. Lessons at the school, where boarding fees cost more than pound;29,000 a year, will end mid-morning, with pupils free to watch the wedding in their boarding houses before a royal lunch and fundraising in the afternoon.

Primary concern - Mistakey Katie

Tourist buses keen to cash in on the royal wedding have been visiting the school where Kate Middleton is claimed to have started her education - Bradfield CofE primary in Bradfield Southend, Berkshire.

But according to headteacher Andy How, Kate only attended a playgroup at the site, before moving to a private prep.

Camera crews from TV stations around the world have also approached the school for interviews.

"I have to tell them that Kate was never a pupil at our school," said Mr How. "As a member of the playgroup, Kate did use one of our classrooms, but her name does not appear on any of our registers."

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