Anger at school party for ‘minor royal’ Camilla

The Duchess of Rothesay is greeted by Towerbank pupils. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA

The Duchess of Rothesay is greeted by Towerbank pupils. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA

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IT was the Royal visit aimed at helping the future monarch and his wife bond with residents in the Capital – but it has instead whipped up a mini-revolution.

A parent at Towerbank Primary in Portobello has sparked a Facebook storm after hitting out over the fact the school failed to ask him if his child could be taken out of class to meet Camilla, Duchess of Rothesay, during her tour of the seaside district.

This woman’s only qualification is that she sleeps with the queen’s son.”

Euan Johnston

Describing the Duchess as an “aristocratic minor royal” whose “only qualification is that she sleeps with the queen’s son”, Euan Johnston said presenting his child along with 99 other pupils on Tuesday amounted to a “political” attempt to reinforce Britishness.

The complaint comes after the Duchess, wife of Prince Charles, met a group of youngsters from Towerbank who had prepared a 20ft banner in her honour.

Teachers said they were released on the basis of start-of-year permissions, signed by all parents, which allow pupils to go on excursions approved by the school.

But in his post, Mr Johnston said: “I am really not happy that nobody asked me if my child could be taken to ‘welcome’ some aristocratic minor royal today.

“I am really unhappy about this. I think the concept of royalty is insulting to the rest of us and while I accept that the queen holds a constitutional position, this woman’s only qualification is that she sleeps with the queen’s son. I also think that in the current political context – after the queen broke her duty of neutrality in the referendum – that attempts at reinforcing Britishness are political.”

The post has prompted scores of comments from parents and residents.

Janet Jones said: “I would feel equally appalled and can completely understand that you would be angry and upset by this.

“I had no idea the school had any participation until I saw [the] post. I’m interested to know did they ask the children if they would like to go?”

Gillian Cummings said: “I think Towerbank is a fantastic school and I’ve got nothing but praise for the headteacher and the teaching staff, but I was really unhappy with the decision to participate in the royal visit this afternoon.

“I’ve got my own reasons, and I expect everyone else has got their own take on it.”

But the father of one child who met the duchess, and who asked not to be named, said that those complaining needed to “lighten up”.

“I’m no fan of the royals but the kids enjoyed it and I’m glad the school took the chance to organise something,” he said.

Sean Watters, outgoing chair of Towerbank Primary parent council, said many parents would feel it wasn’t an issue.

“It’s ludicrous to get that level of upset,” he said. “It’s not a big issue. As I am concerned, if you’re upset about it then you need to find something more important to be worried about.”

Education bosses said the decision to take Towerbank pupils out of school was fully compliant with current regulations, adding: “Pupils involved in the visit were subject to the relevant permissions to leave the school and to appear in photographs, which are signed by parents at the beginning of term.”

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com