'Built by the Queen of England: dedicated to the Queen of Heaven'
Priory School moved to a new site in February 2012, Whippingham School, which was the school designed by Prince Albert and built by Queen Victoria in 1864 for the children of the staff who worked on the Osborne Estates. The freehold purchase was completed in September 2012.
Priory School is an independent day school for boys and girls from 4-18 years, founded in 1993, and, although non-denominational, is run with a distinct Christian ethos. It welcomes children of all faiths and none and has among its pupil body Christian, Jewish, and Muslim pupils as well as those of other faiths and beliefs.
St Mildred's, a Saxon foundation but re-built by Prince Albert, hosts the school services and is in effect the school 'chapel'. It is within easy walking distance.
The School will be blessed by the chaplain Rev Alan Swanborough on Monday October 8th in the presence, and with the assistance, of other representatives of the Christian Church and of the island mosque and others.
Just before the school left its previous site at Shanklin, the Principal Edmund Matyjaszek presented to the school a large print of the Wilton Diptych obtained from the National Gallery in London as an emblem and guarantor of the school's ethos.
The Wilton Diptych, completed about 1395, depicts King Richard II formally handing England to Mary, the Mother of Christ. It confirms and commemorates the dedication of England to her, whom Christians understand to be the Mother of God, as her 'dowry' (from the Latin word dos or gift/donation).
The picture, for the purposes of the school, operates at 7 levels:as a royal pictureas English Historyfor Christians as the mother of Godfor Jews as a Jewish maidenfor Muslims as the mother of one of their prophetsuniversally as mother and sonif all that fails, as a beautiful work of art!
The Diptych will hang in the school hall as a reminder of the two realms of the material and the spiritual, the development of both in the child being the proper concern of a rounded education.
It is fitting in a school built by a previous Queen of England to have a picture of the Queen of Heaven to whom in earlier times England was formally entrusted by royal decree.