Pupils give Harry a royal grilling

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Published: Monday 11th May 2015 by The News Editor

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Prince Harry was put on the spot when a group of New Zealand schoolchildren grilled him on issues from the intricacies of the British monarchy to whether or not he lives in a castle.

The youngsters at Halfmoon Bay School on Stewart Island turned the spotlight on to the Prince during an assembly performance they gave him.

Harry had spent the night on the remote island after enjoying a rowdy pub quiz with residents.

One girl asked him what he was going to get newborn niece Princess Charlotte and he replied he had been given lots of teddies and toys during his time in the country.

He then asked her if she thought it would be OK for him to take those things and claim he had got them for her himself.

Next up were questions about why his granddad was not called king despite being married to the Queen and whether or not he lived in a castle.

He said: “That’s a very good question, because he’s there to support her and rather than bearing the responsibility 50-50, he would prefer to support her and be there for the rest of her life.

“Sadly I don’t live in a castle and I don’t even own a crown either, but you do,” he told the children, some of whom sported paper crowns. “The Queen has a castle, which is pretty cool.”

One of the boys asked Harry what he had enjoyed most about Stewart Island and he said: “No traffic, peace and quiet, beautiful sunrises, a school that’s small that means you get more attention from the teachers so you’ll turn out to be geniuses.

“If I was in your position I’d think I’d love to be on Stewart Island because your teacher knows exactly who you are and listens to you.”

One shy questioner was unable to find his voice when his turn came, so Harry offered to read it for him and jumped up to take his piece of paper.

But when he saw that it asked: “Do you have to go to war?” he said: “No wonder you didn’t want to ask it.”

He then replied: “If you are in the armed forces then yes you do, you serve your country and if you have to go to war that’s where you have to go.”

The performance from the children also saw them give readings for him and play the song Ring Of Fire.

Earlier, in a different classroom, he admitted he could not speak any German and revealed his headmaster at Eton told him “not to bother” trying to learn Spanish.

During a Skype lesson with German teacher Stephanie Michel from her home near Auckland, almost 800 miles away, Harry told her: “I’m very sorry that I don’t speak any German.”

Ms Michel asked him: “How should I address you, as Your Royal Highness?” The Prince replied: “Just Harry, Harry is fine. Harry with a German accent.”

As pupils from other remote parts of New Zealand greeted him in German with mixed results, Harry giggled before adding: “I don’t know why I’m laughing, it’s better than what I can do.”

He told the online class: “I learned French at school but I’ve forgotten almost all of it. I’m sorry.

“I really wanted to learn Spanish, but my headmaster told me not to bother. I wish I could speak German.”

He advised the youngsters: “Repetition the whole time and writing stuff down. The only way I could remember stuff was by visualising it and memorising that.”

As he left the school all the children lined up and he made his way down the line shaking their hands.

The next stop in his trip will see him fly to Christchurch, as the week-long visit continues.

Published: Monday 11th May 2015 by The News Editor

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