LITTLE Ellie Kaye stole the heart of a Royal on a Huddersfield school’s day in the sun.
Ellie, nine, met Sophie, Countess of Wessex, on a visit to Castle Hill School yesterday.
The Countess, looking stunning in a red pleated dress cut just above the knee, was greeted with brilliant sunshine and big smiles.
The Countess, a mother-of-two, met youngsters, teachers and staff outside the school but it was almost too much for pony-tailed Ellie.
The Golcar girl hugged the Countess, wrapping her arms around her neck – then promptly burst into tears.
The Countess bent down to comfort Ellie, who then hugged her again before grasping the Royal’s hand and refusing to let go.
The Countess had to give her handbag to an aide as she continued her walkabout hand-in-hand with Ellie.
Afterwards Ellie, who also admired the Royal’s shoes, said: “That lady’s my friend.”
Asked what she thought of the Countess she beamed: “She’s cute!”
The Countess flew in by helicopter from Leeds and landed in the grounds of the nearby Newsome High School to an impromptu welcome from flag-waving students.
During the near two-hour visit the Countess had lunch, toured classrooms and took part in a special ‘sign and sing’ assembly.
Finally she unveiled a plaque to commemorate her visit.
Ellie, who is 10 next month, was born with an abnormal chromosome which affects her height and growth.
Mum Dawn, 49, told the Examiner her daughter’s exploits were no surprise.
“She is very mischievous and does things like that all the time.
“She is very loving and everybody at school loves her back.
“The school are wonderful with her. When she started aged five she couldn’t walk or talk and now she can do both. She has come a long way in a short time.”
Dawn said she, dad Roy, 58, and big sister Reanan, 25, were all proud of Ellie.
Another youngster to touch the heart of the Countess was four-year-old Yasir Sarwar, of Longroyd Bridge.
Yasir, wearing a T-shirt with the slogan ‘Handsome Like My Dad’, shook pom-poms as the Countess came to speak to him.
Yasir’s teacher Miss Zoe Parker said: “Yasir loved every minute and we all thought the Countess was lovely.”
Head of primary Mrs Ali Hayes-Smith said staff had been nervous at the prospect of the visit but need not have worried.
“The Countess was very welcoming,” she said. “She made us all feel at our ease and she took time with every child. She was so natural and relaxed.”
The school’s headteacher Mrs Gill Robinson told how she invited the Countess to visit because of her known love for children.
Mrs Robinson found out about the visit in January but had to keep it secret until six weeks ago.
The school has 99 pupils with learning difficulties, aged between three and 19.
“It was a fantastic day and one we’ll never forget,” said Mrs Robinson.