Addressed as Votre Majeste by a school girl, the 89-year-old monarch carries on a fluent conversation in the foreign language on Thursday

By Simon Perry
Updated July 16, 2015 04:50 PM
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Long live la Reine!

Queen Elizabeth went back to class on Thursday – and showed off her impressive foreign-language skills.

Dressed in a robin’s egg blue coat and matching hat, the Queen, 89, found herself chatting with a school girl en français during a school visit to an eastern borough of London.

As she walked into the classroom at Sydney Russell School in Dagenham, she was greeted with an enthusiastic welcome of "Bonjour, Votre Majeste". Then, 13-year-old Suvika Kumaravelu said, "Comment allez-vous"?

The Queen replied: "Tres bien, merci".

Suvika was holding a photograph of her Sri Lankan grandfather, Devasthan Samuel, and explained (in French!) how he shared a birthday with the Queen and that they used to exchange cards.

Without hesitation, the Queen replied, "Ah, vraiment"? And then, looking at the photograph, said, "Votre grand-pere"?

The monarch is known to be a strong French speaker and often dips into other languages when she is giving official addresses or having talks with other heads of state.

The Queen then listened to a presentation in French about former French President Charles de Gaulle, and the school s head teacher, Roger Leighton, told the children that Elizabeth would have known de Gaulle personally. “Very well,” the monarch added.

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Leighton told reporters later, “I said that he was an impressive man, but could be stubborn. She did not disagree. She said that he was an interesting man to deal with. Let’s leave it at that.”

The school visit was the Queen’s last public outing before she heads for her summer break at her Scottish estate, Balmoral.

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