A COLLEGE received a royal visitor yesterday ahead of a charity visit to Eastern Europe.

Princess Helen of Romania, who now lives with her English husband near Durham, visited Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College, in Darlington, after hearing about plans by students to travel to her homeland to build community housing.

The group of 18 students and two teachers will travel to Brasov, in the Transylvania region of Romania, next month to build housing for some of the country’s poorest people.

Princess Helen contacted teacher Nancy Wall, who is organising the trip, to pass on her thanks and arranged to visit pupils to explain more about the situation in her country.

In a letter to pupils Princess Helen said: “All too often do we read about young people being a nuisance, anti-social or engaging in criminal activity and it is wonderful to read about responsible young people raising the money to engage with a worthwhile cause. “Such young people are of course, in the majority, but your students are exceptional. Good community housing in Romania is an urgent necessity and it is something my husband, Alexander has a particular interest in.”

Princess Helen is second in the line of succession to the leadership of the Romanian Royal Family, a constitutional monarchy,followed by her son, and, as a descendant of Queen Victoria, she and her children are in the line of succession to the British Throne.

College principal Tim Fisher said: “It’s been a tremendous visit, the students have been thrilled to spend time with a member of the Romanian royal family.

“It’s been a pleasure to meet them and an inspiration for the students. We are determined to make the project a success but we also hope to make sure this is just the start of a longer term project to support the work that’s needed in Romania.”