Princess Anne 'shocked' after 11 children die in fire at Uganda school before she was due to visit

Princess Anne had planned to visit the school during her four-day visit to Uganda

Princess Anne Uganda fire
(Image credit: Getty)

Princess Anne has expressed her 'shock' over the tragic death of 11 children after a fire broke out at a school in Uganda, which she was due to visit on Friday.

  • The Princess Royal has released a statement over the “tragic loss of life” following a fire that killed 11 children at a school for the blind in Uganda that she was due to visit on Friday.
  • The children, aged between seven and ten, died in the blaze at Salama School for the Blind in Mukono, east of Kampala, in the early hours of Tuesday. 
  • Princess Anna said the victims and their families are in her "thoughts and prayers". 

11 pupils died and at least six more were severely injured at the Salama School for the Blind earlier this week, and Princess Anne, who was due to visit the school on Friday, has released a statement expressing her shock at the tragic event.

The statement read, "I was shocked to hear the news of the tragic loss of life. The work of Sense International across many countries is hugely appreciated, working with such a vulnerable group of children. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and staff.”

Princess Anne - who was due to visit the school during her four day trip to Uganda in her capacity as patron of Sense International, which supports several children who are learning workplace skills - has now canceled the visit. She and her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, will now visit the charity at its head office in Kampala. 

Princess Anne

(Image credit: Getty)

She will use the occasion to pay her respects for the lives lost, Buckingham Palace have said, and also meet charity representatives and families Sense International supports.

The fire is believed to have started in a dormitory for 17 girls, at a barred window that prevented the children from escaping, and police are now investigating the cause of the blaze. 

Major General James Birungi, chief of military intelligence, suggested that Princess Anne’s impending visit was one of several potential motives being investigated as they worked to determine whether foul play was involved.

Princess Anne

(Image credit: Getty)

“All that is currently said are allegations, we have heard the school has had some land wrangles, some internal management misunderstandings and now visiting of the princess, they are all speculations that will take us to the exact cause,” he told Uganda Radio Network (URN).

Princess Anne’s visit to Uganda marks the country's 60th anniversary of independence from Britain earlier this month. It is her first overseas tour since the death of her mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on September 8.

On Wednesday evening, the Princess paid a tribute to her mother when she wore a sapphire and pearl brooch that had belonged to the late monarch at a dinner that she and Sir Tim attended at the British High Commissioner's Residence in Kampala. 

Robyn is a celebrity and entertainment journalist and editor with over eight years experience in the industry. As well as contributing regular to woman&home, she also often writes for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman's Weekly and The Sun.