PRINCE Edward practised his tennis swing in a royal rally with school pupils.

His Royal Highness the Earl of Wessex visited Radley College yesterday as part of a tour of 'real tennis' courts, in support of the Duke of Edinburgh Award (DofE).

Real tennis was an ancient precursor to lawn tennis, traditionally played on an indoor court with several unusual features.

Few remain, and the private boys' school near Abingdon is one of only a handful of UK schools to boast the facility.

Chris Ronaldson, a former real tennis world champion and head professional at Radley College's court, said: "We were delighted to welcome HRH The Earl of Wessex and see him challenge Radley boys and club members to a game.

"We wish the Earl every success with his real tennis campaign."

The visit coincided with the 10th anniversary of the school's real tennis court, opened by Prince Edward in 2008.

Prince Edward's tour aims to raise money for the DofE charity, of which HRH is a trustee, and engage a new generation of young people in the DofE.

The programme, founded by Prince Edward's father Prince Philip, is open to young people aged 14-24 and builds skills through various tasks covering volunteering, expedition and sport.

Pete Singleton, regional director of the DofE in the South East said: "HRH is passionate about supporting young people to reach their potential, whatever their background or circumstance.

"We are grateful for his dedication to the charity and taking on this challenge.

"The Earl’s enthusiasm for real tennis shows that the impact of a DofE Award really does last a lifetime."

While at Radley Prince Edward, the youngest of the Queen's four children, also opened the school's new sports facility, the McKenna Strength and Conditioning Centre.

HRH was expected to attend a DofE dinner at Blenheim Palace last night.

The tour will return to the county in November, with a visit to Oxford University's real tennis club at Merton College.