Shakespeare’s romantic tale of Romeo and Juliet was brought to life by schoolchildren at Hampton Court Palace, where the playwright made his debut performance in front of royalty.

Pupils from St John the Baptist Primary School mesmerised the audience with their rendition of the play in original Shakespearean English.

The children, whose ages ranged from seven to 11, dressed in authentic style costumes of vibrant gold, silks and velvets and wore Venetian masks for the show on Wednesday, January 30.

The palace’s great hall, adorned with historic tapestries, was the ideal stage for the acrobats, dancers, musicians and swordsmen and the minstrel gallery the perfect place for Juliet to speak to Romeo.

Shakespeare made his first performance before King James I and his family in the very same hall in 1604.

Headteacher Susan Sawyer leads the Hampton Wick school’s drama club and said the children spent a lot of time working on diction and understanding of the plot.

She said: “In our workshops we think and act out the morals behind Shakespeare’s work, contextualising it in the children’s world today.

“After all, that is why Shakespeare stands the test of time, because he tackled the seemingly never-ending world issues, such as war, power and prejudice, but also of course love, laughter and peace.

“Our school motto is, ‘Go for it’ and these wonderful young people certainly live by that code. I feel honoured to be their headteacher.”

The school has worked with the palace for the past two years on various history, arts, maths and science projects.

Mrs Sawyer said: “Hopefully teachers and pupils around the country will see the wider opportunities this magnificent building can offer.”