Founded by Sir Henry and Lady Honoria Lawrence, Sanawar is believed to be the first co-educational boarding school in the world. On the 15th of April 1847, a group of 14 boys and girls camped at the top of the foothills of the Himalayas. They lived under canvas for some weeks, anxiously waiting for the first buildings to be completed before the arrival of the monsoon. Thus did Sanawar come into existence. By 1853 the strength had grown to 195 pupils and it was then the School was presented with the King's Colours. It was one of the only six schools and colleges ever to be so honoured in the entire British Empire, the others being Eton, Shrewsbury, Cheltenham, the Duke of York's Royal Military School and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. Sanawar has held its Colours for the longest unbroken period. From its Foundation, the financial burden of the School was borne by Sir Henry until his death in 1857, when the government assumed responsibility for the finances as a mark of esteem to his memory. Under these arrangements, control of the School passed from the 'Honourable Board of Directors' to the Crown. This is the most unusual arrangement, not repeated in any English Public School.
The tradition of military training at Sanawar has always been strong and of such a high standard that several contingents of boys were enlisted from the School and sent straight to the battlefields of the Great War. In appreciation of this, the School was re designated in 1920 as the "Lawrence Royal Military School". In 1922, the Prince of Wales personally presented the School with new Colours. The School Colours continue to this day to be trooped at the Founder's Celebration in early October. Sanawar pupils continue to make a major contribution to the defense of the country.
The first impressions of the school were over-whelming, every thing was on a grand scale; its estate; its buildings; and above all its spirit which is impossible to define.Over the years Sanawar has developed into a leading public school. However it has retained the strenuous simplicity and humane but martial spirit of its early days. Pride in their school has been an outstanding characteristic of all age-groups, boys and girls. They were the first school ever, including schools in the United Kingdom - to have been awarded the King's Colours as far back as 30 June, 1853. They were All India Boxing Champions, All Empire Shooting Champions, they were drafted straight into the fighting line without any Preliminary Training…. They were trained already… They were Sanawarians.