The news that the Duke of Cambridge will spend a term studying a “bespoke” course in agriculture at Cambridge University has prompted a backlash from other students who resent him being given a “free pass” when they had to work so hard to get there.
But this isn’t the first time aristocrats have used their connections to gain entry to namesake seats of learning says Jason Simms, a local author and expert on the education of Britain’s nobility.
“One example that most people will remember was when the 5th Earl of South Bank side-stepped London South Bank University’s entry requirements to do a foundation course in Psychology, but there is in fact a much longer tradition of royals choosing to study at universities that have the same name as them.”
In his new book on the subject, Simms also tells the story of the Duchess Anglia Ruskin, who was able to jump the queue to enrol on a Media & Fingerpainting course at Anglia Ruskin University.
Another chapter details Baron Open, who took a specially prepared diploma course in Dinosaurs at the Open University, and then there’s the infamous Marquess of Dunstable Metropolitan who gained a BTEC in Spoons at the College of the same name.
As well as pointing out that Prince William is merely the latest in a long line of Lords a-leaping the UCAS system to access higher education at establishments that share their names, Simms also reminded whining Cambridge students that the chances of them ever applying for the same job as the Duke were negligible, so their Oxbridge educations would not be devalued in any real way.
“It’s important that the students at Cambridge University move on and stop harping about what they got in their ruddy A-levels. They need to realise that the whole concept of hereditary monarchy is based on not having to work hard to get where you are. Otherwise they are going to shit their beds when William inherits the country.”