King Charles becomes Patron of Gordonstoun alumni association

Charles attended the Scottish school in the 1960s

To mark the first anniversary of his Coronation, King Charles has become Patron of the Gordonstoun Association, which aims to strengthen the links between the the school and its former students and staff.

While The King was a student at Gordonstoun, the new role for His Majesty marks his first official link with the school. He has remained a supporter of the school and even chose four pipers from the school to welcome him to St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh for the Honours of Scotland ceremony as part of his Coronation celebrations.

Charles attended Gordonstoun school from 1962 and 1967. (Gordonstoun)

Charles was a student at Gordonstoun, located on the north Scottish coast, 1962-1967. He left the school as House Captain and Guardian (Head Boy) with five O-levels in English Language, English Literature, History, Latin and French, which he followed with 2 A-levels in History and French. The qualifications which secured him a place to study archaeology and anthropology at Trinity College, Cambridge University.

During his time at Gordonstoun, Charles developed a passion for painting (a hobby he continues today), Shakespeare and classical music and even played the lead in a production of Macbeth. Charles also displayed his musical abilities, where he played the trumpet, cello, sang in a madrigal choir and was a member of the debating society.

It is well-known that The King wasn’t happy about attending the school. As documented in letters, he noted ‘it’s such hell here especially at night. I don’t get any sleep practically at all nowadays. The people in my dormitory are foul. Goodness they are horrid, I don’t know how anyone could be so foul. They throw slippers all night long or hit me with pillows or rush across the room and hit me as hard as they can, then beetle back again as fast as they can, waking up everyone else in the dormitory at the same time. It’s such a HOLE this place!’

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Charles didn’t like to school when he first attended. (Gordonstoun)

However, speaking to the House of Lords, in 1975, Charles commented of his time at the school: ‘I am always astonished by the amount of rot talked about Gordonstoun and the careless use of ancient cliches used to describe it. It was only tough in the sense that it demanded more of you as an individual than most other schools did – mentally or physically. I am lucky in that I believe it taught me a great deal about myself and my own abilities and disabilities.’

Prince Philip joined the school aged 13 in 1934. It was his time at the School that later made him want to sent his three sons (Charles, Andrew & Edward) to the School. At the time, Gordonstoun was an all-boys school, which meant Princess Anne did not attend, but she was able to send Peter and Zara when it became coeducational.

Gordonstoun School in Morayshire

Gordonstoun School in Morayshire (NairnBairn/creative commons/Flickr)

Gordonstoun Principal Lisa Kerr said: ‘We are honoured that His Majesty has accepted Patronage of the Gordonstoun Association. As our most prominent former student, His Majesty exemplifies so many of the qualities we seek to instil in our students, notably a lifelong commitment to service.

‘That His Majesty has chosen a Patronage of our alumni body is a great honour both for the school and all members of the Gordonstoun Association. We look forward to His Majesty’s engagement and support with the Association and its members in the years to come.’

Heather Woodward, Chairwoman of the Gordonstoun Association, added: ‘The aim of the Gordonstoun Association is to promote and strengthen pupils’ links with each other and the school. There is no person more suited than The King to highlight the unique experience of what it means to be a former student of Gordonstoun and I am therefore delighted that His Majesty has accepted Patronage of the Gordonstoun Association.

‘Although it’s almost 60 years since His Majesty attended Gordonstoun, his duty to service is an example of how the ethos and values of the school teaches students to think about others rather than themselves. We are looking forward to engaging with The King on his views on how we can further the aims of the Association.’

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