Prince William visited Oxford yesterday, to see the results of three major investment projects in the city, including a new library at Magdalen College, and had a scholarship named in his honour.
The Royal guest was the exciting news for the day and more than 100 students gathered to watch The Duke of Cambridge arrive, while some looked on from their bedrooms, sleepily eating breakfast.
The Royal was given a tour by the president of the College, Professor David Clary before unveiling a plaque at the newly Extended Longwall Library at Magdalen College; the library was originally opened by Edward, Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII, in 1932 when he was a student at the college.
Speaking to students who raised money for the newly refurbished £11 million project, Prince William admitted that he did not often frequent the library at St Andrews, where he read geography and met his future wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge: “I can’t say I was a regular attender of libraries.” He achieved a 2:1 for his degree.
Dayna Hamilton, a third-year engineering student at Magdalen, spoke to the Duke. She explained he said he would have gone more often if he had a library like Magdalen’s.
It was then on to another library, this time Weston Library, part of the Bodleian Libraries, where William was to officially open the building after £80 million transformation. He was given a tour of the renovated special collections library, looking at a display of historical objects including the key that his great-grandfather, King George VI, used to first open the library in 1946, and an expertly restored red velvet bible of Henry VIII’s.
The Bodleian Libraries hold an incomparable collection of books and manuscripts and are also famous for their buildings, some of which have remained in continuous use since the Middle Ages.
On the subject of books, The Duke of Cambridge, 33, revealed his children’s favourite tale: The Gruffalo is loved by Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
Later, he officially opened Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government, meeting the students involved in the design of the building.
While touring the school, the Duke joked with one student who had taken a year off from working as a journalist at the BBC in Indonesia. He said he ‘wouldn’t hold it against [her]’.
William was also honoured with a scholarship in his name, which was announced before the plaque unveiling. The school’s Dean, Professor Ngaire Woods, made the announcement after the Duke’s short speech, in which he congratulated Leonard Blavatnik for his donation to the university which enabled the creation of the School of Government. William said he hoped the school would “inspire” students to make a “real, positive contribution to good government wherever they find themselves in the world”.
The Duke of Cambridge Scholarship will fully fund a British student to undertake a Masters degree in public policy at the school.