Royal visit launches 600th anniversary

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St Andrews was in the international media spotlight on 25 February as His Royal Highness Prince William and Kate Middleton returned to the University for the launch of the 600th Anniversary celebrations.

The Royal visit marked Prince William’s first role as official patron of the University’s 600th Anniversary appeal. It was also the couple’s first official engagement in Scotland.

The Prince and Miss Middleton began the visit by attending a private reception at University House where they met with University officials. The couple then went to the Museum of the University of St Andrews, where they viewed the last surviving Papal Bull. The Papal Bull is one of a set of six that were issued by Pope Benedict XIII in 1413 as a mark of St Andrews reaching full university status.

Following the museum the couple walked past their former hall of residence, St Salvator’s, to reach St Salvator’s Quadrangle, where a crowd of students, staff and media was assembled. University ambassadors ushered the 600 students and staff who were chosen by ballot after applying online for a ticket to the event.

Sir Menzies Campbell, Chancellor of the University, opened the proceedings by welcoming the Prince and Miss Middleton and introducing Principal and Vice-Chancellor Louise Richardson. Principal Richardson then gave a speech highlighting the history of the University and looking forward to the future by explaining that the 600th Anniversary celebrations will be aimed at launching a £100 million fundraising campaign that will “ensure that a St Andrews education is affordable to everyone smart enough to be admitted” and “that future leaders of this university can invest in innovative ideas and attract the best researchers and the best teachers from around the world.”

Prince William followed the Principal and began by saying he felt as though the crowd in the Quad could recreate Raisin Sunday. He added that for Miss Middleton and himself, coming back to St Andrews was “like coming home.”

The Prince continued to say that “knowing that so many of Scotland’s finest brains and greatest achievers gained – and continue to gain – inspiration” from St Andrews made him proud to be Patron of the University’s 600th Anniversary Appeal. After wishing the University a happy birthday the Prince and Principal Richardson unveiled a plaque commemorating the anniversary.

Exiting the Quad the couple stopped to speak to groups of students, staff and University officials before reaching North St. where they met students and members of the public.

Natalie Hazlehurst and Emily Griffiths, both third years, spoke to the Prince, who said to them, “less drinking, more dinner parties.” Hayley Coupe, also a third year, said that both Will and Kate were lovely and very friendly. Many students who spoke to the couple were immediately interviewed by the BBC, NBC and STV.

Andreea Nemes

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