Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 November 2019

Uni life: The excitement of having Prince William as a Cambridge student

There is one thing to look forward to when we do return to uni: having Prince William as a fellow student at Cambridge.

The holidays are almost over and I have no desire to exchange bright sunny days with grey, soggy afternoons. There is one thing to look forward to when we do return to uni, however: having Prince William as a fellow student at Cambridge.

Most of us still find fairy tales inexpressibly romantic. However progressive or feminist we pretend to be, we love the idea of a non-aristocrat, “common” girl falling in love with a Prince Charming and living happily ever after in a palace. Maybe that’s why everyone seems to adore the British royal family, especially since William and Kate’s wedding. Their popularity ratings only soared when the beaming couple emerged from the hospital in carefully pre-coordinated matching clothes with little Prince George. “Yay it’s a boy!” I remember a hysterical female classmate tweeting at the time. “I’ll wait for George – age is just a number!”

Now, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, is planning to study at Cambridge, which has made students here excited to say the least. He will be doing a 10-week agricultural management course, especially tailored for him by the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership. This will presumably help him run the Duchy of Cornwall, the sprawling estate he is to inherit.

He has arranged accommodation in town, happily for us. I can predict we will be wasting long periods of time trying to track him down to wangle photos, so we can display them on Facebook and collect lots of likes.

“First person to penny him wins,” blared a post online. Pennying is a tradition where you drop a penny into somebody else’s dessert at a formal dinner. The rules state that the other person must then eat it using only their mouths, hands behind their backs, with messy and entertaining results. A variation is dropping the penny into someone’s drink, which they must then down in one swallow. The posher the person, the more gratifying their humiliation and you don’t get much posher than a prince.

We also certainly wouldn’t mind having his family pay him visits, so we can scrounge for opportunities to copy Kate’s style, or coo over George’s adorable chipmunk cheeks. Will’s gran would be a very welcome visitor, too; the Queen hit it big in the coolness stakes when she appeared in a James Bond sketch for the London Olympics.

Not every student at Cambridge is thrilled at the news, though. There are plenty of ominous mutterings about all the tourists who are going to flock to town on Wills’ account. There are far too many concerned mothers milling about colleges scouting universities for their children, or families raptly listening to the punters’ historical accounts of the city (these are mostly made-up or heavily embellished for the tourists’ benefit). People are understandably grumbling that “more tourists are the last thing we need”.

Still, there’s one visitor we certainly won’t mind having here. It’s Prince Harry we’re angling for most ferociously, now that he’s returned from an expedition to the South Pole for the charity Walking with the Wounded. How nice of him. Besides, he’s the only unmarried guy left among the royal lot who’s not a burbling infant.

The writer is an 18-year-old student at Cambridge who grew up in Dubai

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Updated: January 11, 2014 04:00 AM

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