Backlash at Cambridge over Prince William’s ‘free pass’ to study there

If he was expecting a hero’s welcome from fellow students when he begins a course at Cambridge University next week, the Duke of Cambridge may have to think again.

The news that the Duke will spend a term studying a “bespoke” course in agriculture 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.

In its report on the Duke’s imminent arrival, the university student newspaper The Tab pointed out that: “Normally students need A*AA at A-level to gain entry to Cambridge University, whilst the Prince only achieved a mediocre ABC.

“Conveniently though for Will, he is the registered benefactor of the department he will be studying at.”

In fact, the Prince of Wales, not the Duke, is the Patron of the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership, part of the university’s School of Technology, which organised the Duke’s course.

Melissa Berrill, who graduated with a degree in French and German last year, said admitting the Duke was “an insult to every student, whatever their background, who got into Cambridge by getting the required A-level or degree results”.

She also suggested the Duke had been given a “free pass” to study at the university.

Tim Squirrell, a natural sciences student, wrote in The Tab that he feared the public would “assume that he’s been let in simply because he’s posh and rich” when in fact the course he was studying is not academically selective and is aimed at company executives who are also given tailor-made tuition. See also here.

The number of places at elite universities like Cambridge and Oxford are fixed, I presume, or at least not growing at the same rate as the population. Expect more resentment.