Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

William not 'regular attender of libraries' at university, Oxford students learn

The Duke of Cambridge has confessed he was not the most diligent student when it came to using the library at university.

On a visit to Oxford to officially open two libraries, William admitted that he did not often use the library at the University of St Andrews, where he studied for a geography degree and met his future wife, Kate.

Speaking to students and benefactors at Magdalen College's new Longwall Library, he said: "I can't say I was a regular attender of libraries."

Dayna Hamilton, a third-year engineering student at Magdalen, was among those the Duke spoke with.

She said William claimed he would have gone more often if he had a library like Magdalen's, which has recently undergone an £11 million refurbishment.

"He said if this was his library he would have gone a little bit more," she said.

More than 100 students gathered in the quad to watch the Duke arrive, while some looked on from their bedrooms while sleepily eating breakfast.

William spoke to students who were sitting at desks in the library but he was quick to realise that they were not really studying hard.

Jack Barber, 21, who is reading history at Magdalen and helped raise money for the library's refurbishment, said William spotted that his book had been placed as a prop for the visit.

"He saw my book and it was obviously the first one I plucked off the shelf.

"He said 'Enjoy your pretend studying'."

William unveiled a plaque officially opening the new library before moving on to another - Oxford's Weston Library.

The library - which is part of the Bodleian Library - has reopened following an £80 million transformation.

The Duke took a tour through the revamped special collections library, seeing a display of historical objects including the key that his great-grandfather, King George VI, used to open the library in 1946.

There, William revealed that his favourite book, The Gruffalo, was also loved by Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

He told a group of children that he and his family enjoy the popular story as he chatted to them about school and lessons.

Xiomara, eight, a pupil at Pegasus Primary School, gave William a picture of a toucan.

"He really liked it and he said he'd show his son George," she said.

The schoolgirl added: "His favourite book was The Gruffalo."

Asked if he said the book was his favourite book or his children's, she said: "His and his children."

The Gruffalo, which has sold millions of copies, tells the story of a mouse taking a walk through a forest.

Before declaring Weston Library officially open, William said: "It is very good to be back at Oxford, and thank you for your warm welcome. I suspect today is the noisiest this library will ever be."

Later, he officially opened Oxford's Blavatnik School of Government, where he met students and those involved in the design and construction of the building.

A scholarship in his name was announced by the school's Dean, Professor Ngaire Woods, after William gave a short speech.

He said he hoped the school would "inspire" students to make a "real, positive contribution to good government wherever they find themselves in the world".

William congratulated Leonard Blavatnik for his donation to the university which enabled the creation of the School of Government.

The Duke of Cambridge Scholarship will fully fund a British student to undertake a Masters degree in public policy at the school.

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.

Alice Budisatrijo, who is studying for a Masters degree in public policy, said of her conversation with William: "I said I work for the BBC and he said 'I won't hold that against you'."

William also spoke to Dr Richenda Gambles, who works at the school.

She said: "I was impressed about how engaged he was in global affairs ... in the way he was able to talk to people about the places they came from."

The Duke met several students during his visit to the school, which has people from 54 different countries and territories studying for Masters in public policy.

William unveiled a plaque and then had lunch with students, staff and benefactors. He signed the visitors' book on his departure.


From Belfast Telegraph