Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Prince William the visiting scholar: Nice university course if you can get it

Perhaps his father’s role might have played a part in the decision to invent an entirely new course

Prince William seems like an extremely nice guy. I’m sure he’s a great dad. I don’t even mind that we’ll one day call him the king. But I do mind what we have to call him today: a visiting scholar at Cambridge University.

The phrase “visiting scholar” seems to me to have some pretty clear implications, chief among them that the person to which it refers is a “scholar”, who is “visiting”. William, I’m afraid, fits only one of these criteria, and the other one isn’t fulfilled by his place at the university to take a 10-week course in agricultural management. This isn’t even an existing course: it is, we are told, a “bespoke” plan of study “designed to help provide the Duke with an understanding of contemporary issues affecting agricultural business and rural communities”.

I hope it’s not too screamingly controversial to suggest that his father’s role as patron of the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership might have played a part in the decision to invent an entirely new course so that William could learn how to run a farm. If this thesis, outlandish though it is, holds any water at all, its depressing that a supposedly meritocratic institution would go along with it. And it’s even more depressing that no one else seems to mind.

Twitter: @archiebland