Many students protested Prince Edward's admission to Jesus CollegeVarsity Archives

When a young Edward Windsor arrived at Jesus College in 1983, unlike the rest of the freshers, it was not his first time seeing the College or meeting his DoS. Vintage Varsity (or as we were then known Stop Press with Varsity) revealed Edward’s 1981 visit to Jesus for ‘tea’ with the Admissions Tutor and History Fellow: he was subsequently admitted for History, with CDD A Levels in English, History and Politics. It became obvious that for royals it was not the student that chose the College, but the College that chose the student.

“it was not the student that chose the College, but the College that chose the student”

This unfair admission was not quietly accepted at the time. In 1982 Varsity reported: “In a clear message of defiance to their college authorities, over 100 Jesus undergraduates have signed a petition against the possible admission of Prince Edward to the College.” Varsity also found that there were rumblings among Jesus’s fellowship about this unfair admission, with one fellow describing their position as “shackled” – perhaps a result of pressure from the Palace.

University-wide opposition also attempted to create a stir. A ‘University Republican Society’ was founded by four Emma students just eight months before Edwards’s arrival, as Varsity reported in January 1983. While they claimed that their society “had better things to do than oppose Edward Windsor”, they did object to the “fact that [Edward] did not achieve the usually accepted academic entrance requirement”. Varsity even went as far as asking the local Police Chief Superintendent if they were monitoring this society. He responded that he was “waiting to see if the Republican Society motivates itself to do anything that might be a security risk”.


Mountain View

Vying for royal attention: Cambridge’s history of pomp and ceremony

Edward’s controversy didn’t stop there; his University funding was supported by the Marines to the tune of £12,000 on the basis that he would join and train for five years as an officer after graduation. However, upon joining the Marines, he decided that this life wasn’t for him and promptly quit, meaning that the government had funded his Cambridge degree for nothing.

The real question is: will Oxbridge College authorities once again be willing to bend the rules for the next generation of Princes and Princesses that may seek Cambridge as their new home? Will University and College higher-ups again bow down to grubby deals with the Palace to swell their lists of notable alumni? Or perhaps the next generation of royals might just be smarter? Time will tell.