Maughan Hub is a series of articles written by KCL’s Comedy Society members, published on Wednesdays. We hope they entertain you wherever you are!
Charles, Prince of Wales, and eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, completed a monumental and impressive feat: he is the first member of his immediate family line to graduate from university. Maughan Hub sat down with him to ask him about his pursuit of an unfamiliar kind of wealth: the wealth of an education.
“People expect that my parents would have valued education, but like most first-generation university students, I come from a family that didn’t really appreciate the things education can give you,” his Royal Highness said.
His parents, Liz and Phil, had less access to education than the average young person during their youth, due to their circumstances. They had no formal qualifications – not even a school leavers’ certificate, let alone a degree. Liz was discouraged from attending school by her parents and studied for a mere 2 and a half hours a day as a child. In secondary school, she only ever showed up to Constitutional History classes and Religious Studies with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Of course, his parents were proud of his enrolment at Cambridge, but they instilled values in him that were significantly less common amongst his peers. He talks of the pressure to focus on the “real, full-time job” of being a Prince, rather than wasting his time on a “useless” anthropology degree. “It was really stifling,” he said. “All these other kids have the freedom to go out partying every night, but there was so much pressure on me to prove that I made the right choice with this degree.”
In fact, Charles’ parents were so disapproving of his decision to go to Cambridge that he had to be accompanied at all times by a security guard. Rumours that his bodyguard sat exams with him and achieved a higher grade continue to circulate. Though the Windsors have neither confirmed nor denied this, Charles pointedly noted a public lack of belief in the abilities of first-gen students.
Charles does recognise that him going to university was a major step forward for his family. They couldn’t see why Charles would need a degree considering the line of work he would be going into. But now she recognises the leaps he made for the family: “He’s set a precedent, and now all the grandkids have gone. Little William even met his wife there, so I guess it can’t be so bad.”
Her biggest regret on the matter is that in choosing a formal education, Charles will never have the same opportunity to “piss about with the Archbishop of Banterbury himself – he truly is an absolute ledge.”