It is a rare occurrence for a Prince to reside on a university campus, so it was expected that King Charles was granted an early look at the accommodations where his son, Prince William, would be staying during his first year at university in 2001. Charles was specifically shown the bedroom at St Salvator's Hall that William would occupy for his initial semester. Fortunately, for the university staff, the room was of exceptionally high quality.
“We placed him in one of the more luxurious residence halls,” Dr. Brian Lang, who served as the Principal and Vice Chancellor of the university at that time, informed HELLO! magazine.
A few weeks before his arrival at St Andrews, the then Prince of Wales paid a visit for tea, during which we discussed the kind of experience his son would have at St Andrews.
I inquired if he would like to view the room, so we strolled to the campus residences, and the current King, who was then the Prince of Wales, inspected the room. He even insisted on testing the bed's comfort by bouncing on it.
“Ah, it's not overly plush or soft, which is just right,” he remarked. “We must ensure he doesn't have an overly soft night.” It was an enjoyable and light-hearted moment.
Before the beginning of the term, Dr. Lang had the opportunity to meet William, who was studying Geography at the Scottish university, having initially switched from History of Art.
“I didn't want our initial encounter to occur when he arrived in St Andrews, and that was the correct decision,” Dr. Lang recalled. “He appeared quite nonchalant about commencing his studies, displaying a relaxed demeanor regarding his impending arrival. It was evident that he was anticipating it with excitement, and, naturally, I assured him that we were eagerly anticipating his arrival and that we would ensure he was well taken care of.”
I had the opportunity to see him quite regularly during his tenure at St Andrews. One of the rewarding aspects of leading a university is observing young individuals entering at around 18 or 19, often experiencing their first time away from home and initially appearing somewhat apprehensive, much like startled rabbits caught in the glare of headlights.
However, over the course of four years, they evolve into impressive, self-assured adults with promising futures ahead of them, and I believe this transformation also applied to William.
Following his departure, I received a gracious letter from his father expressing gratitude for the university's role in providing his son with a positive university experience. I am confident that William will, in due course, become an outstanding King.