The Scottish Adventures of Prince William: Studying in St Andrews

04.05.2024 | Scotland

Prince William at St Andrews: a Departure from Royal Tradition

Prince William’s decision to go to St Andrews takes place in the last series of The Crown.


When Prince William enrolled at Eton in 1995, he became the first senior member of the Royal Family to attend the school. Five years later, when he announced his decision to attend the University of St Andrews after a one-year break, his choice of school similarly broke with royal tradition.

William’s father King Charles had studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, and was the first heir to the throne to gain a university degree. Other members of the royal family who studied at university attended mostly Oxford or Cambridge. William’s decision to choose St Andrews was more of a wild card.

Decision beyond expectations: William at St Andrews

“The reason I didn’t want to go to an English university is because I lived there and I wanted to get away and try somewhere else. I also knew I would see a lot of Wales in the future,” William said shortly before starting university. “And I really like Scotland. There’s lots of space, I love the hills and mountains and St Andrews seemed to have a real community feel.”

William in St Salvator’s Square, 2004.

In a statement in August 2000, St James’s Palace said, “Prince William has been accepted to study at the university of his first choice, the University of St Andrews.” He began his university studies in the autumn of 2001.

Prince William waited to make a decision until he received the results of his final exams. As The Crown recounts, he got an A in geography, a B in art history and a C in biology. “I know how hard William has worked to achieve these outstanding results and I am very proud that he has done so well,” King Charles said in a statement at the time.

It was rumoured that Edinburgh University was his first choice, but William later said it was “too busy” for him.

Prince William’s stay at St Andrews takes place during the final episodes of The Crown, where William is played by Ed McVey. In the series, he considers leaving the studio before Kate Middleton (Meg Bellamy) convinces him to stay. (Something similar happened in real life.)

Love and Study: meeting Kate at St Andrews

  • How William met his future wife

At St Andrews, of course, William met Kate Middleton, his future wife. Years later, in 2014 in New York at the 600th anniversary celebrations of St Andrews University, William joked, “St Andrews students often say that you leave university in one of two states: either married or an alcoholic. Fortunately for Catherine and me, we ended up married.”

Graduation Story: William’s Expressions of Gratitude

  • How he enjoyed “normal” student life at a Scottish university

Apparently Prince William enjoyed his time at university in Scotland in real life. “I would just like to say a big thank you to everyone who has made my time here so enjoyable,” he said at the graduation ceremony. “I’ve been able to lead as ‘normal’ a student life as I could have hoped for and I’m very grateful to everyone, especially the locals, who have helped make that happen.”


If you would like to start your studies at St Andrews, we can help you arrange a tour of the University and all the necessary arrangements for your stay.





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