On Wednesday, HRH The Duke of Cambridge visited the University to open the Blavatnik School of Government, and announce a scholarship fund. He also unveiled a plaque at the Bodleian's Weston Library, and visited students at Magdalen, where he opened the Longwall Library.
On his round of duties at Oxford, he headed to The Blavatnik School, Britain's first school of government, with a mission to inspire and support better government and public policy around the world. Designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, the stunning building has already received an award for 'architectural excellence' from the Royal Institute of British Architects.
The Blavatnik School of Government currently has 117 Master of Public Policy (MPP) students from 54 countries and territories, as well as nine students studying for a doctorate (DPhil) in Public Policy. The Duke's visit was marked by the announcement of a new, permanent scholarship scheme to encourage talented students from the UK to study at the Blavatnik School of Government, regardless of financial means. The new Duke of Cambridge Scholarship at the University of Oxford will fully fund a UK student to study for the MPP and share experiences with other students from across the world.
The Prince met Lord Patten of Barnes, the Chancellor of the University, at Magdalen
Earlier in the day, the Duke officially opened the Weston Library, one of the University's Bodleian Libraries which has recently undergone a £80 million transformation. He toured this state-of-the-art special collections library, where scholarship, research, digitisation and conservation take place. The Library is home to more than one million items from the Bodleian's historic collections, including two Shakespeare First Folios and four original Magna Cartas. The building also has new public facilities: exhibition galleries, a café and shop. On his tour of the Library, the Duke visited the Conservation Studio and a Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room. He was shown a display of historic objects, including a key used by King George VI to open what was then called the New Bodleian in 1946.
The Prince was given a royal reception at Magdalen College, where he opened the Longwall Library expansion
In his speech, the Duke said: 'It is humbling to know that the tradition of libraries here in Oxford goes back over 800 years. Everything about this place is steeped in a long experience of imparting knowledge and education, and the humanising and civilising effect that has on our societies. In the 400 or so years since that great man Sir Thomas Bodley established this institution for the good of all people, much has changed about the Bodleian but in its heart nothing has changed.'
Bodley's Librarian, Richard Ovenden, said: 'We are delighted to have welcomed the Duke of Cambridge to officially open the Weston Library. His visit comes exactly 70 years since his great-grandfather, King George VI, originally opened the building. Now the Weston Library is a world-leading centre for scholarship and research and a place for the public to discover more about the Bodleian and Oxford University's unique and distinctive collections.'George VI, Prince William's great-grandfather, opening the new Bodleian Library in 1946
He also officially opened the Longwall Library at Magdalen. The college, founded in 1458, boasts nine Nobel Prize winners among its former Fellows and alumni. David Clary, President of Magdalen, said: 'It is a great honour for Magdalen College to have our Longwall Library opened by the Duke of Cambridge. It follows a substantial and imaginative refurbishment and extension of a building which started as a school hall back in 1851. This has nearly tripled the number of work spaces for our students.'
Images: Oxford University Images, Ian Wallman, John Cairns