The Earl of Wessex was in Cambridge at Jesus College yesterday, to open its new West Court development; Prince Edward, who is an alumnus of the College, is also patron of the West Court campaign.
The Queen’s youngest son officially opened the new development, which is the largest modern addition to the college site. The West Court has accommodation for guests, conference facilities, a café, a medical teaching suite, a lecture theatre with space for 180 students, research facilities and a social area for students. The development took three years to complete, and during his visit the Earl spoke with architects and builders who contributed to the project.
Edward also took time to speak to students and staff members of the College.
“We are honoured that The Earl of Wessex has officially opened West Court today,” Professor Ian White, Master of the College, said of the Earl’s visit. “We are delighted to have shown His Royal Highness how the new facilities are already benefitting our students, academics and alumni; and how they will provide excellent facilities for visiting scholars from around the world.
“West Court is a truly ambitious development, and I would like to thank everyone who has been involved. In particular, we are hugely grateful for the widespread support and enthusiasm from our College alumni and friends who have donated so generously to the West Court appeal,” Prof White said.
Edward, who graduated from Jesus College in 1986 after studying History, was also shown memorabilia collected during the years he spent at the school. Amongst other items shown was a programme from the 1985 May Ball, an event the young Prince had helped organise as part of the planning committee.
Another highlight for the royal guest was a programme from a performance of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible in the 1980s. Prince Edward was among the cast of this performance, alongside the College’s current Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope. The Earl’s role in the show was Deputy-Governor Danforth, and he is listed as ‘H.R.H. Prince Edward’ on the programme.
To officially mark the opening of the West Court development, The Earl of Wessex unveiled a plaque in front of Jesus College’s staff, students, guests and his fellow alumni. The unveiling was accompanied by a performance from the College’s famous choir, alongside the Music Society. The plaque makes reference to the Earl’s status as alumnus, describing the visit to “his college”.
The Earl of Wessex also visited Springwood High School, in King’s Lynn, in his capacity as a Trustee of The Duke of Edinburgh Award.