Friday, February 25, 2011

The Lady in Red: Kate Middleton is all smiles as she returns to the place where fairytale romance with Prince William began


Happy returns: Couple went back to St Andrews two months before the Royal Wedding

After their eyes first met at St Andrews University almost a decade ago, Prince William and Kate returned to where their fairytale romance began today.

The couple braved the blustery Scottish weather which will be familiar to them from their student days as they launched the university's 600th anniversary celebrations.

Miss Middleton was dressed in a red suit with a black velvet belt and black leather gloves while William was wearing a dark blue suit.

Well-wishers waited patiently against crash barriers in the rain this morning as they tried to get the best view of the Royal couple.

Today the university announced they are creating a scholarship in their honour as a wedding gift which they were presenting to the couple.

The campus had been abuzz since the trip was announced last week.
The 28-year-old Prince and his 29-year-old fiancee, who became engaged in October while on holiday in Kenya, emerged from their Range Rover to be greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of Fife, Margaret Dean.

Radiant: Kate was wearing a dazzling red outfit while William was in a blue suit as they were led round the university by Sir Menzies Campbell

It was the first time the Prince had returned to the university since his graduation six years ago and he spoke movingly during a his short speech about the four years he spent there.

Launching the anniversary celebrations from the university's quadrangle, the ancient heart of the institution where 16th century buildings surround a small grass-covered square, he addressed 600 students and staff who had won their seats by ballot.

As the Prince and Miss Middleton arrived, their way was led by six mace bearers and he was introduced by former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell, the university's Chancellor.

Events marking the milestone will be spread over three years as teaching began at the institution in 1410, chartered status was granted a year later and the university was formally constituted by a series of papal bulls issued by Pope Benedict XIII in 1413.

Knowing glance: Royal couple gaze at each other as they listen to speeches at their university

William said: 'This is a very special moment for Catherine and me, it feels like coming home.

'Despite being one of Europe's leading research institutions, the third-oldest university in the English speaking world, and of course far and away the best university in the world, St Andrews still has that uncanny knack of feeling like home and so it must have done for generations of undergraduates before us.'

Dr John Walden, a senior lecturer in geography who taught the Prince said: 'It's just a fabulous coup for the university to have them back here to promote the 600th anniversary celebrations.'

Recalling William's time as a student, he said: 'He was fabulous. He made life very easy for us. He tried as hard as he could to experience a normal student programme.

'He did a very good job of that. I'm amazed that he managed to stay focused with all the obvious attention. He managed to stay focused for four years and keep his head down and get some work done.'

Relaxed: Kate Middleton flashed a wide smile as she returned to the 600-year-old university today

The special scholarship created in the name of William and Kate has been given as a wedding gift.

It will have a value of up to £70,000 to meet the costs of tuition, if payable, accommodation and living expenses for a four-year undergraduate degree in science, arts, medicine or divinity.

Applicants of all nationalities will be able to apply for the award which will be given annually to a student who would otherwise have been unable to attend St Andrews.

Professor Louise Richardson, the university's principal and vice-chancellor, said: 'This will be the first scholarship of its kind at St Andrews and a reflection of this university's commitment to ensure that we find, attract and support the most gifted students from anywhere in the world.

'It will guarantee that a high quality Scottish higher education can be available to any citizen of the world, that a lack of means need not be a barrier to study, and that bright students who might otherwise have been unable to go to university can fulfil their potential.’

William graduated with a 2:1 in geography from St Andrews in 2005 and Kate got the same classification in history of art.

The Prince and his fiancee began dating while sharing a house in the picturesque seaside town in Fife, and almost 10 years later will wed at Westminster Abbey on April 29 as the world watches.

Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton sit with the Lord Lieutenant of the University, Menzies Campbell, during their visit

Hundreds of well-wishers gathered by the steel barriers hoping to catch a glimpse of William and Kate

The official visit was William's first in his role as patron of the 600th Anniversary Appeal, which will have a large focus on generating new funds for scholarships.

Joyce Robertson, 60, a retired nurse, who was waiting patiently with a friend, said: 'I've come to see William and Kate because I love the royal family - I think they will be a wonderful asset to the monarchy.'

Standing a few feet away was postgraduate student Jessica Volz, 24, who is studying for a Phd in English at St Andrews University.

Graduation: Kate Middleton and Prince William as they collected their degrees in June 2005

Royal return: The couple shared a house together as undergraduates before they graduated in June 2005

Miss Volz, from Denver in Colorado, the U.S., said: 'I just live right down the street so its very convenient but I don't mind getting wet.

'I've always been interested in the British history and right now's an interesting time for the monarchy.

'I really do admire William and Kate, especially their strong commitment to supporting charity.'

Yesterday Kate Middleton stepped out on her first official engagement - the launch of a humble inflatable lifeboat in Anglesey.

The bride-to-be, with a dazzling smile, quickly charmed the crowd of more than 1,000 people and bent to speak to the youngest, drawing flattering comparisons with Princess Diana.

As well as her restyled coat, it was Miss Middleton's striking velvet fascinator - with a spray of pheasant feathers - which drew the attention of onlookers yesterday.

It was designed for the 29-year-old by Vivien Sheriff Millinery, a small company based in rural Wiltshire which makes all of its hats by hand.

All smiles: Kate waves to the crowd as the Royal couple arrive at Trearddur Bay, Anglesey

William and Kate arrive at St Andrews

source: dailymail

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