A Week With Wills
Prince William writes exclusively for The Tab about his first week at Cambridge.
Wake up with butterflies after a dream about a forgotten packed lunch. Today is the day! Kiss everyone goodbye including Grandpa and board the train. It is just like a car but faster and a bit different. Brief moment of panic as we pull in next to a sign informing us that we’re now at the home of Anglia Ruskin University. Call chief advisor.
“You’ve got the wrong one.”
“What? I can’t hear you.”
(I’m whispering so the other passengers don’t hear me.)
“You’ve got the wrong one. You’ve signed me up to Anglia Ruskin university.”
Brief moment of panic as chief advisor starts to worry that he has actually cocked up massively. Phone calls are made, forms are checked, and after half an hour we manage to assert that no-one’s cocked up, I’m definitely attending Cambridge University, and the misleading sign is to be taken down immediately.
St John’s College is lovely. I potter around all day, taking lots of photos of the courts and little boats. They go down a storm on pinterest, especially the one where I’ve got a swan standing on the grass, right next to a sign that says ‘please keep off the grass.’ A real crowd-pleaser.
Between you and me, I’m not a huge fan of the gown. I think it makes me look silly and a bit like a bat. Tell Kate over skype, and she makes me put it on for her and George. George likes my bat impression so much I have to do it three times, and he starts giggling, a bit like a maniac.
“Watch it,” I say, “You’re beginning to sound like Auntie Sarah.” Kate shushes me, and tells me to stop with the complex similes, not everyone goes to Cambridge, remember?
Sign off in a huff, but actually miss them both quite a lot. At matriculation the next day I don’t mind the stares as much as usual. I pretend I am a bat for all the Japanese tourists, and for once don’t feel like a tiger behind glass at the zoo, but like a bat instead.
Kate’s birthday so hop on train – really am getting the hang of these – and speed home. Very nice to see everyone again, but turns out it was a mistake to call the party a ‘blip in my academic studies.’ Kate says that I am a blip and to be honest the atmosphere never really recovers from there.
First day of lectures! Agriculture is as dull as mud, and actually has less mud involved than I would like, and rather more multiple choice questions. Lectures are very dull too, but at least the focus is off me for once. Unlike in the streets.
“What do you think of Cambridge?” is what I’m greeted with most. Fortunately I have developed an answer which is quite the winner if I do say so myself.
“Look,” I say, “it’s not Balmoral, but it’s not bloody Oxford either, is it!”
They love that. They go absolutely mad for that. Today, one boy responded with the question whether I’d rather be at Oxford or St John’s. Plainly an extremely controversial issue because it provoked all sorts of kerfuff. Took the boy to one side, and told him quietly that while I couldn’t possibly comment on the issue at the moment, if he’d like to get in touch with the palace, they’d be more than happy to release a statement on my behalf.
A real Tony Blair moment for me.
Very tired after going to Cindies. I only went because Harry said I had to go.
“You have to go, Wills,” he said.
So I went just before 11pm because I didn’t want to pay more than three pounds and because it was so dark I thought I wouldn’t be recognised.
It was as bad as I expected. Very loud music and very many shouts of ‘Free Willy.’ Did not feel like a social member of academic elite but instead just felt sad and old and famous. Like Cher but a man.
“I’m a father of one,” I went around telling anyone who’d listen. “I’m a father of one and I should be at home with my Georgie.” By now I was a little drunk on loneliness and alcohol, and actually got out a photo of George to show to the girl next to me at the bar.
“This is George. This is the future King of England.”
She batted it away and told me to go back to Wolfson. Not sure what Wolfson is, but assume it must be some kind of university facility for single dads? Good for Cambridge! Shall investigate on morrow.
I have made it through my first week! Feel very proud. Tell Grandpa but he says that I am being ‘embarrassing’ and ‘pathetic.’ Hmm. I think someone is being ‘mean.’ Gran texts a smiley face which makes me feel better, and proud again. The last time she used a phone, it had been to chuck at Pippa’s head, accompanied by the scream: “I hate you, Carol.”
The day is cold and bright. I stroll down King’s Parade with a warm scarf and a lovely sense of irony.
Welcome to Cambridge, Wills.
As imagined by Mollie Wintle.