The Royal Connections of Cambridge

While you may think of Cambridge as a place steeped in academic history thanks to its prestigious Universities, what you may not realise is how steeped in Royal history Cambridge has become.

If you’re a big fan of the British Monarchy or have a taste for history, then we’ve revealed some of the unique ways in which the UK’s royal family is linked to Cambridge.

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A Knighthood for Isaac Newton

In 1705 Queen Anne visited Trinity College to confer a knighthood on Isaac Newton.

You may think he achieved the title from his mathematical or scientific work accomplishments, but in fact, the knighthood was for his political work. Regardless, Isaac Newton and Sir Francis Bacon, remain the only scientists to have gained a knighthood.

The Queen Mother Gained Honorary Degree

On the 21st of October 1948, Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, was given an honorary degree from Cambridge University. The Queen Mother received an honorary Doctorate of Law.

The celebration marked 900 women at the time finally receiving official degrees as they had been previously denied the honour of graduating. Instead, Women in the class of 1936 were sent titular degrees in the post. 

From the first intake of female students in 1869, until only 60 years ago, women only received mailed certificates. 


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The Prince of Wales Attended Trinity College 

The Prince of Wales, often called Prince Charles, was the first heir to the throne to achieve a university degree. 

Prince Charles gained his degree in Cambridge where he attended Trinity College to study anthropology, archaeology and history. 

What few people know is that Prince Charles was also part of Trinity’s drama group, the Dryden Society, and appeared in two annual productions. 

Prince Charles graduated from Cambridge in 1975 with a masters. 

Prince Phillips Fondness for Cambridge 

The Duke of Edinburgh or Prince Phillip as he was commonly addressed had many connections to Cambridge during his lifetime.

For more than 30 years the Duke held the role as the University of Cambridge’s Chancellor. Acting under this role from 1977 until his retirement in 2011. 

Prince Phillip’s role as the University’s Chancellor meant he was responsible for conferring honorary degrees and even gave one to Mother Thereasa at his first ceremony. 

The Duke had a genuine fondness for Cambridge, and would often visit the Airbase, and many of the departments in the universities. He was also well-known to visit Professor Stephen Hawking. 

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The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge 

When Prince William and Kate Middleton were married, the Queen bestowed upon them the royal titles of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. 

The dukedom of Cambridge was created in 1660 and granted by King Charles II following the restoration of the monarchy. 

If you’re unacquainted with dukedoms, they are the highest titles in the British roll of the peerage, and those that hold them are princes of royal blood. 

There are only six dukedoms currently held in the British Monarchy, and they are quite controversial as they can only be passed onto a male heir. 


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