800 Years To Educate A Queen.
by Leslie Morgan Steiner
The inevitable news that royal wedding bells will be ringing soon in England – in case you’ve been on a yoga retreat in Mexico, 28 year olds Prince William and Kate Middleton are engaged -- means many things to many people. Fashion designers and paparazzi salivate over the hope that the stunning Kate Middleton will become another Princess Diana, icon of beauty, glamour, femininity, fragility, and record-breaking People Magazine sales. The British royal family dreams of restoring its luster after years of tawdry, toe-sucking, tampon-envying scandals generated by Fergie, Camilla and Charles. Prince William and Kate seem to hope for the simple and eternally elusive marital bliss.
To me, however, the engagement signals one fascinating potential milestone: Should Kate Middleton become Queen Kate, she would be the first queen in British history to have a college degree. In fact, she’d be the first British queen to have any college education whatsoever.
How can this be?
The United Kingdom clearly values education. Oxford University was founded in the 13th century. The nation’s second-oldest university, Cambridge, is celebrating its 800th anniversary. Hundreds of thousands of Brits – plus similar numbers of citizens from other countries – have graduated from British universities over the centuries.
Oh yes, these hundreds of thousands of outstanding products of the British educational system have been mostly men. Here history gets sticky for British pride.