Cirencester welcomed a very special visitor on Friday as The Prince of Wales paid a visit to the town to present graduates from the Royal Agricultural University with their degrees. The graduation ceremony took place at St John the Baptist’s Church in Market Place and was also attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Cirencester as well as the High Sheriff and local councillors.
Prince Charles, who has been President of the Royal Agricultural University since 1982, followed the academic procession in to the church before he proceeded to present degrees to students from the School of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
The Royal Agricultural University, formerly known as the Royal Agricultural College, was the first known agricultural college in the speaking world and construction on the building began in April 1845. Queen Victoria granted the college a Royal Charter in 1845 and ever since, her descendants have been Patrons of the institution.
Prince Charles addressed students and staff at the graduation ceremony, “Some of the fundamental challenges that face us in the modern day need to be solved by those in agriculture. Nature’s life support is being pushed so far and maintaining nature’s capacity to sustain us is no mean feat. Rural land management is not just another industry; you are becoming custodians of our most precious natural asset. My warmest congratulations to you all.”
In 2013, the college was awarded full university status by the Privy Council in recognition of its provision of a higher education institution. The Royal Agricultural University continues to lead the development of teaching and research in agriculture, agri-business, equine, food and land and property management.
Professor Chris Gaskell, Principal of the university, also addressed the gathered guests, “This is the third year we have held this ceremony here in this magnificent church. I hope those graduating today feel like the university has provided them with a solid foundation and the skills they require to enter the world of work. We wish you every success in the future and careers. Bon voyage.”
Among the graduates at Friday’s ceremony were Destiny Bradley, who graduated with a BSc Honours Degree in Agriculture.
“It was amazing having Prince Charles there” she said. “It was a beautiful ceremony; it made it all feel very real.”
Prince Charles’s visit to Cirencester came just a few days after he and The Duchess of Cornwall returned from their annual trip to Cornwall where, amongst other things, they visited Padstow, a working fishing port and well known destination for fine food and drink.
Photo Credit: Dan Marsh