On 1 August 2013, the Earl of Wessex became Chancellor of the University of Bath following the retirement of Lord Tugenhat.
This past Thursday, 7 November, he was installed as the fifth Chancellor during the formal installation ceremony.
The role of the Chancellor “who is by Royal Statute the Chief Officer of the University, presides over meetings of the Court, confers degrees at graduation and otherwise represents the University,” says the University of Bath website.
Gathered on the streets, were groups of people who wanted to catch a glimpse of Prince Edward as he walked around the city centre prior to the ceremony.
Those in attendance at the ceremony included Edward’s wife, the Countess of Wessex, Michael Eavis the founder of the Glastonbury Festival and Ellie Simmonds, Paralympic swimmer.
Edward presented Simmonds with an honourary degree as his first official act as chancellor.
The 18 year old has broken eight world records, won ten world and five European titles and has been a dominate force in swimming.
Simmonds was honoured to be chosen to receive the degree and was shocked when asked. “It is great to have this award at this age and hopefully I will go on to university myself one day. I am still doing my A-levels at the moment, but I think I would like to go to university at some point in the future, maybe to study history,” Simmonds told the Bath Chronicle.
Edward congratulated Simmonds as he bestowed the honour upon her during the ceremony at the Bath Abbey.
Simmonds felt that Bath was the perfect place to receive the award as she had visited numerous times previously and the university has a good reputation for sports.
“It is great to get this degree, not only for myself, but for the whole of Paralympics GC, which trained at the university ahead of last summer’s games,” Simmonds remarked.
People gathered to view the procession from Guildhall walk to the Bath Abbey for the installation ceremony. Afterwards, guests attended an open house at Claverton campus to honour Edward and his wife along with students and staff.
The Earl also opened the university’s new teaching building whilst attending the installation ceremony.
Edward is involved with numerous charities and patronages. He is keen on supporting sport, young people and the performing arts. Along with his Royal duties he partakes in to support Her Majesty, he plays a pivotal role in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, the award scheme his father created in 1956.