The Duke of Cambridge will be visiting Oxford to open Magdalen’s recently completed Longwall Library. The Prince will come on May 11, spending his morning touring the facilities and officially opening them.
For some students, like first-year Magdalenite Oliver Baldwin, this is an honour for the school. “I’m very excited about The Duke of Cambridge coming to open the new library”, Baldwin told Cherwell. “The Queen is a symbol of Britain and The Duke of Cambridge, as the future king, is a symbol of where Britain is going, always remaining relevant to each new generation.”
The library has been under construction for more almost two years and was a multi-million pound renovation involving the building of a new wing and the complete gutting and refurbishment of the interior, allowing for more reading spaces and natural light. Since the library was closed, the college has been using a library tent, loving called the “Marquee” by the students.
Current Magdalen JCR President Sam Sherburn hoped the Duke would see the value of the building. “I’ve talked about Magdalen’s New Library Project to more alumni than I care to remember across several Telethons” Sherburn said. “It is a fantastic project and it is great to see it open at long last. I hope that the Duke of Cambridge will be able to see for himself the hard work and dedication of those involved in the project– and those revising for their exams, for whom the New Library is a much-needed asset!”
The funding drive involved raising £10.5 million, involving many donations from alumni and hours of work from current students in telethon and administrators, not to mention the thousands of hours of work by the construction company contracted to build it. This is why some are less than thrilled the Prince was chosen to open the library.
“Prince William has made it to his current position simply by being born to a certain father” said first-year musician from Magdalen Ted Mair. “This appears to me as exactly the kind of cultural elitism that Magdalen, as part of the University of Oxford, should be discouraging. As an institution trying to open its gates to students from as many walks of life as possible, this choice of guest seems like a step backwards.”
Others have pointed out that Magdalen has many influential and famous alumni who could have been chosen, while Prince William’s only connection to the school is his Great, Great Uncle attended but did not graduate.
One source told Cherwell. “We have a great many Magdalen alumni who have achieved far more through their own endeavours than Prince William has by accident of birth. Why didn’t the college choose one of them?”
The Duke will also be opening the Blavatnik School of Government and the Weston Library during his visit, and the Duchess of Cambridge will not be accompanying him for the visit.