King Charles paved the way for Prince William as he proved it’s alright to change your mind

King Charles paved the way for the Prince of Wales when he became the first heir to the throne to achieve a huge accolade

King Charles paved the way for Prince William. Seen here are the King and Prince at different occasions.
(Image credit: Future// Image 1: Photo by Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Images// Image 2: Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

King Charles paved the way for Prince William with a major choice and proved it’s alright to change your mind. 

From the moment Prince William was born, he’s been destined to follow in his father King Charles’ footsteps, firstly succeeding him as the current Prince of Wales and then as King in the future. Since His Majesty became monarch, Prince William has joined him in having the unique experience of what it’s like being first in the royal line of succession and the responsibilities that accompany this. And whilst senior royals often have to be decisive, King Charles paved the way for his eldest son and showed him it’s ok to change your mind about certain things. 

As revealed by the Royal Family website ahead of King Charles and Queen Camilla’s coronation, His Majesty was the “first heir to the throne to earn a university degree”.  

Charles, Prince Of Wales after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history

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King Charles studied at Trinity College at the University of Cambridge and whilst he initially started off taking one educational path, he soon found himself on another one entirely. The King was an archaeology and anthropology student for his first year but later switched degrees and studied history for the rest of his time there. 

His Majesty graduated with a 2:2 in 1970 and having gone to university as the heir to the British throne, he perhaps set the precedent for Prince William to follow in his footsteps and earn a university degree himself.

Not only that, but King Charles’ choice to switch degrees after a year is something Prince William also did. The Prince of Wales started studying History of Art at the University of St Andrews where he met his future wife the Princess of Wales.

Prince William accompanied by King Charles attends his graduation ceremony at the University of St. Andrews

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Prince William later changed degrees and graduated with a 2:1 in geography in 2005. His delighted father attended the graduation ceremony in Scotland and it could perhaps be said that his choice to switch degrees highlighted to Prince William that changing your mind to pick a subject that suits you best is completely alright. 

Geography also makes sense for Prince William given his devotion to environmental awareness and conservation. And whilst he left his Art History studies behind him, the Princess of Wales graduated with a 2:1 degree in this subject.

Kate did apparently change her mind about her university, though, with Hello! alleging that her school careers advisor claimed she’d reportedly wanted to go to the University of Edinburgh before opting to take a gap year. She started her History of Art degree at St Andrews a year later. 

Prince William and Kate Middleton visit the University of St Andrews

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The Prince and Princess of Wales have visited St Andrews several times since they graduated, including in 2021. Addressing the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in a speech before his trip to St Andrews he said how “special” it is to him.

“It was here in Scotland 20 years ago this year that I first met Catherine,” Prince William declared. "Needless to say, the town where you meet your future wife holds a very special place in your heart.”

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!