royal family
Here's a look at the education and background of the members of the royal family. Source: Julian Simmonds/AFP

The recent news of Queen Elizabeth II’s passing has marked a somber start to September. At 96, the Queen was Britain’s longest reigning monarch, reigning the nation for 70 years. 

Following the news of her sudden illness, Thursday was fraught with news of the royal family rushing to Balmoral Castle, where the ailing monarch was resting. According to sources, the Queen died peacefully that afternoon at the Scottish estate, where she resided over most of the summer. 

Her eldest son, now King Charles III, spoke of her death as a “moment of great sadness” for the royal family. “We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished sovereign and a much-loved mother,” the King said in a statement. “I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”

While most focus is now on the Queen’s legacy and passing, many are turning to the soon-to-be-crowned King too. At 73, Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest child was named the former Prince of Wales before her death. He is expected to be sworn in on Saturday at St. James’s Palace in London. 

More than that, eyes are on the royal family and the future of the monarchy — primarily, ensuring that it will be in good hands. Of course, much of the royal family’s next steps will have to do with the experiences that have shaped each member — and how the education they received influenced their actions. 

Here’s a look into the university education of the most prominent royal family members. 

England’s Queen Elizabeth II passed away Sept. 9, 2022 at 96 years old. Source: AFP

A look into the royal family’s education

King Charles III

King Charles III received a prestigious education. The former Prince of Wales attended the University of Cambridge, one of the oldest and most well-respected institutions in the country — and the world. Its famed status has also made it a popular landmark for prominent events, film shoots, and more. 

Charles was the first British royal or heir to the throne to earn a university degree. He attended Cambridge in 1967, where he read history, archaeology and anthropology, and graduated with a 2:2 degree three years later. 

King Charles is a University of Cambridge graduate. Source: Oli Scarff/AFP

Prince William

As the firstborn son of King Charles, Prince William is the next in line to the throne. The heir is currently referred to as the Duke of Cambridge, though he will allegedly adopt the “Prince of Wales” title following the Queen’s death. 

Like his father, William received an illustrious education. He was the first senior member of the royal family to attend Eton College, an elite private boarding school in the UK for boys. There, he achieved 12 GCSEs and A-Levels in geography, biology and history of art. 

Following that, Prince William took a gap year in Chile and Africa before enrolling in the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Three years later, he graduated with a 2:1 in geography. 

“At Cambridge, he took part in undergraduate burlesque, cracking laughably unfunny jokes,” according to the book “Eminent Elizabethans: Rupert Murdoch, Prince Charles, Margaret Thatcher & Mick Jagger.” “Formerly reckoned an ineffectual dimwit, he gained credit for completing his interrupted studies at Cambridge  in 1970 with a lower second degree.”

Prince William and Kate Middleton graduated from University of St Andrews. Source: Gareth Fuller/AFP

Kate Middleton

Kate Middleton famously met Prince William at the University of St. Andrews. The Duchess of Cambridge met her future husband while studying for a Master in History of Art. Reports indicate that she caught the Prince’s eye at a charity fashion show in 2002. After all, St. Andrews reportedly has a reputation as a “matchmaking hub” with one in 10 students marrying a fellow classmate).

Prior to the decision that would change her life forever, Middleton studied at Marlborough College in Wiltshire, England. She sat for A Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Art. Following this, she spent a year abroad studying at the British Institute in Florence and the Raleigh International programme in Chile. 

Outside of her studies, the Duchess of Cambridge was an active sportswoman and played on the university hockey team. 

Meghan Markle was educated at the Northwestern University School of Communication. Source: Sascha Schuermann AFP

Meghan Markle

A former Hollywood actress, Meghan Markle has prompted both praise and criticism by the public since joining the royal family. She and her husband Prince Harry, King Charles’s second child, decided to marry in 2018 amidst controversy and were named the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. They have since stepped back as senior working members of the royal family.

Prior to marrying Prince Harry, Markle studied for a bachelor’s degree in Theatre and International Studies from Northwestern University School of Communication. At the same time, she completed an internship at the American embassy in Buenos Aires, as well as studied for one term in Spain.