Camilla visits 'very special university' in first public outing since Harry's Spare publication

Camilla said it was a “huge pleasure” to visit students at Aberdeen University.
Camilla said it was a “huge pleasure” to visit students at Aberdeen University. Credit: PA

The Queen Consort has paid a visit to a 'very special university' in her first public outing since Prince Harry's controversial book Spare was published.

Camilla told staff and students at Aberdeen University it was a “huge pleasure” to visit the university’s new science teaching hub on Wednesday, after it opened last year.

The Duke of Sussex's controversial memoir became the fastest selling non-fiction book ever when it was published earlier this month.

In the book, Harry alleges that he and his brother begged their father not to marry the now-Queen Consort and that he wondered if she would one day be his “wicked stepmother”.

Camilla said it was a “huge pleasure” to visit students at Aberdeen University. Credit: PA

Camilla did not acknowledge the claims during her visit and did not respond when asked by an ITV News journalist if she was "hurt by the comments in the book".

The Queen Consort instead reflected on the “precious time” she has spent in the north east of Scotland with the King, telling staff and students of the university it feels like she is “coming home”.

Camilla, who was made chancellor of the university in 2013, said this was firstly because her father’s family “came from this part of Scotland”.

She added: “Secondly, because my husband and I are lucky enough to spend precious time each year in Aberdeenshire.

Camilla did not acknowledge the claims in Prince Harry's book Spare

“And finally, because 10 years ago I received the great honour of being installed as chancellor of this very special university.”

Since taking on the role, she said she has “watched with pride” as the university has “gone from strength to strength”.

However she added: “My achievements as chancellor over the last decade seem rather modest in comparison.

“I was told in 2013 that one element of my role was to defend the university so that ‘raven wolves do not invade the college and its flock’.”

She quipped it was “perhaps more by luck than judgment” that this has not happened yet.

The Queen Consort visited the university’s new science teaching hub. Credit: PA

During her visit, Camilla met students, technicians and professors at the university and also learned about the institution’s outreach work with local schools, chatting to youngsters from Sunnybank Primary School in Aberdeen.

One pupil told her about his drawing of a fossil, with the Queen Consort telling him “that’s quite cool”.

She was also presented with flowers by two youngsters from the university nursery, four-year-olds Elspeth Cameron and Rosa Alexander.

Speaking afterwards, Rosa’s mother Chloe Alexander said: “She was asking about Rosa and Elspeth and if they were friends. She was commenting on their lovely outfits.”

Meanwhile, the Princess of Wales became the masked lady when she joined children learning through play at a nursery in Luton she described as “vital” for parents.

Kate became the masked lady as she joined children learning. Credit: PA

Kate has been championing the importance of the early years development of children for many years and when she visited Foxcubs Nursery to highlight the issue.

She first sat down at a tiny table where three and four-year-olds were making face masks and she helped a young boy complete his project and when he held it up to his face said “I think it’s very good – good job.”

Helping a Foxcubs staff member who sat at the table, she stuck a thin handle to a little girl’s mask and asked “can you look through it?” then waved as the youngster held it up to her face.

At one point Kate looked through a mask and laughed as she did so.

Kate joined a group of children playing in a sandpit. Credit: PA

The princess later spoke with Neil Leitch, chief executive officer of the Early Years Alliance, and Foxcubs staff and praised the children, saying: “They’re great kiddies I had a nice little chat with them.”

When Kate left the nursery she stopped to chat to parents waiting to collect their children and posed for selfies with them.

Mr Leitch, whose Early Years Alliance is the largest early years membership organisation in England, said after the visit: “I think she was impressed about the work we do generally and the fact it’s about supporting community as well as children.

“She certainly was very understanding that these are critical years in which a child’s future is formed.”

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