William: ‘I thank God for friendship with Kate at St Andrews’

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at the reception
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at the reception
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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took a trip down memory lane last night, recalling their first meeting as they attended a lavish fundraising dinner for the University of St Andrews.

The royal couple were 
supporting a £100 million, 600th anniversary fundraising appeal for the university where they first met 11 years ago.

The appeal aims to provide financial support for able students who would not otherwise be able to study at St Andrews.

Last night’s dinner was held at Middle Temple – one of the ancient Inns of Court in central London – where the duke is an honorary barrister and member of the institution’s governing body.

William is also patron of the fundraising campaign, which he launched in February last year during a visit to St Andrews with Kate.

The pair both graduated in 2005 from St Andrews with 2:1 honours degrees, with William completing his studies in geography, while Kate studied art history.

The duke last night thanked God for the friendships he forged at St Andrews, making special mention of his wife in a speech delivered to students, 
lecturers and alumni.

He said: “Tonight is very special for Catherine and me. It brings together two institutions that are dear to us: our alma mater, St Andrews University, and Middle Temple, our hosts here tonight.

“First of all, we have been privileged to receive the best university educations. Secondly, we all love St Andrews. We love it for the academic start in life it gave us.

“We love it for its traditions – traditions that lie at the very heart of Scotland’s history. We love it because it made us look beyond St Andrews, beyond the borders of Scotland, to the wide world. But perhaps most important of all, we love it for the friendships it has given us.

“As I look around this hall tonight – and even take a peek at the person sitting three from my left [Kate] – I thank God for those friendships, our friendship, forged in our ancient halls.

“I even include in that one of my alma mater, who shall remain nameless here tonight, who rang me today to say he’d pay good money for me not to speak.”

Kate and William entered the university appeal dinner to the sound of bagpipes.

The Duchess of Cambridge showed she was not afraid of being seen publicly in the same outfit, dazzling in a floor-length black Alice Temperley dress that she also wore to the premiere of Steven Spielberg film War Horse.

She carried a red clutch bag to match her sparkling red poppy, which was given to her by the Royal British Legion.

The royal couple met a selection of students, staff and alumni of the university during a reception before dinner.

It was the first time they had made a public appearance together in the UK since the public outcry over the duchess’s topless pictures broke last month.

Carson Wos, 22, a fourth-year art student at St Andrews, said: “We were talking about studying art and she was asking if it had changed slightly now.

“We were talking about golf and she said she didn’t have time to play golf at university, but she wished she had.”

Lynn Butcher, president of the University of St Andrews American Foundation, said: “We Americans are absolutely bonkers about the royals and we would love the duke and duchess to come over to the US.”

The university, which is the third-oldest in the English-speaking world, is marking its 600th anniversary, with celebrations spanning three calendar years from 2011 to 2013.