The stamp of sustainability - fit for a Prince?
Admittedly I am not a huge fan of our nation's royal traditions, but I do have a smattering of respect for the Prince of Wales and how he has embraced the environmental agenda with some vigour over the years.
It is somewhat fitting that he has passed these green values (hunting aside) onto his sons - news that Prince William has enrolled on a course under the University of Cambridge's programme for sustainability leadership is testament to that.
Even better it transpired that on the first day of his studies, the Prince travelled to his classroom by public transport. He is expected to make the 46-minute train journey several days a week, no less. Do we have a carbon conscious czar in the making? Or just simply, is our William way more in touch with modern life?
The Prince will be studying agriculture which will also include conservation governance - the course is designed to help him for the time when he inherits the Duchy of Cornwall estate from his father. The course has also been designed just for the Prince himself - yes, he gets his very own bespoke curriculum devised by the university's sustainability champions.
This high society spot of academic tailoring has not gone unnoticed among certain media quarters, most notably The Observer columnist Catherine Bennett who, with more than a hint of sarcasm, remarked: "The course will seek to build the future sovereign's capacity for sustainable reigning and create a safe space to explore, among other things, the knowledge networks that link international wildlife conservation and locally holistic fox disposal …"
Well, yes. You can't help but be a little sceptical here. Just take a look at Defra's ministerial line-up - full of agriculturalists who appear to care more for the welfare of the farming community than that of our delicate ecosystems balance. But I have wandered off at a tangent.
Truth be told, I am delighted that I now have something proper in common with our William. I too have enrolled onto a sustainability course - on climate change solutions and challenges. Mine isn't customised, but it is free; anybody can apply to join in and learn. It's online (one carbon-upmanship over the Prince) and being led by the University of Exeter.
Putting my competitive instincts to one side, I sincerely hope that over the next 10 weeks of his course, the Prince receives a sufficient enough education to administer his eventual responsibilities in this area with enlightenment and a good heart. In the meantime, I look forward to comparing grades.maxine perella