Three Queen’s students didn’t expect Facebook to be the first topic of conversation when they recently sat down for tea with the Duke of York at Buckingham Palace.
“He made a joke about how the Palace had screened our Facebook profiles prior to our visit,” says fourth-year economics student David Schefter, who enjoyed a 75-minute meeting with Prince Andrew in London.
The Duke of York’s wit immediately put the students at ease as they discussed a wide range of topics including literature, politics and pop culture.
Three Queen’s and four University of Western Ontario students accepted the invitation for a royal tea while on exchange at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Prince Andrew is the patron of the Canadian Robert T. Jones Jr. Scholarship Foundation, the sponsor of the exchange.
Meeting royalty for the first time can be extremely intimidating, but the students were instructed to relax and be themselves. Emily Masching, a fourth-year economics student, said her nervousness disappeared as soon as they started talking about the books they were reading and their plans after university.
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“The conversation with the Duke of York was very engaging,” added Mr. Schefter. “He is very knowledgeable about many subjects, and he very graciously gave everyone a chance to speak and add to the conversation.”
The students sipped Earl Grey tea from porcelain cups stamped with the royal crest and tiny finger sandwiches were served. However, Ms. Masching was surprised when the students were then offered chocolate cake.
“Perhaps it was a special request of the Duke of York,” she says.
The students also cherished their rare glimpse inside Buckingham Palace.
“The room was really beautiful and elaborately decorated as you would expect,” Ms. Masching says.
“The image that will stick in my memory is looking through the window to the front balcony of the Palace and out over the Mall where endless crowds of tourists were straining simply to get to the Palace gates,” Mr. Schefter says.
Tea at Buckingham Palace reminded the students that the royals are real people.
“They may live and work behind palace gates, but they still inhabit the same world of Facebook and credit crunches,” Mr. Schefter says.
Photo courtesy of Queen’s University
Three Queen’s and four University of Western Ontario students took tea with Prince Andrew at Buckingham Palace. The Queen’s students were Kate Icely (far left), David Schefter (third from the right), and Emily Masching (second from the right).