The Universities Fit for a Royal

royal education

The Universities and Subjects of Choice for the World’s Royals

When we think of princes and princesses, we may not always think of hours spent poring over the books or writing up a personal statement for university applications, but many members of the world’s royal families attend university. In fact, the privilege of a royal title seems to open up doors at some of the most prestigious institutions around the world.

With that in mind, we wanted to find out where the world’s princes and princesses spent their student days, eating baked beans straight out of the tin, partying on a weeknight, and getting essay help from their peers.

Which subjects have they studied and are there any subjects that are more popular among royalty?

Popular Universities for Royalty

The UK is a popular destination for royal students to visit, with many of them receiving their earlier school education at British boarding schools. With two of the UK’s most prestigious universities in the top three, it suggests that the British education system is envied the world over.

  • University of Oxford - 9 royal students

This prestigious university is one of the best-known institutions in the world, with students travelling from all over the world to study within its historic halls. It is thought to have been teaching students as long ago as 1096, making it the perfect campus for royal students.

Royal alumni include Japan’s Emperor Naruhito, Belgium’s King Philippe, and Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq.

  • Gakushuin University - 6 royal students

The Japanese institution has been a popular place of study for the Japanese royal family, with the current emperor and four of his children being alumni of the Tokyo-based campus.

  • University of Cambridge - 5 royal students

This is one Oxbridge race that Cambridge is behind in, with five royals having attended the institution. 

Royal alumni include two of the UK’s royal family: Charles, Prince of Wales, and his brother, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, as well as Lesotho’s King Letsie III, and Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II.

popular subjects for royals to study

When it comes to the subjects studied, many royal students opt for subjects that will aid them in their roles in the political and diplomatic realm.

  1. Political Science - 15 royal students

    Learning about politics is a popular choice for royal students, with graduates including the likes of Monaco’s Sovereign Prince Albert II, Bahrain’s Crown Prince, Prince Salman, and Luxembourg’s Grand Duke Henri.

  2. Law - 11 royal students

    As the second most popular degree for royals, the subject of law has been studied by royals including Spain’s King Felipe VI, Liechtenstein’s Prince Constantin, and Thailand’s Princess Bajrakitiyabha.

  3. History - 7 royal students

    Whether they learn about their country’s history or the history of their own family, this is a popular subject for royals, with students including the UK’s Princess Beatrice, the Netherlands’ King Willem-Alexander, and Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf.

  4. International Relations - 7 royal students

    Tying with history as the third most popular subject for royal students, international relations has graduates such as Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel, Tonga’s King Tupou VI, and Malaysia’s King Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.

Royal graduate levels

Of the 67 royals we looked at, there were 33 bachelor’s degrees, 25 master’s degrees, and four PhDs, with the latter being held by three different royals.

The royal PhDs are Japan’s Crown Prince Fumihito who holds a PhD in Ornithology from the Graduate University for Advanced Studies, SOKENDAI, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI who holds a PhD in law from the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, and the United Arab Emirates’ Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan who holds two PhD degrees, one in International Studies from the University of Limerick, and the other from Nasser Higher Military Academy.

Methodology

We used Wikipedia entries for members of the current royal families of the globe, as taken from the list of current ruling monarchs.

We looked at the current heads of state, branching out to their children and grandchildren where necessary. We did not include spouses of royals but focused on those born into royalty.

In some cases, one individual may have attended an institution multiple times or achieved multiple degrees of the same level. In these cases, we counted each time an institution was attended and each degree awarded to the royal student.

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