Possibly the most random royal rumor of recent weeks is the one doing the rounds that Prince Harry will be enrolling at Yale next semester—to study law.
Sources have told Page Six that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who briefly lectured at Yale starting in 2008, was in the frame to “smooth the admissions process” as he did in 2006 for his own son, Euan Blair, who even got a $92,000 scholarship.
“Yale would be over the moon to get Harry as a student,” one insider said. “Imagine the kind of fundraising they could do.”
The buzz was real enough—and the rumor quickly grew legs. This is perhaps not least due to the fact that the media abhors an information vacuum and the ‘What Will Harry Do Next?’ saga is a question that Harry and his advisers have repeatedly failed to answer themselves.
The palace, as always, was unwilling to comment directly on unfounded rumors, which also enabled the ‘Yale’ story to snowball after it was published by Page Six.
The truth is that having left the army last year, Harry has bounced around a variety of charitable commitments, but is not doing enough visible royal work to be considered a ‘full time working Royal,’ as the always-questionable job definition goes.
So why shouldn’t he take a little law degree?
Well, friends of Harry were quick to point out that the idea of Harry returning voluntarily to any kind of academic establishment is truly testing the bounds of possibility. The smooting required might even be beyond Tony Blair’s powers.
However the palace maintained a decorous, tight-lipped stance. Today, however, an exasperated official royal source finally told the Daily Beast, “It’s not true.”
It was, to be honest, high time to put paid to this crazy story.
Harry may have inherited high emotional intelligence from his mother Diana—who famously said she was ‘as thick as two short planks’—but academic prowess has never been something the Prince has claimed or pretended to.
“Exams were always a nightmare,” he said in one interview, “I’m one of those people that, during my flying course especially, I would be fine at flying but every now and then a written test would come up and I’d be absolutely useless, and I’ve been like that from stage one of my youth.”
Harry was old for his year at Eton because he had to repeat his final year at Ludgrove prep school in order to get the grades for entry. His GCSE (exams taken at 16) results were never made public but in his A-levels he got a B in art and a D in geography. Most students at Eton do three A-levels (at 18) but he dropped a third subject, history of art, after a poor intermediate exam result.
Harry’s art results were marred by claims that he cheated in the exam and that his teacher wrote a significant part of the written element.
In an employment tribunal, the teacher in question claimed to have made a tape recording of Harry admitting that he contributed just a "tiny, tiny bit, about a sentence" to his "expressive art" coursework that the teacher had been ordered to help him draw up.
Eton College and Prince Harry always denied the accusations, and the tape was never made public.
The tribunal never ruled on the claims of cheating as it was not part of their remit.
School was not a happy time for Harry (although he excelled at army training there).
These days, it is rightly and much more widely understood that intelligence, especially of children, is not simply a matter of exam results and book learning.
But still, trust me, Harry’s not going to Yale to study law.
That’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.