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King Charles announced as university’s new patron


Following a review of more than 1,000 royal patronages, the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) is delighted to announce that King Charles III is its new patron.

The University, which was founded as the Royal Agricultural College in 1845 and was the first agricultural college in the English-speaking world, has had monarchs as Patrons throughout its existence.

After the death of Queen Elizabeth II, who was Patron of the institution from 1952 until her death in 2022, the University has been waiting to hear the outcome of the review.  

Professor Peter McCaffery, Vice-Chancellor of the RAU, said: “We were thrilled to receive confirmation from Buckingham Palace earlier this week, marking the first anniversary of the King’s coronation, that ‘His Majesty would be delighted to accept the Patronage of the Royal Agricultural University as Patron’.

“His generous acceptance reflects the longevity of our relationship with the royal family, our relevance to the sector we serve, and the personal interest of The King.”

The RAU, which became a university in 2013, is due to celebrate its 180th anniversary in September 2025.

Professor McCaffery added: “We have exciting plans ahead of our 180th anniversary including the completion of our new state-of-the-art Land Laboratory Teaching Centre, the plans for our new Innovation Village, and our partnership agreements in both the UAE and Uzbekistan to support them in meeting their COP28 commitments by establishing centres of excellence for sustainable agriculture.

“We very much look forward to updating His Majesty on our progress with all these developments, and many more, and hope that he may have time to visit us, to see for himself what we are doing, at some point in the future.”

His Majesty became President of the Royal Agricultural College in 1982 while he was the Prince of Wales and has visited a number of times, most recently in 2015 when he attended the University’s annual Graduation ceremony at St. John Baptist Church in Cirencester Market Place.

After following the academic procession into the church, he presented degrees to students from the School of Agriculture, Food and Environment, and gave a short address. 

Dame Fiona Reynolds, Chair of the RAU’s Governing Council, said: “‘We are deeply honoured that His Majesty The King has accepted the patronage of the Royal Agricultural University.

“Our mission, and passion, for sustainable farming, food production, and land management owes a great deal to the leadership of His Majesty who has shown sustained commitment to these issues for many years.

“The world needs solutions to the climate, nature, and public health crises and we are committed to helping to find them. It is an enormous privilege to continue our long association with The King and his predecessors through his Patronage.”

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