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His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales to Become Royal Visitor to the Royal College of Art

The Royal College of Art is delighted to announce that His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales is to take on the role of Royal Visitor with immediate effect.

Dr Paul Thompson, Vice-Chancellor of the RCA, said: ‘It’s a great honour for us to have The Prince of Wales as Royal Visitor. His Royal Highness has worked for decades through various charities on providing skills, training, and educational opportunities for young people. His support of drawing – particularly through the Royal Drawing School – making and craft align perfectly with the RCA’s mission to promote “thinking through making” and the power of studio-based learning and experimentation.’

The Prince of Wales succeeds His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh who was Royal Visitor for 50 years from 1967, the year the Royal Charter was granted by Her Majesty The Queen, giving the RCA university status and the power to grant degrees. During his time as Royal Visitor the College was extremely fortunate to welcome The Duke of Edinburgh on many occasions. In 1992 he officially opened the Stevens Building, marking the 25th anniversary of the granting of the Royal Charter, and he has visited several of the student graduate exhibitions.

In the foreword to The Perfect Place to Grow: 175 Years of the Royal College of Art (2012) The Duke of Edinburgh reflected ‘[…] it is quite evident that the College has been doing extremely well since its 150th anniversary’ and ‘[…] has proved over the years that it can successfully discover talent and give it every opportunity to develop and to flourish.’

The RCA look forward to welcoming The Prince of Wales as its Royal Visitor. In 2015 he visited the Healthcare Innovation Exchange (HELIX) at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, a design studio established in collaboration between the RCA and Imperial College London's Institute of Global Health Innovation. During this visit the Prince commented: ‘It's great to see these three institutions working together, the Trust, Imperial College and the Royal College of Art. My great, great, great grandfather, Prince Albert, would have been thrilled!’

The history of the RCA is closely entwined with the legacy of Prince Albert and Albertopolis, the nickname given to the area of land purchased with the surplus from The Great Exhibition in 1851, which is now home to educational institutions including the RCA and Imperial College London, as well as the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), the National History Museum and the Science Museum.

The RCA’s foundations can be seen throughout Albertopolis – the frieze on the Royal Albert Hall, visible from the terrace of the student café at Kensington, and the exterior of the V&A, where V&A/RCA History of Design students are jointly taught, were both created by RCA students in 1873. Each summer the College's Convocation ceremony takes place at the Royal Albert Hall, and RCA graduates gather outside and on the steps of the Albert Memorial to celebrate.

Instigated by Prince Albert, the area continues to be a fertile ground for the cross-over of art, design, industry and science. The announcement of the new Royal Visitor comes at a time of exciting growth and development for the College, which was recently acknowledged as the number one university for art and design in the world for the fourth year running (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2018). As the RCA looks to the future – with improvements to the Darwin Building at Kensington and a new flagship building in Battersea – it is a place where the intersection of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics with art and design (STEAM) builds on the College’s founding aim to improve industry through design. Most importantly, the RCA continues to provide an environment for the talent of its students to develop and flourish.