Posted inOxford News

Duchess of Cornwall visits Oxford University

On the 26th January, the Duchess of Cornwall visited the Bodleian Libraries’ latest exhibition, “Melancholy: A New Anatomy”, and opened the Marcela Botnar Wing in the University of Oxford’s Botnar Institute for Musculoskeletal Sciences. 

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall visited the Weston Library as part of her commitment to the “importance of literacy, and promoting the benefits of reading to both children and adults alike”. The Duchess was greeted by Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Laura How, Chief Operating Officer of the Bodleian Libraries, and Marjorie Glasgow, Lord-Lieutenant of Oxfordshire. 

Professor Richardson said, “We were delighted to host HRH the Duchess of Cornwall at the University of Oxford today. As the parent of a graduate the Duchess knows the University well.” Laura How commented, “We were delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness to the Weston Library today to present some of our most prized collections and celebrate the power of literature in all its forms.” 

The Duchess was joined by Sir Philip Pullman, an Honorary Fellow at Exeter College, on her visit to the Bodleian Libraries’ exhibition, “Melancholy: A New Anatomy”, which marks the 400th anniversary of Robert Burton’s treatise on mental maladies. The Duchess and Pullman were guided around the exhibition by its main curator, Professor John Geddes.

Following the visit to the exhibition, the Duchess then saw some of the “incredible items housed in the library”, including the Sheldon Tapestry, a map of Oxfordshire which is on display for the first time in a century, The Bodley Bestiary, Queen Elizabeth I’s New Year’s Book for Katherine Parr, and Tolkien’s dust-jacket design for The Hobbit.

The Duchess signed the library visitor book in the Mackerras Reading Room, after which several students and library staff were given the opportunity to meet her. Devika, the Student Union Vice President for Graduates said “It was lovely meeting the Duchess and the best part was being able to introduce her to other students, who are doing some amazing diverse research, which she very kindly listened to and engaged with.” 

Whilst she was in Oxford, the Duchess also opened the Marcela Botnar Wing, the newest building for the Botnar Institute for Musculoskeletal Science. The Duchess is the Patron of the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre Charity, which raised £9 million for the new wing. Speaking at a reception for guests, sponsors, donors, and researchers, the Duchess of Cornwall said: “I just wanted to congratulate everybody involved. Every time I come to the Botnar, I have forgotten just how good it is with all the incredible research and things that are going on. Some of the things I have seen today I just wouldn’t have believed unless I’d seen it with my own eyes. Thank you so much for having me here again.” 

The Botnar Institute is a “world-leading research centre in musculoskeletal sciences” and carries out research into improving the treatment of arthritis, osteoporosis, and other bone and joint disease. The new wing marks the third phase of the Botnar Institute for Musculoskeletal Sciences, part of the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS). The focus of the wing will be on bio-engineering, with researchers working on developing new technology to treat patients with musculoskeletal conditions. 

Following the opening of the wing, Her Royal Highness toured the new facility, where she was shown how synthetic biomaterials used for tissue repair would be made in a sterile environment. She was also shown other examples of the Institute’s work by Professor Cussios, Director of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, and Eleanor Stride, Professor of Biomaterials.