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Princess Royal receives honorary doctorate

By Mandy Cook

Memorial bestowed its highest honour upon the Princess Royal, the colonel-in-chief of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, on April 23.

The daughter of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh received an honorary doctorate of laws degree in a special convocation on the St. John’s campus.
After a performance by the MUN Chamber Choir and an oration by Memorial University orator Shane O’Dea, Her Royal Highness was conferred her degree and delivered an address to the assembled guests.

Linking the university’s foundation as a “living and growing” memorial to those lost in the First World War and the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, the Princess Royal stated there is an “unbreakable bond” between the two.

Meanwhile, the Princess visited the Marine Institute on Saturday, April 24.

She visited the Marine Institute’s Centre for Marine Simulation and experienced a realistic and immersive simulation exercise depicting the actions of a Second World War corvette escorting a convoy across the North Atlantic.

The simulation was created in association with the Canadian navy to celebrate the Canadian navy centennial. The Marine Institute has a long and distinguished partnership with the Canadian navy. Since 1992, the Marine Institute has graduated more than 800 navy cadets and houses the Canadian Forces Naval Engineering School (CFNES St. John’s) on its campus.

Following the simulation, the Princess Royal met with Battle of the Atlantic veterans along with naval staff, students and Marine Institute employees.

Glenn Blackwood, executive director of the Marine Institute, said it was an honour to welcome the Princess just four short months after hosting HRH Prince of Wales, Prince Charles in November 2009.

The Princess Royal was visiting the province to present new colours to the 1st battalion of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and to participate in a variety of other activities being co-ordinated by the regiment.

Memorial has had a long and distinguished association with the Royal Family, including the naming of the university’s main library in honour of Queen Elizabeth II.

During a royal visit in 1964, the previous colonel-in-chief of the RNR and holder of the title Princess Royal, Princess Mary, was awarded an honorary degree by Memorial University.

The special convocation took place in the D. F. Cook Recital Hall, located in Memorial’s School of Music, with a reception afterward.

A video of the special convocation can be seen at