ADDRESS OF THE CHANCELLOR, MASTERS, AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE ON THE OCCASION OF HER MAJESTY'S VISIT TO CAMBRIDGE ON THURSDAY, 19 NOVEMBER 2009, TO CELEBRATE THE UNIVERSITY'S EIGHT HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY
TO THE QUEEN'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY, THE HUMBLE ADDRESS OF THE CHANCELLOR, MASTERS, AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE ON THE OCCASION OF HER MAJESTY'S VISIT TO CAMBRIDGE TO CELEBRATE OUR EIGHT HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY
May it please Your Majesty,
We, Your Majesty's most loyal and devoted Subjects, the Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the University of Cambridge, offer our dutiful and heartfelt welcome as we mark the eighth century of our University, as we celebrate our history and achievements, and as we contemplate our future.
Francis Bacon, of Trinity College, wrote that scholars should enter upon learning ‘to give a true account of their gift of reason, to the benefit and use of men'. This philosophy has indeed guided the University in our endeavours to encourage each generation of our students in their chosen disciplines, and to prepare them for their professions and for responsible citizenship. By the most rigorous research, we continue to further our understanding of the universe, and to improve the lot of humanity as a whole. Our forerunners have brought about world-changing advances in medicine, in the sciences and engineering, and in the arts and humanities; they have provided leadership in public life, both in Your Majesty's Kingdom and Realms, and in many countries beyond; and they have enriched the world's artistic and cultural experience. In this celebratory year, we happily commemorate their achievements, and we are confident that the present generation has the same potential to transform tomorrow.
Our long history has witnessed many changes, some imperceptibly slow, many breathtakingly quick. Our imprint on society gathered pace in our early years, until King Henry VI's great patronage made certain our consequence to the nation's education. Since then our involvement has been ceaseless, and our attainments abundant. This anniversary year presents the example of Charles Darwin, of Christ's College, born two hundred years ago, whose freedom to experiment at Cambridge led him to change the way we think about our planet, its plants and animals, and about our place in the world. Today we continue this commitment to challenge settled thinking, for the benefit of that world.
Your Majesty's royal forebears have been our generous benefactors and patrons throughout these eight hundred years. They have founded Colleges, they have established Chairs, and they have enriched the life of collegiate Cambridge in countless other ways. Your mother Queen Elizabeth was the first woman to be admitted to a degree in this Senate-House, and the University enjoyed Your Majesty's personal favour when you entrusted to us the education of Prince Charles and Prince Edward. We are profoundly thankful that Your Majesty has most graciously consented to be present with us today as we recall our history, acknowledge the legacy of our predecessors, and look forward to the future with confidence. We are deeply grateful for this opportunity to reaffirm our loyalty and devotion to the Throne and Person of Your Majesty.
CHANCELLOR OF THE UNIVERSITY