'Lonely' William's crisis at college


Prince William is determined to overcome his 'boredom and loneliness' at St Andrews and stick at his studies, royal officials said last night.

He was said to have been considering quitting his degree course in the Scottish town.

But the royal advisers dismissed suggestions that he would switch to the more metropolitan atmosphere of Edinburgh University - which had originally featured on the Prince's list of choices for his further education.

Doubts about his decision to opt for St Andrews surfaced when he went home at Christmas. The 19-year old Prince discussed abandoning his four-year history of art degree with his father. Prince Charles advised him that most students took a while to settle in and urged him to 'stick with it'.

Last night St James's Palace described talk that he wanted to quit as 'pure speculation', but stopped short of a denial.

Royal sources confirmed that he had had 'a wobble', but said he now felt a lot more content.

'He became bored and fed up and that made him rather lonely,' said a senior source. 'Frankly, he was feeling sorry for himself, but it was no more than other students experience when they first go away from home. He's over it now.'

However William continues to spend most of his spare time at Highgrove. On Saturday he was at the nearby Beaufort Hunt point-to-point with friends Guy Pelly and James Mulholland.

It is the third time in just four weeks that he has spent the weekend away. Last term he stayed at the university for only two out of 13 weekends.

At best the trip home takes him four hours by air, but it can last up to eight hours by car.

Yesterday sources at St Andrews confirmed that the Prince had requested a meeting with principal Dr Brian Laing at which he spoke in general terms of his difficulties.

'He wanted to know what the university could do to improve things for him,' the source said.

'However, often it's very much down to the individual.'

Fellow students say William was often seen in pubs early on in his time at St Andrews - including the lively Ma Belle's pub and the Westport Bar, where he has an arrangement to sit at a table behind a pillar.

But since then he appears to have retreated into himself, said one. 'There are around 20 balls a term at St Andrews and William has only gone to one.

'In St Andrews you make friends through extracurricular activities, and so far William's only concession to those is to play hockey.

'He needs to throw himself into the social scene a bit more.'

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