Royal bails on LMH awards dinner for charity prize

LMH students were left disappointed this week after Princess Anne’s office announced she would no longer be attending a dinner at the college.

She was due to go to the special formal after presenting a prize run by the Ockenden Trust on February 18th. An email from Rebecca Ward, LMH’s Alumni Relations Officer, described the move as “disappointing”.

“We have just been informed by her office that the Princess Royal is unfortunately no longer able to attend the dinner that evening and so will depart from LMH after the Ceremony at 7pm,” she said.

“This is disappointing, but we shall still be welcoming her representatives, the teams from Zimbabwe and India who are short-listed for the prize, and the Trustees of Ockenden International and their guests to join us at the dinner.”

Sign-ups for the dinner began on February 4th, and students attending were promised free alcohol.

“We are pleased to let you know that the College will still be providing drinks at Formal Hall that evening, and so attendance will still be limited to members of College. There is no longer a requirement to wear gowns, and the normal arrangements will apply for taking your seat in Hall.  It will not be necessary to be seated by 6.45pm,” Ward added.

The Princess will be at LMH to present the second annual Ockenden International Prize, which will give $75,000 to an existing organisation that helps refugees and displaced people around the world.

Ockenden International’s founder, Joyce Pearce, attended LMH in the 1930s. Stephen Claypole, a trustee of Ockenden International, said it was “appropriate for [Princess Anne] to visit LMH because both Ockenden International and Save The Children Fund have their origins at the College.”

“We are very pleased that the Princess has agreed to present the 2014 Ockenden International Prize. It’s enormously important to our work to have her support,” he added.

A record 97 applicants have applied for the prize this year. In addition to the annual prize, Ockenden International also funds a Junior Research Fellowship at LMH.