Indeed, the Queen’s youngest child only managed to achieve a C and two Ds at A-level. Despite this, he went on to study History at Jesus College, graduating in 1986 with a 2:2. In The Crown season four, a teenage Prince Edward has dinner with his mother in episode four.
The Queen discovers that her son, who is in the sixth form at Gordonstoun, is bullied and has become “vengeful” in his role as head boy ‒ or Guardian, as they call it at Gordonstoun.
Edward also boasts to her that he can do anything he wants, as doors will always be open to him simply because he is a prince.
The Queen asks him how his academic work is going, noting that she read his recent report.
He says: “Don’t worry, I’ve met all the Cambridge acceptance people, they’re going to make it happen.
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Prince Edward went to Cambridge University despite poor grades
Prince Edward at Cambridge University; pictures were taken for his 21st birthday
“They’re no fools, it’s good for them too ‒ a member of the Royal Family at Jesus College!
“Just wait and see how the applications rocket.”
The Queen says it is “not a particularly attractive attitude” but Edward simply insists that it’s true nonetheless.
He says: “Same with the Marines, same with the City, same with any area of life I might fancy, people will always want me.
Olivia Colman as the Queen and Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip in The Crown
“And what do you expect me to do about that, say no?
“There has to be some upside to being who we are! And some return for what we do for the country.”
These comments are almost certainly alluding to Edward’s otherwise inexplicable acceptance at the prestigious Jesus College, Cambridge.
They also hint that Edward’s short-lived career in the Royal Marines may have been due to this royal privilege.
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Prince Edward at Cambridge University turning 21
When Edward left university in 1986, he joined the Marines, who had paid £12,000 towards his Cambridge University tuition on condition of five years of service.
However, in January 1987, he dropped out of the gruelling commando course after completing just one-third of the 12-month training.
He reportedly received a berating from Prince Philip, who was Captain General Royal Marines at the time, which “reduced his son to prolonged tears”.
However, other media reported that Philip was the most sympathetic family member towards his son’s decision.
Prince Edward in his Royal Marines uniform
Edward himself said later that his father had not put undue pressure on him to change his mind.
After leaving the Marines, Edward opted for a career in entertainment and broadcasting.
He hoped to launch his career on the back of the ill-fated ‘It’s a Royal Knockout’ ‒ a medieval-themed TV charity fundraiser starring himself, his sister Princess Anne, his brother Prince Andrew and his sister-in-law Sarah, Duchess of York.
Prince Edward studying at Cambridge University
However, the event was treated with derision by large sections of the press and public and Edward was ridiculed instead of rewarded.
Nevertheless, he still started his own production company called Ardent Productions in 1993, which he led until 2002 when he stepped down as production director and joint managing director.
Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1992 and the pair have two children – Lady Louise Windsor, 17, and James, Viscount Severn, 12.