In a postage-stamp-sized photograph, the boyish Prince Charles is identified ‘WALES. H.R.H. The Prince of.’ 

The 18-year-old Prince of Wales posed for his photograph in the Wren Library in October 1967, continuing the rite of passage that marks the start of undergraduate study at Trinity and Cambridge: Matriculation and Admission. 

The photograph, in Trinity’s archive since it was taken 56 years ago, is being released for the first time prior to the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III, as part of the College’s celebrations. 

As the Prince of Wales, Charles studied Archaeology and Anthropology in his first year and then History for two years. He graduated in 1970. 

At Cambridge, students matriculate when they agree to observe the Statutes and Ordinances of the University. They are then admitted to their chosen College – one of 29 Colleges in Cambridge that accept undergraduates.

In the Prince of Wales’ day, Admission to Trinity involved three elements: being photographed individually for the record, filling in the Admissions Book, and donning a gown for the Matriculation photograph (of Freshers - the new cohort of students.) 

Trinity Fellow, Professor Adrian Poole, a contemporary of the former Prince of Wales, recalls the experience of the matriculation ‘mugshot.’

"For virtually all of us, it was our first time in the Wren Library. We were overawed and a bit intimidated. Were we in the right place? So many books. Busts of Cicero and Marcus Aurelius. A statue of Byron. A Prince more or less scarcely seemed out of place."

Two of the above traditions of Admission to College remain today. Freshers must enter their details in the Admissions Book; joining the year-group photograph is optional. 

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