Wedding gift for royal couple from old university

Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:49pm EST
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Prince William and Kate Middleton will receive an early wedding gift on Friday when the Scottish university where their student romance first blossomed presents them with a scholarship created in their honor.

The couple will make their second official visit together since announcing their engagement in November to St. Andrews University to launch its 600th anniversary celebrations.

They mark the formal charter granted by Bishop Henry Wardlaw in February 1411 and the achievement of full university status conferred by Pope Benedict XIII by Papal Bull in 1413.

William, second in line to the British throne, is patron of the 600th Anniversary Appeal which aims to raise 100 million pounds ($160 million) to secure the university's future and fund scholarships making it accessible to all "regardless of background or circumstance."

The new scholarship, worth up to 70,000 pounds ($112,800), will meet the costs of tuition, accommodation and living expenses for a four-year undergraduate degree in science, the arts, medicine or divinity.

It will be presented as a wedding gift to the couple when they visit the university later on Friday.

St Andrews, located on Scotland's picturesque east coast, enjoys a reputation for being Britain's "top matchmaking university" -- around one in 10 students meet their spouses there, officials say.

With no nightclubs, students tend to socialize at dinner parties or "society" balls, contributing to its reputation as a peculiarly upmarket seat of learning.

William, 28, and Middleton, 29, met in 2001 when they studied art history together.

The prince attended a charity fashion show where Middleton modeled a skimpy outfit, they shared a house on the outskirts of the town and romance bloomed.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)