HRH The Princess Royal has been installed as the first Chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands at a ceremony in Inverness on Thursday 7 June.
The ceremony saw The Princess Royal receive her Chancellor’s robe, a gown that has been specially created for the role. The garment uses the purple and silver theme of the university’s existing academic robes. Its shoulders are decorated with silver hazel nuts, catkins and leaves. The hazel is associated with wisdom in Celtic and Norse tradition.
The Chancellor is the titular head of the university. The Princess Royal accepted the role in November 2011, after the institution became a university in February of that year. The role will be both ceremonial and ambassadorial, with The Princess Royal representing the university in the UK and overseas.
One of Her Royal Highness’s first duties will be to present former Principal, Professor Robert Cormack, and Chair of the Board of Governors, Colin MacKay CBE, with honorary fellowships.
The installation will also see the university receive the official documentation for its coat of arms. Unveiled last week, the design reflects important aspects of the university. The Lord Lyon King of Arms, the official responsible for heraldry in Scotland, will present The Princess Royal with the Letters Patent shortly after she has received her Chancellor’s robe.
The ceremony featured music by music students of the university, as well by members of the Highland Youth Orchestra.
After Her Royal Highness was installed, she led an academic procession along Ness Walk to the university’s executive office, where guests enjoyed a garden party. Refreshments were provided by catering students and staff from Moray College UHI, West Highland College UHI, North Highland College UHI and Inverness College UHI and the royal standard flag was flown above the office.
The day ended with a peal by the Inverness Cathedral bell ringers.
“This is a great day for both the university and the Highlands and Islands region” said Professor Matthew MacIver, chair of the university court. “The Princess Royal is a longtime supporter. She has already visited many of our campuses and her continued patronage will help to raise the profile of the university.”
Education secretary Michael Russell, who attended the ceremony,
said: “I am very much looking forward to seeing HRH The Princess Royal installed as the first ever Chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands. This is another important step on the new university’s journey and another landmark day for staff and students.
"The university is already playing a key role in the area, providing the skills and qualifications young people need without having to travel miles from home. This is important for the economy and future of the Highlands and Islands and I am sure they will have many more occasions to celebrate in the future.”