ST ANDREWS will come to a standstill today (Friday) as residents welcome their future king and queen back to where it all began.
For the first time since announcing their engagement last November, Prince William and his fiancée Kate Middleton will visit the town where they met as students.
Thousands of well-wishers are expected to flock to St Andrews this morning to catch a glimpse of the happy couple, who are in town as part of William’s role as patron of the university’s 600th anniversary celebrations.
The world’s media will also be in attendance as the global spotlight falls on the ‘Auld Grey Toun’ ahead of the royal wedding on April 29.
To add to the celebratory atmosphere, the university today announced it will create a scholarship of up to £70,000 as its wedding present to the couple.
The William and Kate scholarship will be awarded annually to a student who, without such financial support, would be unable to attend St Andrews.
It will meet the cost of fees, accommodation and living expenses for a four-year undergraduate course.
Motorists arriving in St Andrews this morning will be directed to the West Sands car park, and tour coaches to Old Guardbridge Road.
Blue badge holders will have access to the Murray Park car park nearer the town centre.
The roads surrounding the university will have restricted access until 5pm today, with a number of streets closed to traffic completely.
Alternative parking is available at Petheram Bridge or the Bruce Embankment.
William and Kate, who studied geography and history of art respectively, will attend a reception and view the university’s surviving Papal Bull — one of the charters granted by Pope Benedict XIII in 1413.
They will then move on to the historic St Salvator’s Quadrangle, where they will meet students and staff and unveil a plaque to mark the launch of the three-year 600th anniversary celebrations.
Meanwhile, St Andrews Community Council this week announced it will be hosting festivities in St Salvator’s Quad on the day of the royal marriage.
Dubbed the St Andrews Wedding Breakfast, the celebrations will kick off at 8am on Friday, April 29, with the party set to last a full five hours.
Community council member Kyffin Roberts, who is chairing the committee planning the event, told the Citizen: “The St Andrews Wedding Breakfast will provide a unique opportunity to bring our community together and raise money for the happy couple’s favoured charities, while also projecting a positive image of St Andrews to an estimated viewing audience of over one billion people.”
Details of the event will be finalised at a meeting on March 1, but it has been confirmed that a big screen in St Salvator’s Quad will show the Westminster Abbey wedding, while a BBC camera crew will be in St Andrews to transmit footage in the opposite direction.
Mr Roberts added: “This is both a fantastic opportunity and a real test for St Andrews, but we are confident that the town can pull together to produce an occasion of which we can all be proud.”
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