Students disrupt royal visit in protest over tuition fees

Students have disrupted the Princess Royal’s visit to the University of Edinburgh as a protest against tuition fees.

The ceremony to install Princess Anne as the Chancellor of the university had to be moved on Monday after the group gathered outside the Assembly Hall on the Mound. The students, holding placards reading: "If you can afford a princess, you can afford my degree".

Traffic had to be diverted as Nicholson Street was closed by police dealing with the large group.

The students are protesting against tuition fees for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Earlier this month, the university announced they would charge non-Scottish students £9000 a year to study at the institution.

Since then, a group has already staged an occupation of a lecture theatre at the university.

On Monday they are holding a protest outside the ceremony, during which author JK Rowling will receive an award from Princess Anne.

Speaking ahead of the ceremony, Amy Fox, a third year Economics student at Edinburgh, said: "Our aim is to disrupt and publicly humiliate management, whilst minimising any disruption to teaching."

Princess Anne succeeds the Duke of Edinburgh as the Chancellor of the university. The Duke of Edinburgh stepped down from the role in 2010, having held the position since 1953.

She was elected in March and will be the University's eighth Chancellor in the 150-year history of the position. She is also Patron of the University's Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

Her new responsibilities will include acting as president of the university's General Council and nominating an Assessor in the University Court.

Following the inauguration ceremony, the new Chancellor will unveil a plaque that marks the newly completed landscaping of the quadrangle at Old College.

During the ceremony in the Assembly Hall on The Mound, Princess Anne will also present an award to Harry Potter author JK Rowling, in recognition of her fundraising efforts for the university.

Last year Ms Rowling donated £10m to fund the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic at the University, which will focus on developing treatments for multiple sclerosis and other degenerative neurological conditions.

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