William to take Cambridge University agriculture course

Prince William looks at cattle during his visit to the Anglesey agricultural show in August 2013
Image caption The duke will learn about the challenges facing the UK's rural communities

The Duke of Cambridge is to become a full-time student of agricultural management at Cambridge University from next week, Kensington Palace says.

Prince William will learn about issues facing the UK's rural communities and farming industry during the 10-week bespoke course.

The studies are expected to give him a foundation for when he takes over the Duchy of Cornwall from Prince Charles.

It is thought the duke will live in Cambridge for part of the time.

A Kensington Palace spokesman said the prince was "very much looking forward" to the course, which runs until mid-March.

The course is run by the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL), an institution within Cambridge University's School of Technology, which has William's father, Prince Charles, as its patron.

The palace spokesman said: "The executive education programme of seminars, lectures and meetings will draw on the strengths of academics across the university.

"The course has been designed to help provide the duke with an understanding of contemporary issues affecting agricultural business and rural communities in the UK."

Image caption The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are set to visit New Zealand and Australia next year

The Duchy of Cornwall is a portfolio of land, property and investments which the prince will inherit from his father when Charles becomes king.

Prince William, who is second-in-line to the throne, will have 18 to 20 hours of lectures, seminars and meetings a week, as well as essays to complete and field trips to attend.

The cost of the course is being met privately.

The duke graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2005 with a class 2:1 degree in geography, and it was as an undergraduate that he met his future wife Kate Middleton.

He then spent more than seven years in the military, most recently working as an RAF search and rescue pilot based in Anglesey, north Wales.

Over the next year he is expected to focus on royal duties and charity work with his wife, now the Duchess of Cambridge - as well as his studies.

In April, the couple are set to visit New Zealand and Australia, most likely accompanied by their baby son, Prince George.

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