Et tu, Mary! I’ll teach George and Charlotte Latin, says new Dame
CAMBRIDGE don Mary Beard offered to be a personal Latin tutor to Prince William’s children as she collected her damehood at Buckingham Palace yesterday.
The academic and broadcaster said she would do ‘ anything’ to teach five-year- old Prince George, Princess Charlotte, three, and baby Prince Louis the language.
After collecting her honour from the Duke of Cambridge, Professor Beard said: ‘Well, I hope he was listening. Of course he was very polite and said, “I’ll have to get you to teach them”.
‘I didn’t quite say, “You get the little squats to learn Latin … ” but I did say you get them to learn because it is very important.’
Wearing a green and blue hat and a black cardigan, the historian was seen chatting with Prince William as she received her award. The 63-year-old, who was accompanied by her children Zoe and Raphael, was receiving her damehood for services to the study of classical civilisation, five years after being awarded an OBE for her research.
Professor Beard is also known for her TV work, recently presenting the BBC art history show Civilisations, with Simon Schama and David Olusoga.
She said she had a ‘ touch of republican’ about her in her younger days but explained why she now felt comfortable accepting the gong in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
She said yesterday: ‘ Had somebody said to me at 23 that I would accept a damehood of the British Empire, I would have said: “Sorry, sunshine, that’s not what my politics is all about”.
‘But I’ve grown older and wiser, and it does seem an odd title – a mixture of pantomime, because dames cart around the stage, don’t they? – and we don’t have an empire any longer. That makes it charming, quaint, and doesn’t have those bits of politics attached to it.’
When her honour was announced in June, Professor Beard said: ‘I’d like to treat it as a bit of a tribute to the Greeks and Romans themselves, as well as to all my wonderful colleagues.’
Royal offer: Mary Beard with Prince William as she collected her damehood yesterday