Eton provost retires after controversial co-ed remark
LADY Susan Hussey — the late Queen’s lady-in-waiting — has barely been out of the news since she was obliged to ‘ step aside’ from royal duties after inadvertently offending domestic abuse campaigner Ngozi Fulani at a Buckingham Palace reception.
Now, though, the spotlight has shifted to her younger brother, former Tory Cabinet minister Lord Waldegrave. Yesterday, he announced that he is to step down as provost of Eton College, just a week after I revealed that he had remarked, at a reunion dinner for those who left Eton in 1983, that the school was planning to admit girls.
He told guests: ‘I’ll let you into a secret. Every year, the governors of Eton consider whether Eton should go co-ed. And we don’t quite decide. But, of course, we will go co-ed in due course.’
Eton insists that Waldegrave’s announcement is unconnected to his controversial comments. ‘The provost has been planning to announce his retirement for several months,’ I’m told.
But Waldegrave’s claim is said to have alarmed traditionalists. One critic has alleged that Waldegrave’s tenure has coincided with ‘one of the most contentious periods in Eton’s 580-year history’ — a period initiated by Waldegrave’s appointment of Simon Henderson as Eton’s Head Master in 2015.
Under ‘ Trendy Hendy’, a ‘director of inclusion education’ was introduced, who declared her hope that the school would fly a Black Lives Matter flag. Eton also invited a speaker from the charity Stonewall to give a lecture on gender transitioning.
But the outcry reached a crescendo following the sacking of Will Knowland, a popular master, who posted a lecture online which included one woman’s observation that she yearned to be overwhelmed by ‘ her husband’s masculinity in the bedroom’.
Waldegrave will leave next year.