Rape, child abuse and Prince Charles’s former school by Alex Renton
Winner Best Article – Comment & Features
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Rape, child abuse and Prince Charles’s former school
It was the happiest time of the school year. Kate, which is not her real name, and her class of 12- and 13-year-olds would soon leave Aberlour House, their home for a third or more of their lives. Next term most of them would start at the senior school, Gordonstoun, a famously severe Scottish institution that Prince Charles had once described as “Colditz in kilts”. Fifteen children, all boarders and fresh out of exams, set off into the Scottish mountains for a week’s camping.
“Exped” is one of Gordonstoun’s traditions, born of the unique vision of the school’s founder, the educational innovator Kurt Hahn. A refugee from Nazi Germany, Hahn is most famous for founding the Outward Bound movement. But before that, in 1934, he set up a revolutionary new school in a dilapidated stately home in Moray, northeast Scotland. Schooling would include mountains, the sea, fresh air and soul- stiffening adventures.
Gordonstoun was a success, especially after Prince Philip of Greece, now the Duke of Edinburgh, arrived. Other royals followed: five of the Queen’s children and grandchildren went there, despite Charles’s complaints. By the 1970s it was touted as a place for spoilt or wealthy children who needed toughening up – Sean Connery and David Bowie’s sons went, and so did Charlie Chaplin’s granddaughter. Physical punishment, strict discipline and cold showers were key to Hahn’s approach to keeping children in line. ....
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