I couldn’t sleep the night before my coronation, folding my bat-winged gown and wrapping in tissue paper my square black cap with the tassel. The next morning my college met and we were all instructed how the ceremony was to take place. We were told that we would have to bow three times once to the Dean of the university twice to his two sentinels in costumes that made them look like Jacks in a deck of cards. After the instructions we all marched down the streets of Oxford, skittish with over-excitement into the Sheldonian theatre, built between 1664 and 1668 and designed by Christopher Wren - and I’m talking flying cherubs on the domed ceiling and God pointing at all of us.
The whole ceremony was in Latin, they could have been saying anything and then we had to say something back to them in Latin, which I kept forgetting and when I finally bowed I think I said “Starbucks” in panic. Two elderly elders dressed as Tutors walked up and down with silver sceptres, I was told it was so that anyone who objected to anyone of us getting our masters could object. I thought I’d be busted and pointed out as a fraud but everyone kept schtum. At this point I was just smiling teeth, unable to believe I was playing the part of me. After the bowing and we were ushered out of the building we were shuffled into a Hogwarts-style room and had to change costumes, signifying we were no longer students but now masters. This outfit was far more elaborate, all embroidered with a green and gold hood. We had to march back into the Sheldonian again this time with the audience cheering. We did more bowing and swearing to be smart for the rest of our lives and then all went outside to throw our hats into the air. I have only seen this in films and now I was in it.
All I have left to say is ‘it’s never to late,’ and if they say you’re stupid when you’re young make sure you end up at Oxford.