On 16 December 1952, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh first visited the University to open the Hatfield Technical College. At the time there were over 1,700 full-time, part-time and evening students enrolled. Today there are over 24,600 students at the University.
A stone plaque from the opening can still be seen in the Chapman gallery (the former main reception) on the College Lane campus.
In July 1997, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh attended an event to unveil a bronze statue of Sir Geoffrey de Havilland at the College Lane campus. Actress Olivia de Havilland, a cousin of Sir Geoffrey, was also in attendance. The event included a fly past of 40 de Havilland aircraft in tribute to Sir Geoffrey.
On 3 November 2003, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh opened the University’s de Havilland campus. This £120m campus is a purpose built contemporary learning and teaching environment.
The most recent visit took place on 3 November 2017 when HRH The Duke of Edinburgh returned to the University and officially opened the new science building on the College Lane campus.
As well as meeting the building’s architects Sheppard Robson, construction and project managers Turner & Townsend and contractor Bouygues, The Duke had the opportunity to observe research projects taking place in the new science building and visit the state-of-the-art new Simulation Suite which incorporates a simulation pharmacy and clinical environment and enables the University to train students for careers in Nursing and Midwifery, Paramedic Sciences, Pharmacy, Optometry and Postgraduate Medicine.