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Princess Eugenie was initially rejected by Newcastle University and then given a place because of who she was, it was claimed. Her application was allegedly dismissed as ‘not good enough’ by an admissions officer who hadn’t realised the applicant was a member of the royal family.

When the ‘horrified’ university authorities realised what had happened they offered the Duke and Duchess of York’s daughter a place on an alternative degree course.

The allegations were made by Dr Martin Farr, a senior history lecturer at Newcastle University, in a speech to the anti-monarchist campaign group Republic’s annual convention in the city.

Eugenie ended up doing a combined BA honours degree in English literature, history of art and politics at Newcastle and graduated at the end of her three-year course in 2012 with a 2:1. The comments by Dr Farr imply that she was given special treatment to get her into the university for PR purposes.

Speaking to an audience in favour of abolishing the monarchy, Dr Farr said his information had come from a colleague who he didn’t name.

He said the royal VIP was rejected for a degree in English literature before being found a place on the apparently less competitive combined degree when her identity came to light.

Dr Farr said: ‘We had at Newcastle University one of the Queen’s granddaughters, Princess Eugenie.

‘And a friend of mine who is Italian was the admissions officer for BA English literature and received one application for the undergraduate degree that was not good enough and so discarded it.’

Dr Farr said ‘being Italian’ the admissions officer ‘had not noticed that Princess Eugenie of York from Sandringham may have had more significance for the institution than another applicant’.

He added: ‘Apparently the university was horrified that she had been rejected before she was offered a place with us for another degree.’

According to the university’s website the entry requirements for next year’s intake studying English literature are likely to be AAA-AAB, and for those doing a combined honours course of the type Eugenie studied they are put as AAB.

The young royal lived in shared student accommodation in Jesmond during her time at the university and was a positive advertisement for Newcastle. But Dr Farr, who teaches modern and contemporary British history, claimed the special treatment she received put fellow students off the monarchy.

He said: ‘So we had Eugenie parading around campus for the next three years. It’s struck me over the next three years that we had more people turning into republicans because they were barged out of bars and clubs – they realised how much further down the pecking order they were than someone like Eugenie. She was used by the university for publicity and even a tenuous link like that is worth burnishing.’

Eugenie, now 27, went to university on the back of three good A-levels at Marlborough College. She attained an A in each of English and art and a B in history of art.

After graduating she worked in New York for the online auction house Paddle8 before moving back to the UK two years ago to join the Hauser & Wirth contemporary art gallery in London. Earlier this year she was promoted to director.

A Newcastle University spokesman said information on individual students was confidential, but added: ‘In general, however, if an applicant does not have the actual or predicted grades to meet the requirements for a particular programme, it is possible for them to be considered for alternative options.’

A spokesman for Princess Eugenie refused to comment.

Prince Edward was at the centre of a previous controversy over his university admission.

The Queen’s youngest son managed to get a place at Cambridge despite getting only a C in English and Ds in history and in politics at A-level.

His admission to Jesus College in 1983 led to some protests by students because of his low entry scores and concerns he received special treatment.

The young prince had signed on with the Royal Marines who were sponsoring him through university on condition he served with them afterwards.

He struggled academically at Cambridge, initially studying archaeology and anthropology before switching to history, graduating with a 2:2.

He later left the Royal Marines after completing one-third of the 12-month training course.

Daily Mail