The Controversy Over Eton College, The Boarding School Prince William and Prince Harry Attended

There is no doubt that Eton College is one of the most prestigious schools in the UK. Established in 1440, the boarding school has educated some of the country’s most influential public figures. So, it may not come as a surprise that the all-male boarding school has faced quite a bit of controversy since it first opened its doors all those years ago.

Eaton got its first taste of controversy in 1928

If you’ve been scouring the public records for the controversies surrounding Eton College, you’ll come across the story of Tallulah Bankhead. According to GuardianBankhead was a popular American actress in the 1920s, often performing in London’s West End.

The actress was embroiled in an unexpected scandal when MI5 (the UK’s domestic counter-intelligence and security agency) was called in to investigate her alleged involvement with the Eton boys.

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Bankhead had allegedly seduced Eton students, but the school’s headmaster refused to cooperate with the investigation. It is said that the scandal was handled internally so as not to attract public attention and the story remained suppressed for decades.

Eton College caught the next big wave of negative attention in 1995 when the National Lottery awarded the school £3 million for a new sports complex (To independent,, Many criticized the use of public funds, stressing that the money could have gone to a sports complex for the community.

Similarly, Guardian reported that In 2005, the school received £2,652 in agricultural subsidies, despite having no need for agriculture.

Eton College has been accused of special treatment

One of the biggest scandals to rock Eton College actually involved Prince Harry when he was a student. Wire reported that In 2004, art teacher Sarah Forsyth claimed she was unfairly sacked after being bullied by a senior staff member.

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Most shockingly, she claimed that someone asked her to complete some of Prince Harry’s coursework so he could pass the class.

To substantiate her claims, she recorded a conversation with the young Prince Harry, although the decision was heavily criticized as a breach of teacher-student confidentiality.

Forsyth claimed that Harry was a weak student and that there was a staff conspiracy to help him cheat in his exams. These claims have never been confirmed, although it certainly alerted the public.

The restlessness of the public only increased in 2010 when the daily telegraph revealed 37 applicants from Eton were accepted at Oxford that year, while the university routinely rejected students from other schools regardless of their nationally ranked exam scores.

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Finally, in 2020 the school came under international scrutiny after it fired a teacher for allegedly including an inappropriate video in his lesson plan.

According to Wire, The school accused him of gross misconduct because he repeatedly refused to remove the video from the lesson. The whole trial started a nationwide debate on what qualifies as free speech.

The prestigious status of Eton College means that its controversies will inevitably be picked up by the media. At the end of the day, it’s no surprise that such an old and prominent school has had its fair share of scandals.

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