The Prince of Wales has paid tribute to Oxford University’s “vital” role in creating a Covid-19 vaccine as he unveiled a £30 million building at one of its colleges.
Charles thanked “the many people” who had made Trinity College’s Levine Building possible, but avoided singling out Peter Levine, the oil magnate for whom the facilities were named.
The prince, who arrived in an electric Audi, praised academics as he noted “the benefits that Oxford can bring in a local national and global scale”.
“The impact of this work was never more apparent, I think, than during the past two years when Oxford’s scientists produced a vaccine to combat Covid-19 in an extraordinary race against the clock,” he said.
“The work of your academics, as we have seen, is making a real difference to people’s lives.
“I can only congratulate you all on the vital work you do and the generosity of spirit that underpins it.
“That same generosity has clearly infused the development of this building – so many former students contributed to the fundraising campaign.”
Construction began on the Levine Building – which boasts an auditorium, teaching rooms and 46 student bedrooms – in 2019.
Trinity declined to reveal how much Mr Levine – who set up the Imperial Energy Corporation after studying at the college in the 1970s – contributed to the project.
However, it said that his donation had been “transformational”.
Charles began his speech with an apology, having arrived late after being delayed by two motorway accidents on the way to Oxford.
“It hasn’t been my day today and it hasn’t been yours either,” he told the audience.
He added: “It’s become almost impossible to get here, I’ve had a comprehensive tour of Reading and Pangbourne.”
After finishing his five-minute speech, the prince attended a reception in a nearby garden, where he was introduced to Mr Levine.
The prince also met staff and students who had lined up along one of Trinity’s lawns, one of whom was carrying a croquet mallet and balancing sunglasses on top of a straw hat.