University Unveils 2013 May Monarch

23 year old Psychology student will be installed on 18th May


Roehampton University
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Sara Marr-Phillips, a first year Psychology student, has been named as the 132nd May Monarch at Whitelands College, University of Roehampton. She will be installed in office at the annual Whitelands May Day Festival which will be held on Saturday 18 May.

Sarah will be installed in her post during a ceremony on the day, which is to be performed by a visiting bishop; as tradition dictates, she will be presented with a solid gold cross. May Monarchs act as ambassadors for Whitelands College and the University as well as raising money for charity. This year’s monarch has elected to support Help for Heroes.

The May Day Festival and the installation of a monarch is a tradition that dates back to 1881, when the Victorian philanthropist and art critic John Ruskin, friend of the then College Principal, the Reverend John Faunthorpe, bade the women students to elect ‘the likeablest and the loveablest' of their number to be their May Queen. The tradition continued unchanged until 1986, when it was opened up to include male students and renamed “May Monarch”.

The day serves as reunion for many former students of Whitelands College. One of the highlights of the festival is a procession of former May Monarchs, often wearing their original outfits. This year it is anticipated that forty former May Monarchs will attend, the oldest was crowned in 1953. The festival will also feature drum majorettes drawn from the local community, as well as a lecture for a Ruskin scholar.

Gilly King, History and Heritage Promotion Manager at the University said:
"The May Day Festival is a chance for the University and the local community to come together and celebrate Whitelands College’s glorious past. It brings together the old and the new, with students past and present united in celebrating the college’s great history and tradition. It’s a wonderful reminder that while Roehampton may be a relatively new University, its history is steeped in tradition.”

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May 17, 2013