So did Prince Harry really cheat his way through Eton?
According to an ex teacher of the royal, Prince Harry was routinely helped to cheat at Eton College—by his own teachers. He was such a weak student, they say, that on his A-level art course, at least two teachers did the brunt of the work, creating both the explanatory texts that were required to accompany the art project and to assemble the art project in its entirety. The source even claims that some of the work that was done for Harry by his teachers was published on a global scale.
All this came to light in early 2005, as Prince Harry entered Sandhurst, a prestigious officer training college into which he was only accepted because of the grades he received at Eton College. His former teacher, by the name of Sarah Forsyth, told a tribunal that she was asked by the head of the art department to prepare text for some of Harry’s work. Though she did as she was told and provided the text, she was concerned that what she was being asked to do was unethical and even went so far as to be considered cheating. She followed up by saying that, “I assumed I had been asked to do this because Prince Harry was a weak student.”
She likely did not just have to assume that he was a poor student. Rumors abounded at Eton College about Harry’s failings as a student, and even from the time he applied to be a student, teachers were desperate to find ways to award him marks. In his art course, the prince received a B. In his other A levels, he was given Ds. Ms. Forsyth says that she was intimidated into completing the work for Harry’s project, and that after completing it, the prince actually thanked her for helping him. The head of the art department, Ian Burke, had apparently made Prince Harry one of his pet projects and was very engaged in ensuring that he passed his exams.
According to his former teachers, it is likely that the help given to Harry went beyond simply writing pieces of the project and assembling the thing. Some go so far as to state that it was likely that Burke had completed some of the work that was eventually displayed in global newspapers and attributed to Prince Harry. Though they have not discussed specifically which pictures were actually created by Burke and not by the prince, it is probably a set of screen prints, with which Harry was photographed and which were heavily publicized back in 2003. The college admitted that these likely were the pictures to which Ms. Forsyth was referring, but made no comment about the allegation that they had been created by Burke and not by the prince. These were the images that were submitted as a part of his A levels, and if they actually produced by his teacher, they would not deserve the B grade that he was given for them.
Back in 2003, Sarah Forsyth was booted from Eton College, after she made a recording of the prince, in which he supposedly confessed to not having created the works of art for which he was given a B in art. While she admitted to the employment tribunal that she did not want to make the recordings, her hand was forced. There was no one she could report the cheating to, as the person she could have reported it to was actually the person helping the prince cheat. She even goes so far as to claim that she was often bullied by Burke and felt that she had no other options.
Forsyth also reported that Burke probably helped many of the boys cheat, and that it was his style to just do the paintings for the boys while chatting with them about football. According to her report, he’d even work on the paintings in his spare time. Among the other evidence presented was Ian Burke’s drinking. Many teachers came forward to confirm that he likely had a problem and that his daily hangover became something of a joke amongst the teachers. Several stories were told about situations in which his drinking endangered students, and one story in particular was brought forward about how he had actually been fired from Eton College previously because he was drinking with a student.
Among the other evidence presented was Ian Burke’s drinking. Many teachers came forward to confirm that he likely had a problem and that his daily hangover became something of a joke amongst the teachers. Several stories were told about situations in which his drinking endangered students, and one story in particular was brought forward about how he had actually been fired from Eton College previously because he was drinking with a student. Both Eton College and Ian Burke denied the allegation brought forward by Sarah Forsyth. They say that she was fired not because she tried to record Prince Harry admitting to cheating on his exams, but because she did not meet the academic standards set by the school.
Though Sarah Forsyth did eventually win her unfair dismissal case against Eton College, the tribunal did not find that there was any substantial evidence to the claim that Prince Harry was helped to cheat during his time at Eton College.