On Wednesday 23 February, the College was honoured to receive a visit from King Letsie III of Lesotho.
His Majesty’s father King Moshoeshoe II studied PPE at Corpus, matriculating in 1957. His study was interrupted and he returned for further periods between 1972 and 1979, coinciding with Corpus’s Sekyra and White’s Professor of Moral Philosophy Jeff McMahan (PPE, 1976).
Prof McMahan remembers King Moshoeshoe II: “During my first year as a student at Corpus, I lived in a very cold room in the Thomas Building. I therefore often worked in the small and cosy Law Library in college. Only one other person regularly worked there; we always acknowledged one another but never introduced ourselves or spoke at length. One day as we were both leaving the college, we arrived at the front gate simultaneously. I stepped back to wave him through but he had done the same. “No, please, after you,” I said. But he was saying the same. This went on for a while as if we were in a comedy routine, so finally I yielded, thanked him, and stepped through ahead of him. My thought at the time was that this man was either quite extraordinarily courteous or else excessively deferential. A week or so later, I was leaving the Law Library and was walking past his study materials, which were spread out along the table at which we both worked. There I noticed a letter written in the large hand of the Law tutor, Peter Cane, which was addressed “Your Majesty…” I made inquiries at the Lodge and discovered that the man who had refused to go through the gate ahead of an insignificant PPE student was in fact the King of Lesotho. I was delighted to have the opportunity to meet his son in college the other day and to be able to regale him with this anecdote about his father. But as we left the President’s office, I made sure that history did not repeat itself and successfully insisted that he go through the door first.”
By extraordinary coincidence, Prof McMahan’s College room immediately over the gatehouse was at one time occupied by King Moshoeshoe II, being known for a time as the King’s Room, and he was delighted to be able to show it to King Letsie III during his visit.