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Trinity College, Cambridge

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Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in England.

The college was founded by Henry VIII, King of England in 1546, from the merger of two existing colleges: Michaelhouse (founded by Hervey de Stanton in 1324), and King's Hall (established by Edward II, king of England in 1317 and refounded by Edward III, king of England in 1337). At the time, Henry had been seizing church lands from abbeys and monasteries. The universities of Oxford and Cambridge, being both religious institutions and quite rich, expected to be next in line. The king duly passed an Act of Parliament that allowed him to suppress (and confiscate the property of) any college he wished. The universities used their contacts to plead with his sixth wife, Catherine Parr, Queen consort of England and Ireland. The queen persuaded her husband not to close them down, but to create a new college. The king did not want to use royal funds, so he instead combined two colleges (King's Hall and Michaelhouse) and seven hostels (Physwick (formerly part of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge), Gregory's, Ovyng's, Catherine's, Garratt, Margaret's, and Tyler's) to form Trinity.

Trinity alumni include six British prime ministers (all Tory or Whig/Liberal), physicists Sir Isaac Newton, PRS, James Clerk Maxwell, Ernest Rutherford, Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1908 and Niels Bohr, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1922, mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, the poet George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, philosophers Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein and Bertrand Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, Nobel Prize in Literature 1950 (whom it expelled before reaccepting), and Soviet spies Kim Philby, Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt.

Two members of the British royal family have studied at Trinity and been awarded degrees as a result: Prince William of Gloucester and Edinburgh, who gained an MA in 1790, and Prince Charles, who was awarded a lower second class BA in 1970. Other royal family members have studied there without obtaining degrees, including King Edward VII, King George VI, and Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester.

Masters of Trinity College