There’s a boring article about Eton College, Britain’s most famous independent (that is fee-charging—or perhaps that should be fee-fixing) school, in today’s Guardian. Like most of the recent boring articles in the press about Eton, it begins with the question of whether or not, since the inverted snobbery of the Thatcher era washed through the Conservative Party, it is possible for someone educated at Eton to become (a Tory) Prime Minister.
One of the interesting things in the piece is the reference to Old Etonians having to decide as adults whether or not to “come out” as having attended what is considered to be one of the most privileged educational institutions in the World. This is especially important now that its former students find themselves more and more frequently working far outside the establishment in careers formerly considered by those of a certain class to be disreputable—journalism for example.
During my Finals year at college I shared a house with former Eton scholar Sam Hood and phoned him up for you this morning to ask him if he knew of any prominent closet Old Etonians whose histories were yet to be revealed to the public. He kindly provided me with this shocking list.
Snoop Doggy Dogg
While at Eton, the then Stephen Libredor’s successful and discreet arrangements with certain of the more enterprising girls of the almost-as-famous independent school Roedean made him a hit with his peers. At the same time he won the prize for unseen Latin translation two years running. After he graduated, his desire to become an international rap superstar was so strong that he committed a slice of his family inheritance to elocution lessons and plastic surgery in order to sustain the image necessary to win artistic credibility with other members of the hip-hop community. His obviously-white children, Persephone and Lionel, live with their mother in hiding in Guildford under assumed identities.
Osama Bin Laden
Before the Seventh of July attacks on London public transport, well-known Eton graduate, magazine editor, and Conservative MP Boris Johnson wrote a novel, Seventy-Two Virgins, in which British-born terrorists perpetrate an attack on the city. Coincidence? No, for it was after an incident in one of the Eton’s lavishly equipped chemistry labs that the young Bin Laden (of the Bin Ladin construction dynasty) was expelled from Eton. One of his fellow students misrepresented the events leading up to the fateful explosion (hidden from the press, but well known amongst those attending the school) and cast Bin Laden as the ringleader, alienating him from his class. It was not a snub by the CIA but by a cousin of future British Prime Minister Anthony Charles Lynton Blair that caused Bin Laden to swear revenge upon those, like Blair (and George W Bush), whom he felt had unfairly benefited from an exclusive education. Today, Bin Laden bears no ill-will to the school itself, however, and, via an international network of traditional cash transfer agents, is a major contributor to Eton’s endowment.
With the assistance of her ambitious mother and thanks to body binding and the unfamiliarity of her fellows with the African-American physique, Miss Knowles remained undetected as Eton’s only black female student for several years. By the age of 15, however, her bootyliciousness had become too conspicious and, after her bandages slipped in the changing room before a crucial rugby match with Harrow and a steeplechase of priapic adolescent erections rendered the Second XV incapable of competitive play she was forced to transfer to St Paul’s Girls, where she became head of her house and collected three ‘A’s at ‘A’-Level—in English Literature, History, and Melisma.