Prince Charles revealed today that the course of British history could have been changed while he was a student at Cambridge University.

The royal, who studied at Trinity College between 1967 and 1970, confessed for the first time that he was 'run over' by a bus while cycling past the city's historic Fitzwilliam Museum.

Charles, who clearly regarded his experience at the university fondly despite the incident, was speaking at a reception to mark the museum's bicentenary.

The prince said: 'For me it's always the greatest pleasure to come back to Cambridge. I've always felt so lucky to be able to study at this university. It all went by in a flash and I'm horrified to realise that very shortly, next year in fact, it will be fifty years since I arrived!


"All I can say is time goes past unbelievably quickly.....But I enjoyed it enormously.

"Quite how I survived being run over by a bus when I was on a bicycle just outside here I don't know. But it was a very special experience, as most of you probably know."

Aides said later they had never heard of the incident before but as 32 per cent of people who live in Cambridge commute by bicycle, it is no surprise that the young prince was a convert to two wheels - or, indeed, that he almost came a cropper under four.

Charles became the first heir to the throne ever to take a degree - he was awarded a 2:2 in History in June 1970, having switched from archaeology and anthropology after a year.

While at Cambridge the royal joined Trinity's drama group, the Dryden Society, and spoke at a Cambridge Union debate, about the 'threat' of technology.

He and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, today returned to celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of the Fitzwilliam and the 600th anniversary of the Cambridge University Library.

Normally one for laughing and joking Prince Charles looked thoroughly distracted by the exhibits at the museum this afternoon.

Crammed full of artwork from Degas to Reynolds, the building is known as a 'mini Louvre' and one of the greatest small museums in Europe.

The couple first met with primary school children working with its 'outreach programme', which aims to encourage youngsters who might not otherwise visit a museum to take stock of its gems.

Charles and Camilla looked deep in thought as they explored the artifacts at the exhibition.

During their tour Charles was pictured leaning in to examine a copy of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.

While many museum's will encourage guests not to touch the exhibits the officials seemed to make an exception for the royal visitor who got up close to the ancient tome.

Camilla was in her element with the art on show, even nipping behind a display to examine several Monets close up.

She said: "I know we are meant to hurry but I just can't leave without looking at some of the art work. The range is just incredible."

The Duchess of Cornwall was too, given the opportunity to get a closer look at some of the impressive works on display.

Donning a pair of white gloves she was seen holding a wax sculpture by Edgar Degas titled Arabesque over the Right Leg, Left Arm in Front.

She bombarded the staff with questions as handles the priceless piece of art, which still bears the fingermarks of its maker.

As well as the white protective gloves, Camilla showcased her usual flair for elegance in a festive berry coloured ensemble.

She paired her rich red coat with a dark paisley tea dress for her engagement with her husband this afternoon.

While the majority of the works the pair admired today were antique the pair also explored the museums modern attributes.

Charles and Camilla were also treated to a demonstration of digitisation techniques whereby museum staff can study artifacts on a computer.

Before he left Charles praised the the university's 'remarkable' legacy.

Later the pair paid a visit to King's College Cambridge to listen to a rehearsal by King's College Choir in the college's chapel.

The couple both added an extra layer to their ensemble as they entered the lofty chapel this afternoon.

After meeting with members of the choir Charles and Camilla were treated to a private performance by the young choir members before posing with them for a picture.