Tour of Parliament for Oxford URNU

Members of the Oxford University Royal Navy Unit (URNU) have been given in an insight into the workings of government with a tour of the Palace of Westminster.

With Parliament dissolved for the election the unit were shown onto the floor of both the House of Lords and the House of Commons, where the unique traditions, such as the ‘Black Rod’, were explained.

Looking around the oldest part of the Royal Palace, Westminster Hall, the group were able to walk in the foot-steps of notable statesmen and women, who had been invited to address both houses, including Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama.

In St Stephen’s Chapel, where the original parliament sat, the group saw a statue with a missing sword, broken off when Marjory Hume, a suffragette, chained herself to it in 1909 to protest the denial of the right to vote to women.

The group were also able to look in the Royal Robing Room, used for the Monarch to prepare for the state opening of Parliament. They were also able to admire the paintings of the Battles of Trafalgar and Waterloo by the artist Daniel Maclise.

Lt Will Jones, the Commanding Officer of the Oxford URNU said:  “It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and a fantastic opportunity to see the world famous buildings first-hand, which provided a great insight into how the country is governed.”

Oxford is one of 15 URNUs located across the UK offering opportunities to 700 undergraduates from the country’s leading universities.   The URNU aims to broaden understanding of the Royal Navy among university students.

It offers students who show leadership potential the chance to develop these skills through maritime experience and exposure to the Royal Navy’s values and ethos.

The URNU is a chance to experience military life without commitment and gain new skills applicable to all walks of life.