Eton College was founded by Henry VI as a religious institution in 1440. It was originally a secular college of priests, clerks, choristers, and 25 poor scholars who would learn grammar from a schoolmaster. A further 25 paupers would be housed at Eton, but were charged with the task of praying for its Founder’s soul after death. King Henry hoped that his grand, religious designs for Eton would smooth his way to Heaven. It soon changed its purpose and became a school with provision made for 70 scholars in 1443. Today, Eton College is Britain’s most famous public school, having educated no less than 19 British Prime Ministers and other men of great standing, including: Percy Shelley, Ian Fleming, Aldous Huxley, and the British explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who supposedly climbed one of Eton’s ancient buildings during his time there, leaving only the faintest mark of a signature. Members of the Royal Family including The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry were educated here. The boys still wear black morning coats as their school uniform in respect for George III, whose birthday is celebrated on or near the Fourth of June each year.
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