Cambridge University students celebrated the end of their exams with their first May Ball in three years, since before the first national coronavirus lockdown.
The first Trinity May Ball was held in 1866, with the tradition quickly spreading to other colleges, but events were cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Organisers of this year’s 156th anniversary event said it would enjoy the “rich tradition” of “delightful music, inspiring fireworks and enchanting cuisine”.
Guests, who paid at least £330 for a sought-after double ticket to Monday’s event, were promised “Cambridge’s best Ball, an unrivalled showcase of revelry — unlimited food and drink, a stunning fireworks display, and a myriad of entertainments from chart-topping stars to world-class comedians to the finest classical and jazz musicians.”
Students, in black tie and ball gowns, made their way home through the city’s streets as the sun rose on Tuesday.
In years gone by, some of Britain’s brightest students have engaged in hedonistic behaviour, stripping off and jumping in the river.
The ball has been held every year since 1866, apart from 1910, when King Edward VII died, during the Second World War between 1939 and 1945, and in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A series of balls is held to mark the end of term, with various colleges hosting them.
Despite now taking place in June they are still called the May Balls as that is when they were originally held.