Palatinates are awards given by Durham University to its athletes or former athletes who demonstrate the following qualities: 'Ability of a High Standard' (international representation), 'Service to a Club' and 'Attitude and Commitment'. It is similar to 'blues' awarded at many other British universities but with slightly different prerequisites.
The award is called a 'Palatinate' rather than a 'Blue' because palatinate (a shade of purple) is the historical colour of the university. A different colour, palatinate blue, is the colour of County Durham.
The highest award is the Full Palatinate, given to those who have represented their country whilst at University and have, at the same time, also made a significant contribution to their club.
Half Palatinate awards are given to those who have either competed at a very high level, but not made a significant contribution to their club, or held a position of responsibility but lacked the necessary standard of sporting ability.
The awards are notoriously difficult to achieve, and differ from the awarding of colours by other Universities in that a Palatinate is not awarded merely for representing the University. The awarding of Palatinates is decided by a committee which is appointed each year.
Honorary Palatinate awards recognise the success of former Durham students who have gone on to greater things within the field of sport. Honorary Palatinate awards are presented by the Vice Chancellor at the Annual Palatinate Dinner. In recent years, Honorary Palatinates have been awarded to alumni-sportsmen such as Nasser Hussain, Jonathan Edwards and Will Carling.